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State Duma adopts basic Russian citizenship law

The law enshrines that Russian citizenship is unified and equal, regardless of how it is acquired
Russian State Duma Sergei Karpukhin/TASS
Russian State Duma
© Sergei Karpukhin/TASS

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma adopted the draft of the basic law "On Citizenship of the Russian Federation" in the second and third readings on Tuesday.

The document was introduced to the State Duma by Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 29, 2021. The bill aims to gradually implement the Concept of State Migration Policy of the Russian Federation for 2019-2025. The provisions of the document are focused on granting Russian citizenship to those individuals residing in Russia who are "capable of organically integrating into the system of positive social networking and becoming full-fledged members of Russian society."

The law enshrines that Russian citizenship is unified and equal, regardless of how it is acquired. A Russian citizen cannot be deprived of citizenship or the right to change it. Living abroad does not terminate one’s citizenship. In addition, a Russian citizen cannot be expelled from the country or extradited to a foreign state.


Who can obtain citizenship under the simplified procedure


According to the law, Russian citizenship can be obtained by an individual who has been living in the country permanently since the day of the decision to issue a residence permit, on the condition that this individual speaks and writes Russian, knows Russian history and legislation, and does not pose a threat to law and order.

In addition, those individuals whose close relatives are Russian citizens currently living in the country may also obtain citizenship.

These norms will also apply to foreigners or stateless people who have been living in Russia for at least a year and were recognized as refugees or received political asylum on Russian territory.


Terminating citizenship for crimes


The bill introduces a new concept: the loss of Russian citizenship instead of annulment of decisions on the individual receiving citizenship. Thus, one can lose his or her citizenship for the following reasons: by the individual’s voluntary decision, commission of a crime, forging documents or reporting knowingly false information, which directly led to receiving citizenship. Citizenship may also be terminated if said person commits any actions which threaten the security of the Russian Federation.

The decision to terminate citizenship will be taken by the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry, its bodies, the Russian Foreign Ministry, diplomatic missions, consulates, and, in the most high-profile cases, by the Russian president.

The bill also extended the list of crimes that result in a loss of citizenship. These would be: Violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation (Article 280.2 of the Russian Criminal Code), Sabotage (Article 281), Assistance in sabotage activities (Article 281.1), Training for the purpose of carrying out subversive activities (Article 281.2), Participation in sabotage activities (Article 281.2), Organizing sabotage groups and participating in them (Article 281.3), Desertion (Article 338), Public appeals to unleash aggressive war (Article 354), Creation of a nonprofit organization that encroaches on the rights of citizens (Article 239), Destruction or damage to military graves (Article 243.4), Attempt on the life of a state or public figure (Article 277). The list also includes calls for the introduction of restrictive measures against the Russian Federation (Article 284.2), Rehabilitation of Nazism (Article 354.1), Public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Russian armed forces (Article 280.3) and crimes in the sphere of drugs and psychotropic substances trafficking.

The law will come into force 180 days after the day of its official publication.