Comment by the Information and Press Department in connection with the US decision to tighten the procedure of issuing visas to Russian citizens
Our US colleagues claim that meeting our demand to restore parity in terms of the number of employees of the Russian and American foreign missions hinders the normal performance of consular functions, but the reality is that Washington is actually pursuing completely different goals. The goal is obvious − to try to provoke the discontent of Russian citizens with the difficulties purportedly caused by the staff reduction of US diplomatic and consular missions.
In reality, the problem lies in the inadequate efficiency of the visa offices of US missions in Russia. The facts speak for themselves. While 16 consular officers of Italy processed 478,000 visa requests last year, and their five Spanish counterparts issued 877,000 visas to Russians, the much larger staff of the US consulates managed to issue only about 186,000 visas.
We would advise our American colleagues not to misinform people by using the staff reduction in Russia as a pretext to add "irritants" to the already complicated Russian-US relationship.