MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. Moscow will defend its compatriots from discrimination and oppression in any part of the world, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.
"The protection of the rights and interests of Russian citizens abroad remains the most important task for us," Medvedev said at a forum titled: "In Unity with Russia."
Russia’s specialized agencies should act as a "single force" in this sphere, the premier said.
"We’ll be safeguarding your rights and interests in any part of the world from discrimination and oppression from local authorities and organizations, if necessary," Medvedev said.
The Russian premier said that Russia was a strong state.
"I want you, like all the other citizens of our country, to feel each minute that the Russian Federation is behind you as the country’s that does not abandon its fellow citizens," the premier told the forum.
"It is very important that they should act as a single force when this involves assistance to our citizens - be it the protection of a mother who cannot take her child from another country or the forcible transfer of Russian-speaking schools to another language of instruction or help to our citizens who were unfairly convicted on the territory of other states," Medvedev said.
The premier said Russia has experience for Europe to learn as to ways to ensure interethnic concord.
Russia, which has a lot of religions, has accumulated significant experience of interethnic development, he said. "I believe that some European countries that are currently facing big problems, would do well to learn a lot [from Russia] about this," he said.
"We, for our part, will be doing all to see Russia stay such an interethnic island of stability so that our state could successfully develop in the 21st century," the prime minister said.
Medvedev has also stressed that Russia had always been another home for refugees from Ukraine and it would remain so.
He said that this year more than 500,000 compatriots had resettled to Russia under a corresponding program and more than half of them were refugees from Ukraine.
"They pin their hopes on Russia, on its support, assistance and protection. Russia has always been another motherland for them and it will remain so," he said.
Medvedev said that Russia was helping refugees from Ukraine and providing them with essentials - roof overhead, employment and education for their children.
According to the April 2016 statistics, more than a million Ukrainians massively arrived in Russia in a situation of extreme urgency. About 325,000 of them later sought shelter in Russia. About 120,000 Ukrainians have applied for participation in the government program for the resettlement of compatriots to Russia.
According to the PM, the issue of simplification the procedure of granting Russian citizenship to the compatriots living abroad may be considered from a different perspective.
"It’s always a very complicated issue, of course, but this does not mean that everything existing (in the current legislation) should remain for ages," Medvedev said, commenting on proposals to simplify the procedure of getting Russian citizenship by the compatriots abroad. The Cabinet head said that the citizenship criteria at present very greatly differ from those that had existed a century ago.
"I think that we’ll be able to consider this problem from a different perspective; at any rate I believe that it’s quite possible, so I’ll issue a corresponding order," the prime minister said.
The prime minister has promised to ensure safe and transparent vote for Russians in foreign countries at elections to the Russian State Duma on September 18.
"We will create all conditions to ensure that each polling station abroad could receive anybody who wishes to vote and make the election process well-organized, safe and, what’s more important, absolutely transparent," Medvedev said.
"Our Central Electoral Commission and the Russian Foreign Ministry institutions abroad have focused their efforts on achieving this goal," the prime minister added.
According to Medvedev, united election constituencies have been set up jointly with separate foreign countries for the first time to enable any Russian passport holder to vote in any part of the globe, including at foreign cultural centers set up by the Russian Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Residing Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation.
"In fact, we have erased the border between what we have here and what they have there (abroad)," Medvedev explained.
"For example, (Russians in) Abkhazia will vote together with Russia’s Trans-Baikal, Voronezh, Leningrad and Samara regions; Austria will vote together with the Republic of Tatarstan; Bulgaria - with Moscow, the Moscow region and St. Petersburg," the prime minister said. "Britain will vote together with the Tomsk region; Egypt - with the Altai territory; Canada - with the Ivanovo region; Ukraine will vote together with the Sverdlovsk region and the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District," the prime minister added.
Elections to the Russian State Duma will take place on a mixed system on September 18: 225 deputies will be elected on party tickets; the other 225 - in single mandate constituencies.