Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin recently made world headlines, claiming that Russian tanks do not need visas. As UNIAN reports, he dropped this line when questioned about the effect of sanctions and visa bans introduced on Russian officials by Western countries as a response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and participation in the war in Ukraine’s Donbas. Rogozin, himself being blacklisted from entering Norway and the EU, turned up unannounced in Norway and even managed to open a new Russian drifting ice station on 18 April 2015, to a rather weak response of the country to its borders being violated.
But this is nothing new. Warmongering statements and threats to invade Western countries, or deliver a nuclear strike, are a regular topic for Russian politicians and media outlets. Russian tanks have been shown to invade Berlin, Warsaw, and Russian planes have delivered airstrikes to London; a Russian PR campaign has mass-produced Tshirts with the slogan “Topol [an intercontinental ballistic missile] is not afraid of sanctions,” and radical politician Vladimir Zhirinovskiy called to “burn Paris, bomb Germany so that no German citizen is left alive” from the rostrum of the Russian Duma. However, now coming from a high-placed government official, such a statement points to how mainstream the narrative of invading other countries is becoming in Russia.