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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Tennis Captain Denied Full U.S. Visa




Former presidential adviser Shamil Tarpishchev, has said he will send a letter of protest to the president of the International Olympic Committee after the United States refused to issue him a full entry visa.


Tarpishchev was to have travelled with Russia's Davis Cup tennis team, which he captains, for a weeklong training camp in Miami, Florida. The camp is intended to prepare players for the team's World Group tie against the United States April 3-5 in Atlanta, Georgia.


However, the U.S. State Department gave Tarpishchev an entry visa which only entitles him to visit Georgia.


The U.S. Embassy in Moscow refused to comment on the case Monday. "By law the American Embassy cannot comment on individual cases," said embassy spokesman Richard Hoagland. "Any such comments have to come from the individuals themselves."


Tarpishchev, who is currently sports adviser to Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, said he suspected he had been blacklisted by the United States after a series of Russian newspaper publications and television broadcasts alleging that the former presidential adviser had links to the Russian mafia.


In early 1997, NTV television ran a series of reports tying Tarpishchev to powerful metals traders Lev and Mikhail Chyorny, who former Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov has alleged are involved in organized crime.


"But no one has ever charged me with anything," Tarpishchev said in an interview Saturday. "They [the Americans] say that I'm friendly with the Chyorny brothers. So what? I know them from my youth. Once I [shared a meal] with them in Tashkent, but that doesn't mean I'm involved in their deals."


Tarpishchev said he would send a letter of protest to International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch, as well as writing to the head of the International Tennis Federation to complain about the actions of the U.S. side.


"I take this latest step by the American side as a personal affront," Tarpishchev said. "I'm the sports adviser to Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, I'm in charge of the Russian Davis Cup team and besides I'm a member of the International Olympic Committee. Basically, the Americans killed the whole preparation of our team."


After a series of letters between the U.S. Embassy and his office, Tarpishchev said he was finally given permission to enter the United States on Friday afternoon, but on a limited visa. Meanwhile, Tarpishchev's wife and son received their visas, which have no travel restrictions.


"My visa says that I'm only allowed to travel within the state of Georgia," he said. "America thinks of itself as a democratic country, but still it refuses me the right to travel within U.S. borders.


"I'm not going on a personal trip there. I'm responsible for Russia's Davis Cup team performance in Atlanta, therefore I don't take the American refusal as a personal indignity, but rather as an insult to our whole country."


Last March Tarpishchev had similar problems with the U.S. State Department when he wanted to travel to the United States for the Lipton International tennis tournament in Miami. He was eventually given permission to enter the country.