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City news, 17.11.2003 12:59

Foreign ministry changes its mind on Silja Opera cruise line again

Silja Opera cruiser The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia has again introduced visas for the passengers of Silja Opera cruiser, which travels from St. Petersburg to Helsinki and back. The matter occurred only two weeks after visas for passengers of cruise ships to Russia had been abolished. Russian travel agencies are hoping for a quick solution to the problem of visas for cruise passengers, while the Foreign Ministry sees as its own interest achieving “reciprocity” in visa policy.

The North-Western Frontier Department of the Federal Security Service of Russia (Pogranichnoe Upravlenie FSB) has suspended the Letter of Instruction issued by the Frontier Agency of the Federal Security Service ¹1169, signed on October 28, 2003. According to the Letter of Instruction, Silja Opera line was declared a cruise ship. Based on the Regulations on Stay of Foreign Citizens in Russia, the rules for passengers of cruise lines could be applied to the passengers of Silja Opera line. As stated in the Resolution of the Government of Russia ¹532, issued on August 26, 2003, cruise passengers are permitted to disembark on Russian soil without visas when travelling as part of a tourist group.

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