From Wednesday, Russia will introduce a mandatory medical examination for foreigners, who must also take their fingerprints. The rules have already provoked fierce opposition.
Under the law, foreigners will be required to undergo extensive medical checkups every three months from early next year, including a blood test, an X-ray and, for some, a CT scan.
The foreign ministry in Moscow said it would grant “favourable conditions” to foreign media workers and their families.
The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) has already warned of consequences for the Russian economy if the new rules are applied consistently. There is a risk that “foreign managers who are important to Russia will turn their backs on the country on a large scale,” the AHK (Auslandshandelskammer) said. In December, the Chamber of Commerce called on the Russian government to water down the rules in a letter sent in December.
The rules stipulate that foreigners are tested for tuberculosis, syphilis and HIV. According to the AHK, the results must be sent to Russian migration authorities, and fingerprints are also mandatory. If you refuse, you risk losing your work permit. The rules apply to all foreigners and their family members, including children from the age of 6.
The Russian authorities argue that the new procedure is a health measure that will benefit the country. However, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which is critical of the Kremlin, has asked whether this is discrimination.
It is unclear whether foreigners will have to leave the country or face other consequences if they turn out to be ill. Nor is it clear whether the medical examinations will be done safely in the coronavirus pandemic.
Data protection is also not watertight in Russia: large amounts of personal data have already been lying on the paving stones on several occasions.