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Superyachts can enter Russia’s inland waterways for the first time after a new law came into force on May 25th.

The Russian government has drawn up a list of the ports and waterways now open to vessels flying foreign flags.

The ban on allowing foreign-registered vessels to enter Russia’s waterways was passed by Stalin in 1936. According to the Ocean Cruising Club many foreign yachts had applied to enter Russia’s inland waterways before the ban was lifted, but they were mostly declined.

St Petersburg superyachts

Superyachts can now use waterways like this one in St Petersburg, Russia

It’s hoped that the move will make Russia’s waterways more popular, allowing an increase in tourism to boost local economies. However, it will take a few years to see the impact, explained Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky.

Last year’s Superyachting Index showed that 17% of the world’s biggest yachts are owned by Russians, but none of these fly the Russian flag.