Dear Partners,

While Russia battles a particularly severe fourth wave of the Coronavirus, the Russian government is showing signs that they are much more determined to increase the embarrassing low rate of vaccinations. This is being done by requiring Russians to show vaccine QR codes to enter theatres, museums and other places. However, the most far-reaching recommendation is the requirement to have a QR code in order to use trains and planes, including international flights. This will ensure that businesspeople and anyone wanting to travel will have to be vaccinated by 1st February 2022. It is hoped that by early 2022, the international community will recognise Sputnik which will be a further stimulus for Russians who enjoy international travel.

This will no doubt be more effective than the most recent attempt to have a mini lock-down which was implemented during the first week of November. However, instead of working from home, those Russians who could afford it used this opportunity to fly out of Russia and visit a foreign country, most international flights were full and most 5* hotels in Egypt were also full of Russians who wanted to escape the mini lock-down and the cold weather. The result was that paid working week had very little impact on the covid infection rates.

At the same time, Russia continues to open direct flights to more countries and increasing the flight frequency to those countries that are already open. Latin American destinations seem to be the flavour of the month for December, with a high frequency of flights to the Dominican Republic, but with Egypt remaining the ‘jewel in the crown’, as the most popular New Year break option. This events with the increase in the value of Rouble by 10% means that foreign travel is more affordable and enticing than ever, even if most of Europe is off the menu for the time being.

Helene Lloyd

18 November 2021, Moscow

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