For John, BLUF: Not every deal is a bad deal. Nothing to see here; just move along.
In The Washington Post Reporter Ryan Schuessler, back on 31 July, talks about a "Small thaw in U.S.-Russian relations at the Alaska frontier".
ANCHORAGE – The United States and Russia are in the midst of their most tense relations since the Cold War, but for a small number of residents of both countries, things are warming.This is actually good news. At some level we know how to cut a deal that benefits everyone.
It will now be easier and cheaper for Native residents to travel across the Bering Strait to visit relatives on the other side.
Last week, officials announced updates to an agreement that allows Native residents of Alaska and Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula to travel between the two countries without a visa, for stays of up to 90 days.
This will mean that some Alaska Natives will be able to visit friends and family in Russia without having to pay for a visa — a cost of at least $160 — or wait for that application to be processed.
The agreement requires that a traveler be a Native resident of the designated areas in Alaska or Chukotka, and have a documented invitation from a resident on the other side.
The indigenous people of the region share cultural, linguistic and family ties with their counterparts on either side of the maritime boundary between the two countries. After the end of the Cold War, the Russian and American communities started to reestablish ties long cut off by the so-called “ice curtain.”
Oh, and remember when folks said that Governor Sarah Palin was divorced from our foreign policy? Maybe. Maybe not. Yes, you CAN see Russia from Alaska. Granted, not from Willow, but that was Tina Fey anyway.
Regards — Cliff