I read with amusement the article in the Moscow Times Russian Foreign Ministry Seeks Explanation For New US Visa Rules concerning the apparent outrage of Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Yakovenko at the U.S. State Department announcing a new U.S. visa policy that requires personal interviews for the issuance of non-immigrant visas. They further note Mr.Yakovenko's amazement that 25 percent of Russian non-immigrant visas are rejected. Is it any wonder? In a country where a university-educated person working in a bank earns US$60 or $100 a month, it is no wonder visa fraud is rampant and young Russian girls are lining up at dating services in Moscow and St. Petersburg for the chance to get a date with an American who is looking for a "bride". Perhaps somebody should tell Mr. Yakovenko that the recently implemented visa interview system is world-wide, and that Russia has not been singled out for disparate treatment, so he need not feel slighted for not having been "consulted". The word has been widely disseminated as to the new State Department Policy and immigration lawyers in the US have been warning their international clients for the past couple of months to expect substantial delays due to the new policies at Consulates around the world. Perhaps Mr. Yakovenko should remember that the cold war is over (or is it?) and that before expressing outrage, he would be well advised to read the Moscow Times regularly in order to help him keep abreast of the latest developments in international news, since the visa policy was published there a month before he made his embarrassing statement. Then, as Mr. Yakovenko requests, perhaps the next time the U.S. State Department makes a command decision that affects the homeland security of the United States, they just may consult with Mr. Yakovenko before making the final decision to implement. My tongue is still in my cheek and I have suffered no Confucian ill effects.
David D. Murray, Esq.
Newport Beach, California
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