Monday, September 16, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Russian Nationalists Want North Caucasians to Have Visas for Travel in Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 16 – Having gained some traction for their calls to introduce visas for Central Asians seeking to enter the Russian Federation, some Russian nationalists are now calling for new legislation that would require Russian citizens in the North Caucasus republics to obtain visas to come to Moscow or other Russian cities.

            While there is as yet no evidence that this proposal has support in the Duma and while many are likely to view it as simply a restoration of a variant of the Soviet-era propiska system, at least some in the North Caucasus are likely to view the idea itself as the latest indication that many Russians do not view them as Russian citizens or their republics as truly part of Russia.

            According to a report in Novy Region 2 today, this idea is part of a package of 14 measures that Russian nationalists plan to introduce in the federal legislature as part of their response to plans by the authorities to “simplify the provision of Russian citizenship” to those who know Russian (

            (On Saturday, groups of Russian nationalists across the federation organized demonstrations against this measure. Except for the one in Moscow, most took place without incidents. For details providing some indication of their size and extent, see the reports in and at

            Among other nationalist proposals are the imposition of a requirement that migrants and immigrants pass a Russian-language test, that employers provide sufficient funds to each such person hired to pay for his or her deportation if it is ordered, and that it be established that those ordered to be deported come up with the money via other means if needed.

            Further, the nationalists would require that anyone seeking Russian citizenship demonstrate that he or she does not have any problems with the law or with neighbors, has a higher education and property worth more than 30 million rubles (1 million US dollars), effectively blocking any from gaining a Russian passport.

            This package of proposals has surfaced after the Duma on Friday failed to adopt the simplified path to citizenship legislation the government had proposed or to prove three alternative draft laws in in this area (

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