Another symbolic plus in the eyes of the EU authorities could be the transformation of a trip to the EU for Russians from an ordinary routine into a hard-to-reach privilege that must be earned. It is possible that the visa policy will become a tool for selecting between “good” Russians and “bad” ones. Among the first are conditional human rights activists, loyal journalists and public figures, who in the EU are still considered not hopeless in terms of their political position. The German Foreign Minister, in particular, notes that a complete ban on entry will affect Russians “critical of the regime.”
Such people “should not be punished”. They can be supplemented by scientists and those with certain competencies; their departure from Russia would be part of the “brain drain” process and can be relied upon as a tool to “weaken the regime.” For some countries, “ordinary” citizens arriving as tourists will also be among the “good” Russians. The “bad” ones include state officials and people representing state-owned companies and large private businesses, that is, all those who, by virtue of their activities, directly or indirectly, in the perception of the EU, support the conflict in Ukraine or are associated with organs of the Russian state. Naturally, you will have to prove that you are among the “good” and “deserving” in one way or another, or at least exert more effort to gain access to the EU. Among such possible evidence, it is proposed that hopefuls sign a written condemnation of the policy of the Russian authorities in Ukraine
Such visa policy changes will be helped by informal restrictions on cooperation. They cannot be absolute. However, they are still very widespread. These include the withdrawal of a large number of companies from Russia, the curtailment of joint commercial, scientific, cultural, media and other projects. The flow of Russians to Europe has already been affected by transport restrictions, which have significantly complicated travel to the EU countries from Russia. A ban on entry to Finland or Estonia will exacerbate the problem, since these countries were the “entry point” for further flights or transfers to other countries of the Union.
The list of cons seems to be a little more extensive, but at the same time quite tolerable for the EU, given the political situation. Transit countries (Finland and Estonia) will suffer some material damage. However, the Russians will no longer be spending money there. Similar damage will be done in all those countries that reduce their issuance of visas. But the losses are unlikely to change course for the cancellation because the tourist flow has already been significantly curtailed due to transport restrictions and the complexity of financial transactions.
Another minus is the reduction of the “soft power” of the EU, that is, the Europeans’ ability to broadcast to visiting Russians their values and way of life. However, in the Union itself, apparently, they have long been disillusioned with the influence they have on the Russians. In the majority of their political positions, the Russians do not change; they do not take to the streets and do not overthrow the government. Those who wanted to leave have already left. Most Russians haven’t travelled to Europe, or abroad at all.