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Putin Signs New Law, Foreigners to Prove Russian Proficiency

Published: April 22, 2014 (Issue # 1806)



  • The Russian language requirement is expected to apply primariy to manual laborers from Central Asia.
    Photo: A. Astakhova for Vedomosti

President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that requires foreigners to prove their ability to speak Russian while also giving his seal of approval to a separate bill that will make it easier to grant citizenship to Russian-speakers in former Soviet states.

The new immigration rules for foreign citizens, published Monday on the Kremlin's website, make it compulsory for anyone applying for a Russian work or residency permit to submit a certificate from an accredited institution, demonstrating their knowledge of the country's language, history and its basic legal framework.

Those under 18 years old, over 60 and students at accredited institutions, as well as qualified foreign specialists and their families will also be exempt from the new rules, set to go into force on Jan. 1, 2015.

Foreign residents with education documents stemming from 1991 or earlier from former Soviet countries where Russian language was a compulsory subject in schools have also been exempted from the exam.

The exemptions to the bill suggest that it is mostly aimed at immigrants from Central Asia, who come to major cities like Moscow to perform manual labor work and are perceived as having a limited grasp of Russian.

Those immigrants who received their permits before Jan. 1, 2015 will have to submit the necessary documentation when renewing their existing permits.

The tightening of the requirements for potential immigrants was signed into law alongside a separate pack of legal amendments that makes it simpler for Russian speakers in former Soviet Union countries to acquire Russian citizenship, Reuters reported.

That bill has been interpreted as a way to facilitate granting citizenship to residents in eastern Ukraine, who Russian government officials have said are under threat from the new central government in Kiev.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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