A Russian woman has caused commotion on social media after she filmed herself mocking and harassing Ukrainian women in Salzburg, Austria. The woman, allegedly identified as Julia Porohova by a user on Twitter, updated the video on her Telegram account where she shared it with about 90,000 followers.
In the video, she addresses the two women saying “Glory to Russia”. She looks at the camera then starts singing, “Russia will win, Russia will win.” Then she asks, “Who owns Kherson?” in reference to the occupied city in Eastern Ukraine. “Kherson belongs to Ukraine,” the two women replied. “Ukraine? Yeah, sure. But now they will hold a referendum! F*** off with your Ukraine.” Her Telegram account has since been deleted.
She is under investigation in Bavaria, where she currently resides. She had boasted online that she was living illegally in Germany. According to the Brussels Times, she had previously bragged on her Telegram account about how she was going on holiday to Vienna, a trip she had paid for in Russian rubbles with a credit card from a sanctioned Russian bank in a booking app.
The provocation in Salzburg did not go unnoticed. After the video went viral on social media in early August, the travel agency immediately cancelled her booking.
According to the Brussels Times, the Russian woman is one of many cases where people upload videos or photos depicting questionable behaviors on social media. It has heightened the discussion among some European nations regarding the possibility of banning Russian tourists entry to Europe.
On Thursday 11 August, Latvia’s Parliament adopted a declaration calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism and encouraging other countries to adopt similar initiatives. The statement alludes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the actions of Russian armed forces in that country as the main reason for condemning Russia as a “terrorist state.”
The Latvian Embassy in Moscow has already stopped issuing them for Russian citizens except for people attending funerals of a close relative. On August 9th, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Twitter that tourism from Russia to the EU should end. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin spoke in the same vein.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke against banning tourist visas for Russian citizens. According to news agency EFE, Scholz argued that at the European Union (EU) level relevant sanctions have already been adopted against people in the Kremlin’s entourage.
The most important sanctions are to close the borders — because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land.Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine
On Monday 8 August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an interview to the Washington Post during which he criticized western countries for not being harsh enough on Russia, saying that they need to implement more sanctions and, most importantly, make it impossible for Russians to leave their country.