ON THE GROUND

Germany relaxes visa rules for Russian journalists, dissidents

Russian journalist Maxim Kurnikov at a café in Berlin, Germany.
Russian journalist Maxim Kurnikov at a café in Berlin, Germany. © France 24 screengrab

German authorities plan to give long-term visas to Russian journalists and political dissidents, making easier for them to resume their work in exile. The new measures come as an increasing number of Russian journalists and activists opposed to the Ukraine invasion are fleeing Moscow's tightening crackdowns.

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Since they got to Berlin, Maxim Kurnikov and Masha Mayers have a single goal: bringing back to life "Echo of Moscow", a reputed radio station, which the Kremlin banned from the airwaves due to its honest reporting on the war in Ukraine.

"We can’t even have a bank account," explained Kurnikov. "We can’t do a company, because we have no opportunity to do it and that’s why it is very slow, but we hope that when we get the other visa it will be easier," he added.

Germany currently has around 70 Russian journalists in exile who should, in coming the days, receive long-term visas.

Unlike Ukrainian refugees, Russian nationals in Germany only receive short-term Schengen visas, which do not officially allow them to work in their new country.

"All these people represent the face of a better, more democratic Russia. And it’s a Russia we want to contribute, to  build for the future." said Sergey Lagodinsky a European Parliament MP.

For the full FRANCE 24 report, click on the player above.

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