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Russian citizens may have trouble traveling to the Kaliningrad region via Lithuania after Russian Christmas
Russian citizens may have trouble traveling to the Kaliningrad region via Lithuania (and vice versa) after Russian Christmas. (Unlike the Western Christian world, Russia's Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas every January 7 in line with the Julian calendar - Ed.) This was disclosed to RIA Novosti at the Lithuanian consulate-general in Kaliningrad, the administrative center of Russia's Baltic enclave. An 18-month transitional period of simplified transit-traffic regulations (via Lithuanian territory) for Russian citizens has expired January 1, 2005. Russian-passport holders were forbidden to travel via Lithuania already starting last Saturday. All travelers must have foreign passports, the consulate-general's spokesman added. It seems that there will be some misunderstandings involving Russian citizens after the introduction of tough transit-traffic regulations because Russian citizens are used to traveling with their national passports, he noted. The situation is likely to remain calm in early January because few people are traveling by train, the agency interlocutor noted. Lithuanian officials will face their first serious test January 10-13, that is, when Russian citizens will leave for home, after staying for two weeks with their near and dear in the Kaliningrad region, he explained. Additional forces will be committed when Russian citizens start going home after the holiday season, he stressed. Quite possibly, additional routine conflicts will be registered; and we have already prepared for such conflicts, a spokesperson for the Lithuanian diplomatic mission noted. All in all, 195 people traveling to Kaliningrad were ordered by Lithuania's state border-protection service to get off trains last year. More than 500,000 people travel between Russia and Kaliningrad each year.
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