I guess no shit can be useful, so bad English right there, but, still, the Russian passport is astoundingly useless. In fact, it’s a huge liability.
This is not another rant (out of California) about Putin.
Actually, it is. Yes, out of California.
Forget the war in Ukraine for a moment.
Imagine you are Putin, or, more generally, the President of Russia.
In fact, forget Russia. Imagine you’re President of some nation.
I think this one criterion can be used to judge how successful you are, and how you’re building (or not) your legacy: is having your country’s passport desirable, and attractive? Is it becoming more attractive because of your policies and achievements? Do foreign students and workers, the exceptional ones or even the more ordinary folks, desire to one day become part of your country, to make it home for their children? Do you have your own people appreciating their citizenship, because they feel protected, because the passport commands respect?
Let me tell you about my Russian passport. I am a green card holder, but I’m some years away from having a US passport.
It gives me absolutely nothing. As I said, it’s a huge liability.
Like right now my family would like to travel to Europe in the summer, because of one particular personal situation. It’s not trivial because we have to get Schengen visas. And if we do, I still live in fear of some catastrophic problem related to travel. Let’s say we lose our green cards. We’re left with our Russian passports. Then what? No consulate in the current environment will rush to help us.
My mother-in-law is almost eighty. She’s stuck in Moscow because her tourist visa expired and there is almost no way for her to get it renewed.
Let me now talk about Russia itself. There are now talks of the looming “mobilization” in Russia. Among other things, that means you get conscripted and sent to fight. To die, quite likely. My oldest son recently turned seventeen. He’s entering the age when he can get conscripted and sent to Ukraine or elsewhere. That’s why my Russian citizenship gives me.
And let me tell you another story. A few years ago, when I was already in the US, my Russian passport expired so I had to renew it, plus I had to take care of a few legal documents to send to my…