The film 'Terminal' in reality: a Russian lives at the airport because of the coronavirus
Russian Mikhail Novoselov flew to study in Germany, but the German border guards refused him entry because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now he lives in the transit zone of the airport in Frankfurt. Writes about this DW.
Mikhail Novoselov flew to Germany for one semester on an exchange at the Humboldt University of Berlin, but the Federal Police of the Federal Republic of Germany, performing the functions of the border service, refused him entry due to the lack of "urgent reasons". The man was banned from entering the EU for third-country nationals, introduced in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
The German Embassy compiled lists of people wishing to leave Russia and informed them of an extraordinary flight from Moscow to Frankfurt. On Friday, April 17, he delivered 133 people to Germany. More than 100 people in a similar situation still remain in Russia, some are separated from their families, someone runs out of money.
Among those who flew to Germany on Friday was 23-year-old Mikhail Novoselov. He became the only passenger on this flight who was denied entry. The German police considered that he had no “pressing reason” to enter. Due to the lack of return flights, he was locked in the international zone of the airport and has actually lived there ever since.
"I really wanted to get to Germany"
Mikhail said that he is soon completing his master's degree at an institute in Tomsk, where he is studying to be a sociologist. He really wanted to get to Germany right now because it was the “last opportunity” to study in an exchange abroad before graduating from a university in Russia. Mikhail was supposed to become a student at the Humboldt University of Berlin for one semester.
The young man's troubles began a month ago. On March 20, he flew to Berlin, where he was denied entry for the first time. According to Mikhail, then the border guards did not like his lack of housing in Berlin, despite the fact that his settlement in a student hostel had been "already agreed, and the administration was waiting for him to conclude an agreement."
I decided to try my luck again
As a result, Mikhail had to return to the Russian Federation, he spent almost a month in Moscow, but on April 17 he decided to try his luck again. In the WhatsApp chat "Return" (organized by residents of Germany stuck in Russia with Russian passports), he "by a lucky chance" learned about an extraordinary flight to Frankfurt and bought a ticket.
He contacted the embassy, where he was confirmed that his national visa is a sufficient reason to enter Germany (along with citizenship, temporary or permanent residence permit). However, according to German laws, the final decision to enter the country is made by the border services.
What is the position of the German authorities?
In the refusal of the Federal Police of the Federal Republic of Germany, issued to Mikhail, it is indicated that at present his stay in Germany poses "a significant threat to public interests, could threaten the health of the population."
The police refer to the ban imposed by the European Union on March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic on the entry of citizens from third countries without a residence permit. Specifically, in Mikhail's case, “urgent, badly needed reasons for the entry were not stated.” It is worth noting that although the summer semester at Humboldt University officially begins on April 20, all classes are still online, and it is unclear when they will resume in the university building.
All other passengers of the flight were allowed to enter, including those who, like Mikhail, arrived for the first time on a national visa. True, in their case we are talking about the so-called “bride visa”.
Remake of the film "Terminal" in reality
After Mikhail recovered from the first shock, he began to equip his life at the airport. First of all, a Lufthansa employee who “just passed by” came to his aid. As a result, the unknown man listened to Mikhail, agreed to be allocated a cot. Mikhail is sleeping in the general transit area of the airport. The staff bring him food and drinks.
“They even asked me if I had any allergies, they found out about my food preferences. Everything is arranged at a high level, ”Mikhail said. They also gave him a shower coupon, two days later he was able to take a shower for the first time. The suitcase has not yet been returned to him.
Basically, Michael spends time alone and walks around the unusually deserted Frankfurt airport. Sometimes he manages to communicate with rare passengers in a pandemic. For example, he talked about three Bulgarian citizens who were also not allowed into Germany.
The young man is actively supported by his friends and other members of the "Return" chat - they worry and constantly ask what is happening to him now. Mikhail also goes to check in with the police several times a day, his passport remains with the police, in return he was given a “transit passport”.
Waiting for a return flight
What's next? Mikhail is waiting for a return flight to Moscow, however, now they are extremely rare, and how long he will have to live at the airport is not clear. According to him, the border guards are considering the possibility of sending him to Minsk, which seems doubtful to the young man. “It is not clear where I will isolate myself there and how I will go to Russia, provided the borders are closed,” he added.
However, Mikhail still does not lose hope of getting to Germany: he wants to try to get registration in Berlin through online services, which, he believes, will become an argument in communicating with border guards. Michael also found through acquaintances a lawyer in Frankfurt, who is now studying his documents.
Mikhail does not agree with the fact that he poses some kind of threat to the health of other people, is ready to provide negative tests for coronavirus from the Moscow Region Kommunarka and even "take the test again in Germany, if he is given such an opportunity."
“I am ready to self-isolate in a hostel for two weeks if they let me into the country,” Mikhail said.
The man admits that he took a risk when he flew to Germany for the second time. However, this was done deliberately: “I did not know when there would still be an opportunity to get to Germany. The visa could expire, but new ones are not being issued now. So I decided to take a chance. ”
On the evening of April 19, the third day of his stay at the airport began.
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