Former US Ambassador to Russia Calls for ‘Fix’ Aspect of Sanctions

According to McFaul, Western countries should support Russian activists, human rights activists and journalists who have left the country. The former ambassador suggested not restricting their access to accounts and visas

Michael McFaul

Western countries should set up a special commission to help Russian opposition leaders, human rights activists and independent journalists who have fled the country and clashed abroad struggling with sanctions, wrote former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul in a Washington Post op-ed.

“One aspect of the sanctions regime needs to be urgently corrected: it is the wrongful punishment of Russian opposition leaders, human rights activists and independent journalists who have fled their homeland,” — he said.

As McFaul explained, because of the sanctions, these people were left without access to their credit cards, bank accounts cannot obtain a visa, residence permit or other documents. To solve this problem, the former ambassador proposed to the authorities of the countries that imposed sanctions that they create a special committee of independent experts who “could make recommendations about Russian activists who need bank accounts, credit cards, travel documents, visas and work permits.”

“The seal of this committee could help banks, homeowners and governments make decisions about these Russians,”— says McFaul.

In addition, he suggested that the United States, the European Union, Great Britain, Canada and other countries create special programs to “encourage the emigration of the best Russians”, and to provide those specialists who are already abroad with the opportunity to accelerate the acquisition of citizenship in case of refusal from Russian.

At the beginning of the week, the German government proposed to simplify the entry of Russians who are in a vulnerable position at home due to criticism of the Russian government. First of all, we are talking about human rights activists, opposition representatives and journalists who oppose the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

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According to t-online, the Cabinet proposes to reduce bureaucratic procedures for them to obtain a residence permit, as well as extend the period of stay from 90 days, which is now allowed on a Schengen visa, to a longer one. Spiegel writes that the procedure will include an inspection by the German security authorities.

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