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Russia Tourism

The monks on an isolated peninsula in Greece have followed the same way of life for more than 1,000 years, but an Athens vs. Moscow diplomatic spat and a tourism onslaught are unsettling its habits. | 10/20/18
Pope Francis is heading to the Baltic countries this weekend amid renewed alarm about Russia's intentions in the region it twice occupied for decades. | 9/21/18
The main event of September 13 in Russia is the interview, which Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov gave to RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan. The British authorities accused these two men of involvement in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and referred to them as officers of the Russian military intelligence, GRU. First off, the two men acknowledged in the interview that those were their real names. "From the very beginning, we wanted to come to London and have fun there, it was not a business trip. Our friends have long recommended we should go to visit this wonderful town of Salisbury. We went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn't do it, because traffic in England was paralysed on March 2 and 3," Petrov said. In Salisbury, they also wanted to see the town's cathedral, which is famous for its spire. Petrov and Boshirov acknowledged that they could have passed by Sergei Skripal's home, although they did not know where it was located. The two men also said that they did not bring any poisonous substances or Nina Ricci perfumes with them. "Isn't it silly for two normal lads to bring women's perfume along? When you go through customs control, they check all your belongings. If we had had something, they would have had questions as to why a man would have women's perfume in his luggage," Boshirov said.Boshirov and Petrov responded negatively to the question of their work for the Russian military intelligence, which is commonly referred to GRU, although its official name was changed several years ago. The men said that they work in the industry of fitness and sports nutrition. They confirmed that they had been to Switzerland several times as well, but mostly for tourism. The men said that their lived changed completely after their photos and videos were published in world media. "We can't go out, we are scared, we are scared for our lives, for our loved ones, for those people who know us," said Ruslan Boshirov. It is worthy of note that Petrov and Boshirov gave an interview to RT the day after President Putin appealed to them to come out to media representatives. Also read: Putin: We know who Skripal poisoners are
On Thursday, July 26, many Russians could see the phantom of the good old iron curtain falling between Russia and the West. The news came from the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, Irina Tyurina. Last week, United Russia MPs proposed amending the federal law about the procedure to leave and enter the territory of the Russian Federation. In accordance with these amendments, the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs should hold mandatory accreditation of all companies rendering intermediary visa registration services to Russian citizens. In order to obtain accreditation, a visa issuance company is supposed to have representative offices in at least 20 regions of the Russian Federation, whereas the share of foreign participation in the authorized capital of the company should not exceed 20 percent. In addition, applicants should have certified technical means to process confidential information (including biometric personal data). The amendments also require at least three years of experience in collecting and processing documents for obtaining visas on behalf of diplomatic missions and consular missions.According to the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, Irina Tyurina, none of  existing operators can meet the criteria proposed in the draft law. For example, it is unclear how they should comply with the requirement of foreign participation. Presently, there are six companies that run visa service centers in Russia: VFS Global, GVCW - Greece, VMS - Italy, BLS - Spain, India, TLS - Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium and Pony Express. The information on each of these companies is available to the public in the state register of legal entities.It is unlikely that these companies can be replaced with Russian ones: even if they meet all other requirements, Russian companies will not have three years of experience in rendering visa services. Needless to say that the adoption of amendments will trigger a mirror response from other countries. In this case, big plans to attract foreign tourists to Russia, especially after the World Cup, may not materialize.To make matters worse, residents of Russians regions will have to come to Moscow to get a visa to a foreign country. They will also have to spend many hours standing in long lines to visa departments of foreign embassies, as it was practiced during the 2000s. In a nutshell, all this is nothing but bad news that, if it becomes real, will complicate the lives of all Russian travelers. The news triggered countless "iron curtain" discussions in social media in Russia. The "iron curtain" has many holes in it as Russia has visa-free regime with many countries. Yet, the curtain would be very strong when it comes to a trip to Europe or to the States. Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism and Youth Affairs, Sergei Krivonosov, (United Russia) said that the Russian authorities, on the contrary, seek to minimize visa restrictions."At the initiative of the president, we are currently preparing proposals to simplify visa procedures. There are a number of countries that have already simplified the procedure to issue visas for Russian citizens. I haven't heard of the initiative that you're talking about. The State Duma's Subcommittee on Tourism (Sergei Krivonosov heads it - ed.) works to simplify visa procedures," the MP told Pravda.Ru. "We do want to make the procedure simpler, because we've had problems with bankruptcies of tour operators. We believe that an electronic visa can help. I am sure that there is no iron curtain of any type involved," Sergei Krivonosov added. Oleg ArtyukovPravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
Donald Trump and Melania are in Europe now for the NATO summit and trip to Britain and Russia and more. Honestly, it’s too painful to pay attention to this mess. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with Trump within America, but whenever he travels, it feels like we, as a nation, are responsible […] | 7/12/18
Lifelong Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox fan travels to the World Cup on humanitarian mission as ‘Discount Diplomat’—handing out free jerseys to strangers | 6/29/18
[Egypt Online] Tuesday 19 June 2018 - 12:31 PM | 6/19/18
[Egypt Online] The Ministry of Tourism has launched a campaign to promote Egypt as a tourist destination in line with the start of the soccer World Cup in Russia. | 6/18/18
"This is a problem, I assume?" "One of many." Saban Films has revealed an official trailer for a romantic thriller titled Siberia, one of the latest films starring the one-and-only Keanu Reeves. The film follows an American diamond merchant who travels to Russia and goes to a small Siberian town, where he falls for a woman who owns a cafe. "As their passion builds, so does the treacherous world of the diamond trade from which he is unable to extricate himself. Both collide as the American man desperately looks for escape in a world with no exit." The film's cast includes Pasha Lychnikoff, Ana Ularu, Aleks Paunovic, Veronica Ferres, and Molly Ringwald. If you're interested in this, it will be in theaters in July this summer, so not too long of a wait. Perhaps that's the best time to watch a romantic thriller set in the colds of Siberia, right? Here's the first official trailer (+ poster) for Matthew Ross' Siberia, ...
The Kremlin says Syrian President Bashar Assad has met with President Vladimir Putin at his summer residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. | 5/17/18

Facebook has deleted 70 user accounts and 138 pages, as well as 65 Instagram accounts it says were controlled by a Kremlin-funded network specializing in fake news, the company announced Tuesday.

The pages were linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm known for pushing ads aimed at American voters with divisive messages about social and political issues during the 2016 election cycle.

However, according to Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamo, the latest batch of IRA-created accounts and pages were intended for a more home-grown audience. The vast majority of the deleted pages — 95 percent — were in Russian and intended to for Russian-speaking users around the world, Stamos explained in a blog post.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg 'Strongly' Disagrees With Leaked 'Ugly' Memo from Facebook VP

“We removed this latest set of Pages and accounts solely because they were controlled by the IRA — not based on the content,” Stamos wrote. “This included commentary on domestic and international political issues, the promotion of Russian culture and tourism as well as debate on more everyday issues.” Stamos.

Around 1.08 million unique users followed at least one of the deleted Facebook accounts, while 493K unique users followed at least one of the Instagram accounts.

“Most of our actions against the IRA to date have been to prevent them from interfering in foreign elections. This update is about taking down their pages targeting people living in Russia,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a separate post. “This Russian agency has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia — and we don’t want them on Facebook anywhere in the world.”

Facebook has been heavily criticized for its slow response to the IRA’s activities before and after the 2016 election. Notably, Zuckerberg was initially dismissive of the claim that the company’s ads played a role in the election. However, he eventually changed his tune, saying last fall he was “dead serious” about the issue.

Also Read: Apple CEO on Facebook Data Leak: 'I Wouldn't Be in This Situation'

The company has since added thousands of content moderators and beefed up tools to weed out troll content in the aftermath and according to Zuckerberg, will release a tool within the “next few weeks” that allows users to check if they’ve followed IRA-linked pages.

The company had initially planned on releasing that tool by the end of 2017.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Facebook VP Says He Doesn't Agree With Own 'Ugly' Memo That Pushes Aggressive Growth Tactics

Facebook Drops Third Party Data for Ad Targeting

Facebook, Netflix Take a Bath on Wall Street | 4/4/18
Reality Check looks into claims about the health of the Russian tourism industry. | 4/2/18
[Monitor] Kampala -Uganda Cranes will not be at the 2018 Fifa World Cup after they were beaten by Egypt to the available ticket to Russia. | 1/31/18

Tourism in Russia has seen rapid growth since the late Soviet times, first inner tourism and then international tourism as well. Rich cultural heritage and great natural variety place Russia among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The country contains 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, while many more are on UNESCO's tentative lists. Major tourist routes in Russia include a travel around the Golden Ring of ancient cities, cruises on the big rivers like Volga, and long journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway. Diverse regions and ethnic cultures of Russia offer many different food and souvenirs, and show a great variety of traditions, like Russian banya, Tatar Sabantuy, or Siberian shamanist rituals. Unless exempt, tourists to Russia are required to purchase a visa, in addition to having a valid passport. Visas cannot be purchased at the border, and once at the border must be presented with other relevant documents.

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