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MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/. More than one million Ukrainian citizens have sought refuge in Russia since 2014, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee for the CIS and European Integration Affairs and Diaspora Relations, Konstantin Zatulin (of the United Russia party) said on Tuesday.
He pointed out that after 2014 a real crisis ensued in granting Russian citizenship, "in connection with the tremendous flow of refugees, political immigrants and people who sought to save their own lives and the lives of their children, to Russian territory."
"We do know that more than one million people had fled from Ukraine to Russia and have not returned to their homes to this day. Statistics vary, but the real figures are far greater, I believe," he said, adding that Ukrainian citizens staying in Russia were unable to obtain a residence permit or citizenship.
The lawmaker also said that outside Russia "there are up to 30 million ethnic Russians cut off from Russia as a result of the Soviet Union’s collapse."
The MP authored a number of bills on easing the rules for obtaining Russian citizenship by compatriots. For instance, he supports granting the right to be interviewed for the knowledge of the Russian language (which is a mandatory condition) to those who were born in Russia, the Soviet Union or the Russian empire or is a descendant of Russia-born ancestors.
Also, Zatulin proposed amendments to the law on refugees that would make it possible to grant political asylum to the citizens of those countries with which Russia has visa-free relations. In that case, Russia will be able to grant asylum to Ukrainian citizens.
Currently, Russia does not grant political asylum to people from countries with advanced and well-established democratic human rights institutions and from countries that have visa-free border-crossing agreements with Russia.