For those who wish to freely roam the world, the most powerful passport holders are Germans. Today I read an article ranking countries based on the amount of "travel freedom." This is defined as the number of countries where citizens can travel with no visa requirements, or where tourist visas can be obtained upon arrival. Germans have visa-free access to 177 countries and territories, and the other top five countries ( all European nations and America) are not far behind in global access for citizens.
(1) Germany - 177 countries
(2) Sweden - 176 countries
(3) Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK - 175 countries
(4) USA, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands - 174 countries
(5) Austria, Japan and Singapore - 173 countries
At the bottom of the list are Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Russian passport holders rank 48th. You can see the entire index here.
We cannot control the country into which we are born, but we can control the passport we hold and use to a certain extent. For instance, my Ukrainian friend moved to France to study and has lived and worked there for several years. Soon, he will be able to apply for French citizenship and obtain a French passport. Imagine how much easier it will be for him to travel! It's an awesome sense of freedom, in my view. I understand that Ukraine does not allow for dual citizenship, so technically he must give up his Ukrainian passport, but he is under the impression that given the slow and inefficient bureaucracy there, no one will notice the dual citizenship. Of course, visa waivers reflect a country's ability to play nice with the rest of the world and maintain good diplomatic relations. I hope for the day when American and Russian citizens can freely travel to each nation without the burden and cost of visas, but I don't foresee it anytime in the future, although American citizens can currently travel to a lot of former Soviet bloc countries with no hassles. Now I'm starting to plan my autumn trip to Georgia, where no visa is required.
What are the benefits of a Russian passport, or your home country? Yes, I'm very grateful to be born in the USA and carry a passport from this country, as I've written many times. It allows for freedom of travel to a lot of places on the globe, and we have excellent infrastructure and roads to travel within America as well. It's very important for an eternal wanderer like me...