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Mooted bill on Russian citizenship for Ukrainians may be drafted in two days

February 28, 2014, 13:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
However, Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of Russian parliament’s upper house, said earlier in the week that the mooted legislature of granting the Russian citizenship for Ukrainians was untimely
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© ITAR-TASS/ Sergei Fadeichev

MOSCOW, February 28. /ITAR-TASS/. A bill to simplify the procedure of granting Russian citizenship for Ukrainian nationals will be drafted within one or two days if the speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house issues a relevant order, a senior lawmaker said on Friday.

“Our committee will be able to consolidate positions of all political factions (on this issue) within one or two days, if the speaker of the State Duma issues a relevant order,” Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, said.

Slutsky said the possible draft law will be in the form of amendments to the Russian Federal Law on Citizenship, but “the bill is very important and sensitive both for us [Russians] and Ukrainians.”

However, Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of Russian parliament’s upper house, said earlier in the week that the mooted legislature of granting the Russian citizenship for Ukrainians was untimely and must be thoroughly considered before going up for parliamentary debates.

The Russian parliament’s initiative on the new legislature comes in the wake of the recent events in Ukraine, where opposition protests turned violent earlier in the month and eventually led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich and the change of power in the country.

As former oppositionists became the new authorities of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada, which is the country’s unicameral parliament, adopted a number of new legislative documents, including the one to annul the law on the regional status of the Russian language in Ukraine.

As a result, thousands of people gathered earlier this week for demonstrations in the country’s autonomous republic of Crimea, which has a share of Russian-speaking population of over 60%, voicing their disagreement with the new authorities’ policies and chanting pro-Russian slogans.

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