Russia is tightening its travel rules for government workers. Officials in various departments are now required to get special permission before traveling overseas. This decision comes from Russia's main security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), which is trying to protect state secrets.

Russia Limits Official Travel to Protect 'Secrets'
Moskva River and White House, Moscow, Russia
(Photo : Andrey Omelyanchuk on Unsplash)

Russia Imposes Travel Restrictions on Officials

The FSB is concerned that foreign countries might try to get secret information from Russian officials during their travels. These rules have been applied more strictly since the relationship between Russia and Western countries worsened after the Ukraine conflict. 

Before this, there were already restrictions for officials with access to sensitive information, but now, the rules are even more strict.

Officials can't travel to any foreign country, including those that are friendly to Russia and haven't put sanctions on it, like Uzbekistan or Belarus. 

According to Reuters, these restrictions have caused confusion as they are not the same across all government bodies. Each department, from parliament houses to the presidential administration, has different rules about who can travel and where.

The travel ban also affects countries that have strong economic ties with Russia, such as China, because of fears of extradition. Even trips for personal reasons like illness or attending a funeral require a compelling reason for officials to leave the country.

This situation highlights Russia's ongoing concerns about the safety of its state secrets. The FSB hasn't commented on these rules yet. 

Meanwhile, employees of the interior ministry, the national guard, and certain other departments have very limited options for overseas travel, considering both sanctions and extradition treaties.

This step by Russia reflects its efforts to tighten security around its officials in an increasingly tense global environment.

Related Article: Russian Airline Bans 400 'Old, Fat And Ugly' Flight Attendants

Issues Travel Warning to Middle East Amid Regional Tensions

Russia has warned its citizens to avoid traveling to the Middle East due to increasing conflicts in the area. The Russian Foreign Ministry specifically advised against visits to Israel, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories unless absolutely necessary. This caution follows ongoing unrest and a recent escalation in violence, including a conflict involving Iran and its allies.

The travel advisory was reiterated after a violent incident in October when Hamas, supported by Iran, launched attacks in Israel. This resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths and the abduction of 250 people to Gaza, as revealed by Iran International.

Tensions have remained high in the region, especially around the 'Blue Line' between Lebanon and Israel and the areas involved in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The situation worsened after an Israeli missile strike in Damascus on April 1, which killed two high-ranking Iranian generals. Iran has vowed retaliation, and recent statements from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei suggest that action against Israel could be forthcoming.

The escalation has also affected air travel, with German airline Lufthansa halting flights to Tehran for a day due to safety concerns. With threats of further military actions by Iran's proxies, which are active in several Middle Eastern countries, the region remains a hotspot for potential conflict. 

Russia's travel warning aims to protect its citizens from the unpredictable violence that could erupt.

Read Also: These are Russian Etiquette to Keep in Mind Before You Visit This Country