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Draft bills submitted to Duma to support Ukrainians seeking Russian citizenship

February 28, 2014, 16:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The new amendments allow a part of a foreign state to join the Russian Federation without any relevant intergovernmental agreement after a referendum

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© ITAR-TASS Archive/Mikhail Fomichev

MOSCOW, February 28. /ITAR-TASS/. A Just Russia party members have submitted on Friday two draft bills aimed at creating a legal basis to support Ukrainian citizens if they apply for Russian citizenship. The documents are registered in the lower house's database.

A group of deputies headed by chair of the State Duma Committee for Affairs of Families, Women and Children, Yelena Mizulina has prepared the documents on instructions of A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov. Both documents, as the authors say, “allow Russia within its jurisdiction to lend a helping hand to fraternal peoples of Ukraine”, but “do not deprive Ukrainian regions of the right of freedom to express their will with regard to their fate. In any case, it is up to them to take the initiative."

The first document changes the federal constitutional law on admission of a new member to the Russian Federation. Its current version stipulates that a foreign state or its part may be joined to the Russian Federation only in case there is an international agreement between Russia and the state.

A Just Russia's amendments allow joining a part of a foreign state to Russia without such an agreement, but if residents of the territory vote for it at a referendum or its legitimate power structure applies to Russia.

The procedure is the following: an initiator a state power body of the part of the foreign state applies to the Russian president, who informs the Federation Council, the State Duma and the government about it and holds consultations with them, the committee head explains. In case it is approved, the president submits a draft federal constitutional law to admit the part of the foreign state to the Russian Federation. The law will define the status and other legal aspects and gives the name of the territory.

According to Mizulina, the adoption of the draft law will create additional legal guarantees to prevent any violent actions on national, ethnic or religious intolerance grounds, without violating the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of another state.

The second draft law, aimed at supporting Ukrainian people, introduces a simplified procedure to grant Russian citizenship to Ukrainian people, removing the requirements to reside in Russia's territory, have a legal source of incomes, give up Ukrainian citizenship and pay a duty. The period to receive citizenship is reduced from a year to two months.

The adoption of the draft law will allow Ukrainian citizens who do not want to be subject to assimilation to retain their ethnic, cultural, language and religious identity, the explanatory note to the initiative says.

First deputy head of A Just Russia's State Duma members, Mikhail Yemelyanov, when he told reporters earlier on Friday that the draft laws would be submitted, noted "The situation in Ukraine is complicated and unpredictable. It is necessary for Russia to have a maneuver in case the process of Ukraine's breakup continues."

On Thursday, A Just Russia's leader Sergei Mironov told Itar-Tass that a consolidated draft law would be submitted to the State Duma on Friday, February 28, on a simplified procedure to receive Russian citizenship for Ukrainians. "It will apply only to Ukrainian citizens," the politician noted.

Mironov said the draft law would be submitted by A Just Russia members and expressed confidence that the rest would support it.

"These laws may be compared with a lighthouse on the shore for those lost in the sea they give hope," Mizulina said.

When speaking about the planned submission of the draft laws earlier on Friday, Yemelyanov noted A Just Russia members believed it was necessary to preserve Ukraine's integrity. It depended not only on Russia, but also on activities of politicians who had come into power in Ukraine, he noted.

With the deep split in the Ukrainian society, the only way to retain the unity is creating a federation. "We hope the politicians' common sense will prevail and such a state system will be chosen that will respect the rights of all citizens of the country," he noted.

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