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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

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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