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Russia to Re-Open Visa-Free Travel?

Visa-free travel between Finland and Russia may become a reality again. Russia's interior and transport ministries have approved visa-free travel on cruise ships.

The foreign ministry must still approve the plan. Final approval could come this week, according to Russian press reports.

A return of visa-free travel would benefit two Finnish shipping lines, Kristina Cruises and Silja Line, which plan to sail from Kotka and Helsinki to St Petersburg. The companies have not received any notice of the change, but Silja Line says it has heard about it from unofficial sources.

Cruise ship travel to Russia without a visa was possible during the summer of 2002 until Russian authorities suddenly put an end to the practice. Since then, cruise traffic between the two countries has collapsed.