Russia detains MK over visa confusion
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Russia detains MK over visa confusion

Yesh Atid lawmaker Yoel Razvozov only spared indignity of expulsion thanks to last-minute embassy intervention

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Yoel Razvozov (photo credit: Flash90)
Yoel Razvozov (photo credit: Flash90)

MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid) was detained and interrogated upon arrival to Russia and nearly deported back to Israel on Tuesday, after arriving at the Moscow airport without the appropriate visa. A fast response by the Israeli embassy and Foreign Ministry provided him with the necessary paperwork and he was allowed to go ahead with his visit.

According to agreements between Moscow and Jerusalem, Israeli citizens can enter Russia without a visa, but people traveling on a diplomatic passport are obligated to obtain one ahead of their arrival. Razvozov, a first-term MK who was born in Russia, was used to traveling without the visa and did the same this time, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

“They treated me sternly and interrogated me about who I am and what my job is,” Razvozov, who heads the Knesset Immigration Committee, said. “I’m lucky to be a Russian speaker or I wouldn’t have had a chance,” he added.

The legislator was put on a plane scheduled to return to Israel. But thanks to the embassy’s intervention, Razvazov was then taken off the plane mere minutes before it was set to take off, allowed into the country, and continued to a scheduled meeting with Israel-supporting Russian legislators.

Last year, officials of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) strip-searched Israeli security personnel accompanying then-tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov during an official visit to the country.

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