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:

Mr. Medvedev, Tear Down This Wall!

“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.