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MPs approve fines for concealing foreign citizenship

Published time: May 20, 2014 13:37
Edited time: May 21, 2014 13:25
AFP Photo / Joel Saget

AFP Photo / Joel Saget

Russia’s State Duma has approved in the second reading the bill introducing criminal responsibility for failing to report obtaining foreign citizenship. In addition, some MPs want all civil servants to report foreign citizenship of close relatives.

The amendments to the Federal Law on Citizenship have been prepared and drafted by MP Andrey Lugovoy of the nationalist party LDPR. They order that any Russian who receives citizenship of a foreign state must report it within 60 days with an official letter to the Federal Migration Service. The regulation also applies to those who have permanent residence permit or any other document sanctioning the permanent living in a foreign country.

However, those of the Russian citizens who permanently live on foreign territory are not required to observe the demands of the bill.

Those who refuse or fail to comply can face criminal prosecution and, in case of conviction, be fined up to 200,000 rubles (over $5,500) or sentenced to up to 400 hours of community service.

The new bill has been opposed by Russian Human Rights activists, including officials from the Presidential Human Rights Council. The chair of the council’s commission for civil society development, Yevgeny Bobrov, told ITAR-TASS that the current draft still has a lot of shortcomings. For example, it is not clear if the rules applied to those who once had foreign citizenship, but already denounced it.

This is especially important in light of the recent accession into the Russian Federation of the Crimean Autonomous Republic, with a population of about 2 million people, formerly Ukrainian citizens.

The rights activists also noted that the level of threat to the community from those who conceal their foreign citizenship hardly justifies criminal responsibility.

During the parliamentary hearings the head of the State Duma Committee for Constitutional Law, Vladimir Pligin (United Russia), noted that criminal responsibility would only apply to those who deliberately conceal their foreign citizenship. Mistakes and failure to file a report in due time would only be punished as an administrative violation.

The Russian MPs also voted to introduce the new law in Crimea from January 1, 2016, giving the residents of peninsula more time to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship.

Lawmaker Oksana Dmitriyeva of the center left Fair Russia party has drafted another amendment to the law ordering all civil servants to report about foreign citizenship of their close relatives.

Dmitriyeva told the mass circulation daily Izvestia that, in her view, relatives permanently residing outside Russia were a factor influencing officials’ decisions, even more so than the ownership of foreign bank accounts or securities, which was directly banned in April last year.

However, during Tuesday voting, the State Duma rejected Dmitriyeva’s amendment as excessive.

Comments (25)


fox bravo 17.06.2014 13:01

This is a common sense move (something lacking among Western "politicans&quo t;. you certainly do not want people handeling your "secrets" who have actual or potential devided loyalties. And with the Acursed yankees up to their old tricks trying to penetrate and tempt vunerable people to betray the trust placed in them by Mother Russia. You need to know who the penetration agents are (the yanks) and who is likly to vunrable. Now is not one moment too soon to flush out the evil the West is trying to perpetuate, and for warned is for armed!Victory in the East and in the WEST! My money is still on Putin out foxing them all!


Georgi Piskunov 31.05.2014 06:00

"However, those of the Russian citizens who permanently live on foreign territory are not required to observe the demands of the bill. "
- very good amendment to the law. The problem is that it was not advertised at all. Without it MP will turn into criminals hundreds of thousands Russian citizens living abroad. I would expect massive refusal of Russian citizenship by those who permanently live abroad.
Such law is definitely needed for MPs themselves.
Yet another "админис тративный восторг" doing more harm than solving certain problems.


Matt 22.05.2014 19:27

@H.S. "Yet, Russia allows Russian citizens to keep Russian citizenship after obtaining the US citizenship."

That's nice of them. The U.S. also allows that. Some countries do not, for example China does not allow dual citizenship.

@H.S "As for American expats keeping the US citizenship forever, this is only for the purpose of making them pay the US income tax forever."

To clarify a previous statement, anyone who lives in the U.S. can apply for U.S. citizenship. Now, if you don't want to pay taxes, you could always give up your U.S. citizenship. You're not required to keep it, but it is right to do so if you wish.

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