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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

African Students Face Visa Problems

Editor: As economic crises persist and in parts of the CIS even degenerate, foreign students often become the scapegoat. On average, foreign students in Ukraine are receiving monthly stipends of about 120,000 kupons. This amount at the prevailing market prices can only buy a kilogram of sausage rolls, toothpaste, a few grams of washing detergent and nothing more. What has struck me most is the recent incapacitation of students who may wish to visit their embassies in Moscow. In most cases the need arises when a student may wish to go to his embassy to extend the validity of his passport, to obtain documents or solve some other extra-curricular problems. Many African countries still have their embassies only in Moscow. Therefore a studentmust first travels to Kiev -- the only place where the Russian visa is issued. After long hours or days of queuing, he is made to pay for the visa in dollars. A one-way train ticket from Donetsk to Moscow, for instance, costs 300,000-500,000 kupons. From Moscow the ticket costs about 13,000 rubles (about 325,000 kupons). Inconveniences apart, the financial requirement makes it absolutely impossible for an average African student (the only group of foreign students who are easy prey to resistance-free identification by the customs) to travel to Moscow, no matter the degree of necessity. The general understanding, I presume, is that we get enough financial support from the governments of our individual countries. This is not always the case. While students from Angola, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Cameroon and some other African countries receive about $800 to $2,400 yearly from their governments, Nigerian students among others get less than $200 yearly. Considering the above facts, the students and I wish to use your newspaper to beg the authorities concerned to alleviate the gnashing of teeth and remove this bottleneck for foreign students outside Russia to visit Moscow. We will highly appreciate it if a visa-free and a reduced-price ticket could be re-introduced, especially for those students who are studying in CIS under an agreement between the government of the former U.S.S.R. and those of their countries. Remmy Igvuilo Mariupol Ukraine