Russia’s new visa regime shows irrelevance of Minsk 2



Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

For Surkov and company, “DNR” and “LNR” are now the same as Abkhazia and Transnistria. And this self revelation by the Kremlin should not be ignored.

Abkhazia, which is not recognized by anyone except Russia, Nicaragua and Tuvalu, has introduced a visa regime for citizens of countries that do not recognize its independence — in other words, for practically everyone except for these same Russia, Nicaragua and Tuvalu.

This decision by Abkhazia is, of course, a decision by the Kremlin and demonstrates that a real occupational regime is being established in the rebel autonomous Georgian territory. Unlike other territories occupied by Russia, Abkhazia has at least tried to demonstrate some autonomy in determining its own domestic policies and selecting its leaders. Abkhazians have been repeatedly punished for that, and in 2014 Putin’s special aide Vladislav Surkov organized a coup in the territory and brought to power an extremely unpopular KGB operative Raul Khajimba. And since that time, Khajimba has simply carried out all the insane wishes of his masters.

This is precisely why the visa-free entry to Abkhazia is now available not only for Russians. It also applies to residents of the Russian-occupied territories of the former Soviet Union — South Ossetia, Transnistria and — attention! — the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine. Yes, the residents of the occupied territories of these two regions will now be able to travel from one occupied territory to another without any visas whatsoever. It will suffice to show a passport with the following registration: “For the residents of southeastern Ukraine (DNR and LNR), a regime of simplified entry into the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia is in effect.” According to the official statement from Sukhumi (capital of Abkhazia — Ed.), entry into Abkhazia now requires an internal Ukrainian passport with a residence permit for the DNR or LNR territory or a document certifying DNR or LNR citizenship.

This is no joke. There is one person responsible to Putin for the Khajimba decision and the events in the Donbas, and that is Surkov. And if he includes the “people’s republics” in the Abkhazian visa regime, this means that he is making it very clear that Russia is not preparing to honor the Minsk agreements and to give up control over the Donbas and portions of the Russian-Ukrainian border. For Surkov and company, DNR and LNR are already the same as Abkhazia and Transnistria. And this self-revelation should not be ignored.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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