Russia is going further in its attempts to get Ukrainian citizens to their rows. For example, on April 24, after the presidential election in Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree that allows residents of occupied Donbas region to obtain Russian passports by a simplified procedure.
After that, on April 29, Putin made another proposal: to introduce common citizenship for citizens of Russia and Ukraine.
On May 7, Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev said that the Government of the Russian Federation was ready to simplify the procedure of obtaining a residence permit.
Step One: Passportization of Donbas
Rumors that Russia is going to issue its passports to Ukrainians on the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions were circulating for a long time, but the “first bell” sounded at the end of 2018, when amendments were made to the Federal Law “On Citizenship of the Russian Federation.” Moreover, the authorities did not conceal that the law was, first of all, amended for the “support of Ukrainian citizens.”
The closer Ukrainian election was, the more frequent and at higher levels, such talks took place. On April 24 it happened, - the document on granting Russian citizenship to the residents of the so-called ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ by a simplified procedure, was signed by the president of the Russian Federation and appeared on the Kremlin website.
Among other things, the residents of occupied Donbas can obtain passports of Russia without compulsory examination and having to live in Russia for more than five years. The list of documents required for obtaining citizenship is also not particularly long: applications, ID (a “passport” of one of the so-called republics), documents on the change of name, on another citizenship, on marriage/divorce, the birth of a child, if the applicant for Russian citizenship has that.
Step Two: Common citizenship
In fact, it is impossible to say exactly how serious the proposal of Russian president was, but it still it was voiced. After the reaction of Ukraine president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to the issuance of Russian passports to Donbas residents, Putin proposed the introduction of common citizenship.
Earlier, Zelensky declared his readiness to grant Ukrainian citizenship to Russians.
In response to this, Putin proposed to introduce common citizenship for residents of Ukraine and Russia:
“I said many times that Ukrainians and Russians are brotherly peoples and, moreover, I think that we are one people ... and if we have common citizenship, Russians and Ukrainians will only benefit from this,” he said.
In addition, the Russian president is convinced that such an approach would make “both countries stronger and more successful.”
Step Three: Residence permit
Having endured a wave of indignation, which followed this in Poland, Canada, France and the United States, the Russian authorities continued to produce ideas. On May 7, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev made the proposal. This time, the Russian government was ready to approve the simplification of obtaining a residence permit. In particular, to shorten the application processing period from 6 to 4 months.
In addition, it is planned to expand the categories of citizens who can use the simplified procedure. For example, people born in the Soviet Russia and who had Soviet citizenship, as well as those who were deported from the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Republic (ASSR) and their relatives in direct line ascending, can obtain the residence permit without a temporary residence permit.
The residence permit will also be provided to children born in Russia, children adopted by foreigners, highly skilled professionals and a number of other categories. In addition, the bill introduces a permanent residence permit. Now, the time limit is 5 years, and at the end of this period, the term needs to be prolonged.
At the same time, a decree from May 1, introduces simplified procedure obtaining residence permit: for certain categories of people, the term for reviewing applications was reduced to 3 months. This applies to Ukrainian citizens; however, they still need a temporary residence permit.
Following the decree on simplifying the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainians, Ukraine appealed to the UN Security Council. Its main argument: the issuance of Russian passports to citizens of Ukraine living on the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas, which contradicts the Minsk agreements.
The residents of the occupied Donbas should remember that Russian citizenship will automatically deprive them of Ukrainian and all rights it provides.
In addition, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers invalidated Russian passports issued to Ukrainians at two centers of passports issuance in Rostov region.
The Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, Vadym Chernysh, explained that passports would be “filtered” by the authority, which issued them.
“It is very easy to find out. Each passport indicates the authority, which issued it and the code. These two settlements are now defined - Pokrovskoye and Novoshakhtinsk villages of Rostov region,” he added.