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Upper house approves law on easier citizenship for Russian speakers

April 16, 2014, 13:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A person will be recognised as a Russian speaker as a result of questioning by a committee which the Russian migration watchdog is forming
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Federation Council

Federation Council

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

MOSCOW, April 16. /ITAR-TASS/. The Federation Council upper house of Russian parliament has approved Wednesday several amendments in the law on Russian citizenship that simplify citizenship procedure for Russian-speaking compatriots.

The document envisages to simplify procedure and cut deadlines to consider applications for Russian citizenship from Russian-speaking compatriots, “if these people or their ascendants live permanently or lived earlier in Russia or on a territory belonging to the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union, within Russian state borders, under the condition of their resettlement for permanent place of residence in Russia and abandonment of foreign citizenship.”

The committee will not set a task to evaluate literacy, for instance, in a dictation, but the main criterion will be free knowledge of the language and its use in daily life Yekaterina Yegorova Deputy head of the Federal Migration Service

The key provision of the law endorsed by the upper house is introduction of an institute of recognition of foreign citizens or stateless people as Russian speakers. Meanwhile, according to the document, a person will be recognised as a Russian speaker as a result of questioning by a committee which the Russian migration watchdog is forming.

“The special committee plans to include specialists who work in education and philologists,” first deputy of Russia’s Federal Migration Service Yekaterina Yegorova noted, adding that “The committee will not set a task to evaluate literacy, for instance, in a dictation, but the main criterion will be free knowledge of the language and its use in daily life.”

For her part, deputy chair of the Federation Council committee for constitutional legislation, legal and court issues, development of civil society Lyudmila Bokova noted that if a foreign citizen was recognised as a Russian speaker he or she would be granted the right for several preferences.

For instance, refusal from foreign citizenship will give the right to foreigners living in Russia to receive a Russian passport on easier rules without observing such conditions as uninterrupted residence in Russia for five years under a residence permit and confirmed knowledge of the Russian language at the required level.

Meanwhile, a new reason of easier Russian citizenship rules for people found as Russian speakers to receive a visa is provided for such people. Alongside, an ordinary visa is expected to be given for a year for this category of people.

The term of temporary stay in Russia is also extended for foreigners found as Russian speakers, if an application for Russian citizenship or a residence permit was received from them. The residence permit for this category of people is issued for three years without any conditions for a preliminary temporary residence permit and a year-long residence qualification related with it, but it is annulled if these people did not apply for Russian citizenship upon expiry of two years.

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