Russian-Nauru Island close relationship: What are friends for?

By Slava Tsukerman

Russian press informed readers that the President of the Republic of Nauru Baron Waqa is visiting Russia.

At a meeting with the president of Nauru Russian, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that an agreement on canceling the visa requirement between Nauru and Russia is being prepared.

The news surprised many Russians. What is Nauru? Who of the two nations needs the visa free regime: Naurians or Russians?

A portrait of a typical Naurian was re–posted by many Russian web sites.

Russian bloggers were asking: “Is that person planning to visit Russia without visa?”

Nauru is a small, isolated Western Pacific island nation, the world’s smallest republic, covering just 8.1 sq mi. With 9,378 residents, it is the second least-populated country, after Vatican City.

The Republic of Nauru is lacking the tourist facilities of some of its larger neighbors, such as Fiji, the Cook Islands and New Caledonia.

Access to the island comes but once a week, with a flight from Australia.

The state has no capital, as there is no enough space to place it on the island.

Baron Waqa is not just the President of the State, he is at the same time the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Economy and Minister of Finance (until June 23 this year, he was also the Prime Minister).

There is no army or police In Nauru. When something happens, the President invites police from Australia.

Nevertheless Nauru is a great buddy of Russia.

What is the reason for this remarkable friendship between gigantic Russia and the smallest country in the world?

Russian Internet suggests the answer to the question:

On August 17, 1998 a terrifying financial crisis had hit Russia.  The Russian government devalued the ruble and defaulted on its debt. As a result almost all Russians (15–20 million people) lost all their savings. Tragic results of this event are still felt in Russia.

Now, according to new publications on the Russian Internet, during the Russian default of 1998 70 billion U.S. dollars were transferred from Russia into Nauru banks.

Perhaps this information is the answer to the question: Who needs to travel to Nauru without visas?

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Updated: December 11, 2013 — 3:48 pm
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