Bali authorities have started to rethink their attitude towards Russian and Ukrainian tourists after numerous complaints about their provocative behavior and violation of local laws. The New York Times (NYT) said how and why this happens.
What overwhelmed the patience of the Balinese
In mid-March, the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, proposed to cancel the issuance of visas on arrival for tourists from Russia and Ukraine. The head of the Indonesian immigration service, Silmi Karim, said in an interview with the NYT that the agency studies the experience of Thailand and other countries where large numbers of Russians are concentrated in this regard.
The main task is to weed out foreigners who violate local laws, Karim said. “They can be called to order. We have to take care of them and discipline them,” he stressed.
The NYT lists specific examples of violations that prompted authorities in Bali to call for a visa tightening.
In 2019, Russian yoga teacher Alina Fazleeva was photographed naked in front of the sacred 700-year-old banyan tree. In January 2023, Russian street art artist Sergei Ovseikin painted anti-war graffiti on the wall of a private house. In the same month, a Russian teenager painted graffiti on the wall of a school. Accidents involving motorcycles driven by visitors from Russia and Ukraine have become more frequent, including fatalities. Russians and Ukrainians enter on short-term tourist visas, but in violation of the law they get jobs without permits and deprive local residents of their income.
Balinese are also outraged by the “half-naked” appearance of tourists, the newspaper writes.
“It’s like they live in a bubble and they don’t care what’s outside. It’s normal for them to walk half-naked, in bikinis and ride without a helmet. But they don’t see that this is not the case with the locals”, complains the guide of the Balinese hotel I Wayan Pardika.
Fines, deportation and education: how Russians are “re-educated” in Bali
The Bali tourism agency plans to put up posters in English, Russian and Ukrainian urging tourists to follow the “rules of common sense”. Violators risk heavy fines and deportation. ers, in particular, urge not to post “offensive and vulgar photos” on social media, but to wear revealing and beach outfits only where appropriate.
The discipline of compatriots was also supported by other Russians living in Bali. In particular, NYT talks about a group organized by Russian artist Grishanti Holon. He teaches Russians about Balinese law and encourages them to open businesses to create jobs for local residents.
Problems with Russian and Ukrainian tourists
In mid-March, the governor of Bali called for a halt to issuing visas to Russians and Ukrainians upon arrival in Indonesia due to visa violations and reckless driving. Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said the number of ‘problem’ tourists from Russia and Ukraine is ‘still low’ and any plans to change visa rules should be ‘considered carefully’ “.
On March 20, Bloomberg reported on the deportation of 13 Russians from Bali due to violations of residence conditions and misuse of residence permits.