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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

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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