At the EU-Russia St. Petersburg Summit in 2003 both parties agreed to start negotiations on agreements to simplify the procedure for issuing short-stay visas between the EU and Russia with visa-free travel as the ultimate goal. In December 2013, Russia declared all requirements and conditions outlined in the Common Steps to be fulfilled and that it is ready to move to the next phase, which is the preparing of a draft Visa Waiver Agreement. The EU, on the other hand, doesn’t consider all conditions to be fulfilled and insists on fulfilling all technical requirements before moving to the next phase. Therefore the main question that was posed: are the respective benefits and constraints of the EU and Russia related to visa liberalization mutually exclusive? From this research it became evident that Russia is only willing to fulfil technical requirements set out in the Common Steps document. Russia is less eager to carry out organizational reforms, including reforms in home affairs and law enforcement agencies. For Russia it is important not to converge to EU’s level of liberal and democratic standards, as Russia does not want to give up its sovereignty and secure its status as a great power. Advisors/Committee Members: Frear, Dr. M (advisor).