Russia, which is the successor of the Soviet Union, left its compatriots to the mercy of fate. This is the major conclusion of the law “On the Citizenship in the Russian Federation,” to which the Russian parliament gave the second reading.
The bill, which was given the first reading at the end of the past year, was submitted to the parliament by President Putin. It is surprising, but the irreconcilable left and right factions united during the process of the discussion on Wednesday – the deputies from Union of Right Forces (known for the Russian initials SPS), Yabloko, the Communist Party, and the Agro-Industrial Group found a common language and voted against the bill during the second reading.
The centrist factions – Unity, Fatherland-All Russia, People’s Deputy and the Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) voted for the bill, and these votes outbalanced: 235 deputies voted for the bill, whereas 226 votes were enough.
The rules for obtaining the Russian citizenship are going to be tougher now. The document, which was submitted by the Russian president, changed only in the negative direction. Deputy Boris Nadezhdin said that the new variant of the bill was fundamentally different from what the president was expecting.
So, if the foreign citizens or the citizens without the citizenship have a wish to get the Russian passport, they will have to live on the territory of Russia for five years running. This five year period starts from the moment, when a citizen obtains the residential permission, not from the moment of the physical residence. In other words, millions of the people will not be able to get a Russian passport for five years. This term can be cut by two years, in case of a marriage with a Russian citizen; this privilege will also be granted to those, who have outstanding achievements in science, technology and culture, or a profession, which is of interest to the country.
Those, who wish to become Russian citizens, will have to meet certain requirements. First of all, they should know the Russian language and the Constitution.
The decision to grant the Russian citizenship will be in the competence of the president. A simplified order to get the citizenship is also possible: in this case the decision will be made by the home ministry, by the Russian embassies and consulate offices abroad.
As a matter of fact, all those measures could be welcomed, if there were some benefits for our former USSR compatriots, but the parliament refused from that idea. Russia has actually dumped them. There are so many situations, when the people of the Commonwealth of Independent States refuse to be the citizens of the countries, in which they live. The unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and Transdniestr are very good examples to illustrate.
It should be mentioned that those measures were mentioned this way or another in the original bill, which was submitted by the president. The citizens, who were born on the territory of the Russian Federation, who had the Soviet citizenship, had a right to be granted certain benefits. Now they have been deprived of it. The majority of the deputies believed that it contradicted to the constitutional and international legal principles. Deputy Anatoly Chekhoyev was indignant: “We betrayed 28 million Russian people from the republics of the former Soviet Union! We opened the doors for our enemies and closed them for our friends!”
Now the bill will be prepared for the third reading. The document is to come into effect on July 1 of the current year. However, Anatoly Lukyanov, the head of the parliamentary committee for state structure, said that the document would have to inevitably go through the process of the second reading again, since “there are a lot of amendments, which contradicted both to the certain paragraphs of the documents, and to each other.” It should be also mentioned here that the deputies rejected the amendments, which allowed getting the citizenship of one of the republics at the same time with the Russian citizenship.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov