Formalities for obtaining Russian citizenship to be simplified for Russian-speaking foreigners

The government of the Russian Federation has submitted to the State Duma a draft bill is designed to simplify the formalities for obtaining Russian citizenship for Russian-speaking foreigners.

The new procedure of obtaining Russian citizenship can be used by foreign and stateless citizens recognized as native Russian speakers, i.e. speaking fluent Russian and regularly using it in their family, at home, in social, cultural and other spheres, and whose lineal ancestors have earlier permanently lived on territories of the Russian Empire or the USSR.

The bill envisages shorter deadline of three months to consider applications and take decisions on granting Russian citizenship on easier rules on condition of renunciation of the present foreign citizenship. Those who wish to get Russian citizenship must take an exam in Russian language.

Experts link the new bill with the Ukraine turmoil and believe that with the move Russia will try to limit the flow of migrants from the Central Asian republics.

Dr. Lidia Grafova, a Russian journalist and human rights activist, says special examination commissions will be set up to determine whether the applicant can be granted Russian citizenship or not.