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Germany eases visa restrictions for Putin critics classified as ‘undesirable’ in Russia

Visa requirements for Russian critics of Vladimir Putin’s government will be relaxed to allow them to live and work in Germany, a spokesman for the German Interior Ministry said on Monday.

Journalists, scientists and civil society activists who are under pressure from Moscow will be able to benefit from the newly agreed rules.

Human rights activists, employees of NGOs and civil society groups with a connection to Germany as well as journalists and researchers who have taken a stand against the war in Ukraine are among those filling the conditions for staying longer term.

Employees of foreign organizations that have been classified as “undesirable” in Russia can also obtain residency under accelerated procedures. Their immediate family members will also benefit, the spokesperson said.

This decision aims to remove some of the paperwork related to the visa process in Germany and to guarantee a longer stay than the 90 days allowed by the Schengen tourist visa.

He could not give figures on the number of people likely to benefit from the simplified procedures, but said applicants will have to present “credible” cases.

Germany opened its doors to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
But in recent weeks there have been growing calls for Europe’s biggest economy to offer protection to Kremlin critics as well.

Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, however, said that in the process of welcoming Russians, Germany must ensure that “the bad ones” do not “come to us, and we do not bring spies into our country. “.

[with inputs from agencies]

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