Leading Russian human rights activists have backed the suggestion by the head of the presidential administration to start giving Russian citizenship to people born on the Russian soil.
“This is a very humane proposal, it will remove the most acute of the currently existing problems – the problem of persons without citizenship,” the chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, was quoted as saying on Thursday by the Interfax news agency.
The head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseyeva also supported the suggestion, adding that she also wanted a radical reform of the national migration policy. “This step would allow the people who come to our country, settle down and have children to feel integrated into our society,” the activist told reporters.
The head of the public council for the Federal Migration Service, Vladimir Volokh called the suggestion useful and timely. “I myself am a supporter of the "jus soli" principle. If someone is born here, then it is possible for this person to get Russian citizenship. The principle demonstrates that our country is powerful and attractive – if the parents find it necessary to give birth here, the baby must have the right to become a citizen,” Volokh noted. The activist, who earlier worked as a deputy head of the Federal Migration Service, also added that, in his experience, the move would not cause a surge in immigration, but will improve the problem situation with demographics. It will also be positive from the political and economic points of view, he said.
The suggestion to introduce the place of birth principle of citizenship, known as jus soli in legal terms, was made by the head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Sergey Ivanov, as he was visiting a refugee camp in South Russia’s Rostov Region on Thursday.
Of 580 Ukrainian citizens who currently live in the camp five are pregnant women and the official asked them what will be the children’s legal status after they are born? The staff explained that the babies will only get registration and Ivanov said that he would promote the new rules, similar to those in the United States.
According to the Rostov Regional Administration, over 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the region since the beginning of June when the Ukrainian Army and National Guards launched a major offensive against federalist forces in the Lugansk and Donetsk region of the country.
Currently Russian citizenship is granted to children of Russian citizens and also can be received by those who pass the language and history tests and prove that they were continuously and legally living on Russian territory for five years. Citizenship can also be granted by a presidential order for special merits.
Recently Russian authorities have also introduced simplified rules for people with good command of Russian who can prove their Russian, Soviet or imperial ancestry. Other bills that are being considered by the parliament allow citizenship for investors and graduates of Russian universities who choose to work inside the country and stick to the profession they studied.