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Russia US teacher ban row

Russia has refused to issue work visas to 30 American teachers, citing misuse of their diplomatic visas.

According to Russian state media, the foreign ministry reported that, “Teachers in the American school are sent to Russia as embassy employees with diplomatic passports, although the school is a commercial enterprise.”

The State Department responded in a statement that, “The Russian government has a long-standing requirement that Anglo-American School teachers travel to Russia on diplomatic visas.”

Similarly, teachers at the Russian Embassy in Washington travel to the United States on diplomatic visas, the State Department pointed out.

The teachers were all scheduled to work at the Anglo-American school in Moscow. The school, located in a suburb of the Russian capital, is now missing twenty per cent of its teaching staff.

“With a reduced number of teachers, school leadership may need to reallocate teaching responsibilities and look at the possible disenrollment of some new and returning students,” US Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. said in a statement.

The school is reported to be in touch with parents and teachers about future plans.

Russia watchers suggest the visa row is part of a larger diplomatic skirmish. “Children should not be used as pawns in diplomatic disputes,” Ambassador Huntsman commented.

Image courtesy of HECTOR SILVA
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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