SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento area's Russian speaking community is in a pinch now that the San Francisco Russian Consulate will no longer be open.
The consulate handles passports, travel visas and document transfers like birth certificates.
Russian-Americans in the region says many immigrants still visit family in Russia, as well as do business there. Many have to appear in person to process paperwork, and the nearest Russian embassy is in Seattle.
With as many as 100,000 Russian speaking residents in the five-county region, huge delays in clearing travel documents are expected, and some may not be able to attain them at all. Many in the community were hoping for an easing of the diplomatic skirmishes between the two countries. Instead they seem to be escalating.
The US. State Department shut down the consulate in reaction to the reduction of the U.S. diplomatic service staff by several hundred workers in Russia. That in turn was the Russian reaction to sanctions put on the Russian government for alleged tampering with the U.S. presidential election.