On August 19, member of the KUBS team Serghei Golunov took part in a panel entitled ‘New Dynamism of Borders in Asia and Beyond’, as part of the International Forum on Political Geography organized by Sun Yat-Sen University (Guangzhou, China). The panel, chaired by the Association of Borderland Studies’ Executive Secretary Dr. Jussi Laine, was devoted to a wide range of border issues across the globe.
Serghei Golunov’s presentation “Border and Immigration Regimes of Asian Countries: Russian Tourists’ Perspective” took the largest Russian online travel community – the Vinsky Forum – as a case study. Conceptually, the Russian tourists’ perspective on Asian borders is the perspective of a privileged category of travelers having ‘average’ passports in terms of global visa freedom power but above-average mobility power with regards most Asian countries. The presenter argued that the Vinsky Forum empowers tourists travelling to Asian countries in a number of ways: by consulting travelers about official immigration, border crossing, and other rules, by finding logistically doable cross-border routes, by teaching participants on how to conduct dialogue with officials, and even on how to bypass restrictions by employing small-scale tricks. The presenter concluded that the majority of Asian countries are open to Russian tourists (some are even relatively tolerant of ‘visa run’ practices) but that serious problems are still encountered with a number of them, including discrimination against some categories of visitors, corruption at the borders, boarding denials by some airlines, cumbersome security controls, the poor standard of online visa application systems, and the mutual incompatibility of various destination states` requirements.