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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Airport Nightmares, Little League and Uniates

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I would like to share my painful three hours at the Moscow airport on Aug. 6.

I could not believe what was happening to me. Airport officials told me that I had a passport problem, even though I had a legitimate Russia visa. But the Moscow airport officials created a serious problem out of nothing.

I have used the same passport to enter the United States, Germany and Switzerland.

My passport was made up of two passports, which had been put together to accommodate a 10-year U.S. visa and one-time Russian visa, a fairly standard practice in Korea.

My Russian visa was in the old passport. The airport officials told me that the Russian visa should be in the new passport.

What could I do to fix this so-called problem? No one would tell me.

After more than two hours' waiting in frustration and bewilderment, a senior official came out of his office and led me to a visa office inside the airport. He suggested I could either go back to Seoul or get a new visa in the new passport for a fee there in the airport. Of course, the ticket back would be at my personal expense.

I did not have a choice. I had to pay another $150 for a new visa after nullifying the visa I got in Seoul.

I wasted $150. But more than that, I lost three precious hours in the Moscow airport, time that I wanted to spend seeing the city, especially as I had only a short week in Russia.

I sincerely hope that the Russian government will learn to accept common international practice and passports.

Samsung and LG are everywhere to be seen on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg. This makes it very hard for me to understand why officials harass Korean travelers -- or any travelers, for that matter -- who often come to Russia because they love its history and literature, its cities and people.

Yearn Hong Choi
Seoul, Korea

Russia's Young Sluggers

I am a bit surprised to see so little coverage of a great sports triumph by Russia recently, namely the victory of the little league baseball team from Brateyevo at the European championships.

In August, Russia won all three of its pool games, two by shutouts, scoring 26 runs and crushing Germany, Netherlands and Slovenia in the process. The team then went on to destroy Poland in its semi-final match and prevail decisively over the Netherlands in the finals, moving on to the World Series tournament in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Russia's success in little league with relatively little background or training in the sport gives the lie to the absurd idea that Russians and Americans have little in common.

In fact, they could learn much from each other if they would only make the effort. Russia, of course, has more to gain and ought to make the first move.

Oliver Bronsen

Base History

In response to "Shifting Forces Along the Silk Road," a comment by Georgi Derluguian on Aug. 5.

Derluguian is misinformed about the history of American military bases. He wrote in his comment that "the recent eviction of the U. S. military from a base in Uzbekistan is indeed unprecedented. [U.S. bases ... ] have never been scaled back."

But this is incorrect. France evicted the United States from its bases there in 1966-67. The Philippines evicted the U.S. military from the naval base at Subic Bay and then later, in 1992, Clark Air Base was closed.

Fearing eviction, the United States withdrew all bases from Panama in 2000, when it gave control of the Panama Canal to Panama.

More generally, the establishment of U.S. foreign bases has not been simply a process of ratcheting up. It is ironic that recently, when the United States government announced plans to close some bases in Germany and South Korea or to reduce the number of troops stationed there, there were complaints -- including some from the two countries themselves -- that it was a very bad time to reduce the U.S. presence.

Gerald Chandler

Unorthodox Politics

In response to "No End to the Schism?" a comment by Andrei Zolotov Jr. on July 27 and "Patriarch Slams Church Move to Kiev," an article by Stephen Boykewich on Aug. 24.

Thanks to Zolotov for a balanced account of the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

As a Canadian I have lived with both Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox. Although they are quite distinct and each goes their own way, there does not exist the acrimony one hears about between Orthodox and Catholic in Ukraine itself.

What puzzles me is the interference of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukrainian church affairs. Why aren't the Ukrainian Orthodox metropolitans allowed to handle their own affairs in the same way that Ukrainian Catholic Cardinal Lubomir Husar and his bishops handle theirs quite independently of the Vatican?

It seems to me that freedom of religion should prompt the Russian Patriarch to keep his hands off the affairs of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The charges of proselytism seem to be made too hastily and without foundation.

If people choose to convert from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, one doesn't hear the complaints from the Vatican or Cardinal Husar that one hears from the Moscow Patriarchate.

Fr. Leander Dosch
Huntsville, Utah