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Russia Targets 'Traitorous' Dual Citizenship Holders

Published: May 30, 2014 (Issue # 1813)



  • Holders of multiple citizenship found themselves in the legislative crosshairs in March, when the idea of tracking them was endorsed by President Vladimir Putin.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russia is about to criminalize failure to declare dual citizenship in what lawmakers say is a bid to crack down on the "fifth column" — and the fifth column is duly scared.

Exposing holders of multiple passports may be the first step to banning dual citizenship, said a holder of U.S. and Russian passports who currently lives on the U.S.' east coast.

"I am just afraid I will not be able to see my friends and family," she said. She asked for her name to be withheld from print for fear of getting into trouble with the Russian bureaucracy.

A bill fast-tracked by the State Duma makes not reporting another citizenship to migration authorities punishable with a fine of up to 200,000 rubles ($5,800) or up to 400 hours of community service.

The bill's authors say it is a preemptive measure against possible subversive action by dissidents in the face of Moscow's deteriorating relations with the West.

But the legislation is borderline unconstitutional and discriminative, targeting thousands of politically uninvolved citizens in a fit of state paranoia straight out of Soviet textbooks, the bill's critics say.

"This is just the state meddling in personal affairs through laws widely seen as repressive," said Svetlana Gannushkina of rights group Memorial.

Presidential Approval

Holders of multiple citizenships found themselves in the legislative crosshairs in March, when the idea of tracking them was endorsed by President Vladimir Putin.

"We have the right and a need to know who is living in Russia and what they do here," Putin said at the time.

The bill on the issue was rapidly penned by Andrei Lugovoi of pro-Kremlin nationalists LDPR, a former Kremlin guard who earned notoriety in the West when he was fingered as the main suspect in the polonium poisoning of KGB defector and Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. Lugovoi denied involvement.

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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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