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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

Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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