Helsinki-Two days ago I got rejected by the Russians.
It felt like an incredibly personal thing, to be denied entry to their country. My visa application had been sent to the consulate in Turkuu, Finland, a tiny place where I'd thought they wouldn't pay too close attention, but it hadn't mattered.
This was probably the worst time in a long while for an American media worker to attempt a visa to Russia. The day after I learned I'd been denied Russia dropped the visa requirement for Finns. A total slap in the face.
Feeling lousy, I went to a party and gambled for hours with a friend of a friend.
The bet? Her marrying me for a Finnish passport.
I kept losing.
Now I'm stuck in Finland for a few more weeks. I'll be reading up all I can about Russia and its sphere of influence. Then I'll travel down through Eastern Europe and do some reporting on the Russian communities in Estonia and Latvia.
Russia is back.
I'm blogging about it all here and more frequently at www.justinvela.com