Military conscription in Russia could benefit Thailand’s economy

Thailand could be an attractive and realistic option for men fleeing military conscription in Russia.

Reports say that men are fleeing Russia after President Vladimir Putin announced a plan to conscript 300,000 civilians into military service in Ukraine.

Several European countries such as Lithuania have already closed their doors to Russian citizens, citing widespread support for Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine as the reason for the ban.

Russians are rushing onto flights to countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Montenegro, and Turkey, or basically, anywhere that will let them in without a visa.

Thailand and Russia have a bilateral agreement which grants Russians the right to temporarily enter the kingdom without the need for a visa, also known as ‘visa exemption on arrival.’

To lure tourists into Thailand this High Season, Thailand is extending the maximum stay of visa exemptions on arrival from 30 to 45 days, effective October 1.

Thailand is also finally removing all remaining coronavirus-related entry restrictions on October 1, meaning no proof of vaccination history and no negative tests are required to gain entry into the kingdom. Even people who test positive for Covid-19 are allowed in now.

Even before Putin’s announcement, the Thai government had already made plans to boost tourism revenue by turning to the Russian market this winter in a somewhat controversial move.

Thailand is welcoming Russians with open arms this High Season and even plans to fly in Russians via chartered flights three times per week. Although, it’s not clear when the service will begin.

Aeroflot also plans to resume its direct service between Russia and Phuket on October 31 in time for Thailand’s High Season. However, a month might be far too long a wait for prospective military draftees in Russia.

Before the war, Russians contributed vastly to Thailand’s tourism revenue. An increase in Russian arrivals could do wonders for Thailand’s tourism revenue, so the Thai government has no problem with the return of the Russian market.

Whether there are enough flights available to facilitate an influx of Russian arrivals, and whether or not they will be an affordable option, remains uncertain.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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