During our last stint in St. Petersburg, I realized that reading the St. Petersburg Times and its sister publication, The Moscow Times, made me depressed. They really give you the impression that 100% of everything in Russia sucks and, if you’re in Russia, a strong urge to run for the border. So I don’t recommend reading it on a regular basis. But nevertheless, there are frequently excellent articles, like this one on why Russia should lift its tourist visa requirements:
“Russia’s position on the visa issue is not useful. At its root, the reciprocity argument is based on pride. But as Bilan and Russian athletes proved this month, Russia has a lot more to be proud of than its ability to create paperwork hassles for Western tourists.”
Update: Kostia disagrees. He thinks that Russia needs to keep its one bargaining chip in the negotiations for visa-free travel for Russians in Europe. I still think it’s a weak bargaining chip at best and Russia is only hurting itself by discouraging tourism and the money it brings.