Friday, June 17, 2022

Countering Passport Conquest: "On termination of the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Russian Federation on visa-free travel"


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Zelenskiy / Official
Україна запроваджує візовий режим для громадян РФ.

У межах протидії безпрецедентним загрозам національній безпеці, суверенітету й територіальній цілісності нашої держави запропонував Кабінету Міністрів опрацювати питання перегляду режиму в’їзду російських громадян на територію України.

І сьогодні Кабмін має ухвалити це важливе рішення – Постанову «Про припинення дії Угоди між Урядом України і Урядом Російської Федерації про безвізові поїздки громадян України і Російської Федерації та застосування деяких міжнародних договорів України з Російською Федерацією».

Згідно із запланованим рішенням Кабінету Міністрів, з 1 липня 2022 року Україна запровадить візовий режим в’їзду для громадян РФ.

Zelenskiy / Official

Ukraine introduces visa regime for Russian citizens.

In the framework of counteracting unprecedented threats to the national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state, he suggested that the Cabinet of Ministers consider revising the regime of entry of Russian citizens into Ukraine.

And today the Cabinet of Ministers must make this important decision - the Resolution "On termination of the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Russian Federation on visa-free travel for citizens of Ukraine and the Russian Federation and application of some international agreements of Ukraine with the Russian Federation."

According to the planned decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, from July 1, 2022, Ukraine will introduce a visa regime for Russian citizens.

At the start of this century, the idea that the world was not moving toward fundamental convergence would have seemed incomprehensible. It was an article of faith that  the future peace and stability of th world order was  built on a foundation of interdependencies woven together by an expectation of political perfectibility as a form of liberal democracy driven by private ordered markets driven mechanisms for prosperity and the augmentation of human happiness.  Even that--human happiness, was to be understood as effectively driven by the proper set of values. And it appears that those driving global order development came close: capacity building and integration through highly networked international financial institutions; a movement toward a comprehensive and uniform internationalism as the primary source of the expression of normative convergence (and with it the triumph of international legality); and even the convergence of ideological systems with the expectation that despite national variation, all systems were inevitably moving toward globalized liberal democracy in which borders would become increasingly irrelevant, and culture like a set of clothes that can be worn or changed to suit the mood of the individual. 

By the end of the second decade of this century the great stress points of that system became impossible to ignore. Ideological differences became more than mere shades of convergence toward  a broad liberal democratic consensus.  Identitarian fractures produced a aggregation of polit6ical units even as political units converged in their approaches to governance. At the same time ethnos became a thing again--especially for traditionalists frightened both of the consequences of convergence, and the dangers of national fracture. Divergence was inevitable--and its leading forces became the leadership cores of the United States and China. They developed the template for detachment of what had been an intricately interwoven global system of production, in which borders became more important. This was layered on the reversal of the trend toward the porosity of national borders after the rise of non-state combatant communities and their successes on 11 September 2001. 

There was more, of course, but the tectonic movements that appeared to be moving solely toward convergence, coordination, and consensus, suddenly was not. And states (along with powerful enough non-state actors) could use the faith in convergence that produced sometimes deep patterns of dependency, to their advantage. Functional differentiation and specialization could serve as a good faith commitment to a unifying world; at the same time it could be weaponized by those with nio taste for convergence.

The Russo-Ukrainian war provided an excellent (through symptomatic) expression of these trajectories.  It was made more possible because of the personalities involved--and their ambitions.  Beyond its enormous human tragedy--the destruction of property, communities, ways of life and connectivity within communities that were interwoven if not always loving--was another tragedy, the acceleration of the trajectories of detachment. 

This time detachment occurs at a micro level. The Russian strategy of passport conquest (Passports as Pretext) has been used with at least a little success to detach populations from the states in which they were resident.  That was the tactic in Georgia. And it is now the tactic in Ukraine. Borders here are constructed one person at a time; they are built around the location of people and the management of their political identification.  It is no surprise then that a counter strategy is necessary.  And this one from the Ukrainian authorities may be more interesting than at first sight.  Surely it is meant to keep Russian citizens resident in pre-2014 Russia under better control.  But it also has application for those people, formerly Ukrainian nationals, who now hold Russian passports in Crimea, and in any other part of Ukrainian territory claimed by Russia.  With respect to them, the application of the new rules provides an opportunity to turn the instrumentation of nationality against the Russians themselves. This is necessary.  Nonetheless, a very aggressive process of application to Russian passport holders irrespective of former nationality will have to be sensitive to the potential to produce human rights harms. Deportation may  not be a plausible or human rights proactive consequence (at least of individuals who held Ukrainian nationality before 2014)--but monitoring and development of struct rules governing the rights of foreigners to participate in national life may well be on the table--along with systems of taxation, surveillance, monitoring, and access to security sensitive positions. That said, individual choices, including the choice of nationality, ought to have consequences when  not embraced because of circumstances or under duress.


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