After the second round of Ukraine’s presidential elections, Russian President Vladimir Putin can sign a decree that would give residents of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” the right to receive Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure.
At the end of 2018, Putin signed amendments to the federal law on citizenship of the Russian Federation agreed by the State Duma. In accordance with one of them, art. 29 of the law was added to Part 1: “The President of the Russian Federation for humanitarian purposes has the right to determine the categories of foreign citizens and stateless persons who have the right to apply for admission to the citizenship of the Russian Federation in a simplified manner, as well as the procedure for their submission of relevant applications and list of documents submitted.”
In early January 2019, Pavlo Lysyansky, a representative of the Ukrainian Ombudsman, announced the signs of preparation for passporting residents of occupied Donbas. He claimed that the representatives of the Russian Federation in occupied Donbas started agitating people to receive Russian passports.
And by the end of March, the issuance of Russian passports to residents of occupied territories was recalled again, because at the amendments to the law on citizenship of the Russian Federation officially came into effect.
How would passporting take place
In mid-April, Russian editions of Kommersant and RBC stated that the issue of providing residents of the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” with Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure was fully worked out, and Putin had to sign it.
Donbas citizens should submit an application and an identity document (passport of one of the “republics”), if a person changed her surname or name, possessed foreign citizenship, conducted marriage (or divorced), gave birth to a child, the corresponding documents should be attached to the application.
The documents must be submitted to the authorized territorial bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. There, the verdict should announce no more than three months.
In total, at present Russians plan to issue up to 500,000 of their passports to residents of the occupied territories of Donbas, Ukrainian edition of the Livy Bereh assures. They also claim that the militants are hinting that they can quickly arrange them with the passport of the Russian Federation as “peacekeeping forces.”
Why does Russia need passporting of Donbas
According to presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, it was “Russia's duty to people speaking and thinking in Russian, who were in a very difficult situation because of the repressive actions of the Kyiv regime.”
At the same time, there are quite a lot of opinions in Ukraine about why the Russian Federation suddenly needed to raise the issue of certification for residents of the occupied territories of Donbas, it might be a good excuse for camouflaging of militants’ reinforcement.
“They might say that their citizens live there, they would defend them and lead send troops there openly. This option is also possible. The Russian army is still in Transnistria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia,” Yuriy Grymchak, Ukraine’s deputy minister on the temporarily occupied territories, said.
In addition, passporting of Donbas citizens can increase the level of loyalty of the local population to the occupation and strengthen the shaky pro-Russian sentiments.
The reaction of Ukrainian authorities
Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman said that the Ukrainian government would take all the decisions to prevent Russian passporting of Donbas. The residents of the occupied territories themselves should bear in mind that obtaining Russian citizenship would mean an automatic loss of Ukrainian one and all rights associated with it. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin urged Donbas residents not to accept Russian passports after the presidential decree on the simplified procedure for them.