The embassy of Turkmenia has denied information that it has sent inquiries to Russian institutions of higher education about the number of students with double citizenship.
Press attache of the Turkmen embassy to Russia Grigory Kolodin reported on Wednesday that "every year the embassy sends inquiries to those institutions of higher education which can have Turkmens as students." He called "irrelevant to reality" the reports by a number of Russian mass media that the campaign is allegedly run to expose Turkmen students with double citizenship.
According to the diplomat, "this is a regular regime of the embassy which has to know how many Turkmen nationals there are in Russia to avoid problems with migration services." "We have never made a point as to whether the student under inquiry has double citizenship," Kolodin stressed.
According to the embassy, at present some 5 thousand Turkmen nationals attend Russian higher education institutions.
Last week, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov signed a decree in line with which "persons with Turkmen and Russian citizenship who permanently reside on Turkmen territory should choose one citizenship and communicate their decision within two months." The decree reads that those failing to report their decision will be considered Turkmen citizens. At the same time, the citizens who permanently live outside the country without reporting their decision to the republic's consulates are to be deprived of Turkmen citizenship.
During Niyazov's recent visit to Moscow a protocol was signed to terminate the agreement between Turkmenia and Russia on double citizenship of 1993.
According to unofficial data, today some 100,000 people with double citizenship live in Turkmenia, with Russians making 90 percent of them.