Russia: "The Abduction of Europa"

Global Voices Online
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

LJ user kuzma-diary - Alexei Zimin, editor-in-chief of Afisha-Mir travel magazine, former editor-in-chief of GQ's Russian edition - reports (RUS):

The Abduction of Europa

Afisha-Mir magazine has been receiving alarming signals.

It appears as if consulates of European countries are using the slightest pretext this fall to refuse issuing [Schengen visas] to Russian citizens.

They say that no one is even trying to obtain a one-year, multiple-entry visa anymore. Problems arise even when attempts are being made to request a month-long entry stamp.

They say that the fiercest at it is the consulate of France.

They say that multiple one-year visas in the passport mean nothing to the French anymore, even when they were the ones who issued those visas.

They say that the French are ruthlessly stamping rejections into passports with three earlier one-year Schengens.

Due to this drama, Afisha-Mir has decided to carry out its own investigation of this harmful activity.

Editors are interested in all rejection stories and other recent cases of consulate genocide.

Perhaps someone knows the reasons for this toughening up?

Here are some comments to this post:

lalamey: I got a rejection from the Greeks, along with two other girls. We were flying to Athens for a conference, some 70 people. But then boom, and the three of us got rejected - with this note: "the embassy reserves the right not to explain the reasons." And I've traveled around Europe for 12 years without any problems, I can't even count all these Schengen visas. Anyway, I'm confused.


tornwave: Insider information

There's a new consul at the French embassy, and he began his work by [introducing some tough measures]. A few people were fired because they allegedly used to provide help in obtaining visas. Some left without waiting to be fired. But it seems to have calmed down now.


calabaxa: It is getting tougher, definitely, and not just with the French. Since I get my invitation from Hachette, usually we don't have problems getting a multiple-entry, work visa through the French consulate. But this year, after two one-year visas in a row, the French gave me only a half-year one. (And I've been told I'm lucky - many of our employees have been given visas only for three months. With no explanation.)

Italians are now demanding a confirmation that there's at least 3,000 euros on your bank account (for a one-year visa - 6,000 euros). A year ago, they were not asking for any confirmation.

Germans have refused to issue a visa to my friend, explaining that last year she "visited Germany twice on a multi-entry work French visa issued in Italy and not France, as the rules require."

msmetana: And you really give them your bank info?!

calabaxa: No, I get my work visa through the French and they aren't asking for any of it yet (though for some reason they demanded a copy of my press card this time, something that never happened before!). But my colleague - a very law-abiding miss - she really did accumulate 3,000 euros on her card and then did a print-out for the embassy.

Is there a way to do without this paper? I was assuming it's required.

msmetana: I don't know if it's possible to do without it and I'm not planning to find out ))) It's just too humiliating.


And here is a rejection story (RUS) from kuzma-diary's colleague, LJ user mxl (Maxim Balabin, art director of Afisha magazine):

i hate france // je deteste la france

I've got two visa rejections stamped into my passport - by the French embassy )

The first time, we came there as honest citizens with all the papers, a pile of certificates, bookings, tickets.


The second time, we came with a press note.

I have to admit that it's been a long time since someone was so outright rude to me - the way that woman behind the window [in the wall] spoke with me.

"You've got a press note, are you a journalist or what?" she asks me. I give her my press card.

"You're an art director! And what if you work as a cleaner in the press - are we supposed to give you a visa, too?"

I told her politely that photography and a photographer are as related to the press as a journalist.

"A journalist is the one who writes," she tells us.

Then at some point, as she is thoroughly examining my passports, the old one and the new, she all of a sudden starts turning the passport around, checking against the light the hologram on one of my five Indonesian visas.

At the end, she tells us solemnly to stop by after lunch break: "We'll be checking your documents."

After lunch break, they stamped another rejection into my passport.

And a few comments:

horsey: That's because they had a few of their people arrested, for visa fraud - for bribes and theft, right before the World Cup. Nothing to do about it - wait half a year, change your passport and hire professionals who will have you a visa issued - and before that, they'll erase your [name] from the computers.

mxl: It's easier for me to forget about the existence of the European Union, you know.


iren: So there's no way for cleaners to get to France, right?

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