Staunton, January 24 – By introducing new legislation that will force all Russian officials to avoid taking or give up dual citizenship or residence permits in other countries, Vladimir Putin has unwittingly handed Russians and Western governments opposed to him a powerful weapon that can be used against him, Vladislav Inozemtsev says.
Working entirely within the Russian legal field and exploiting the fact that data on dual citizenship in Russia is not widely available, the opposition needs to demand that Moscow release such information and also call on Western governments to do the same, according to the Russian economist (theins.ru/opinions/inozemtsev/238558).
When the names are revealed, either the officials will have to resign or they will have to give up their dual citizenship and residence permits. Both will have the effect of undermining the authority of the powers that be and provide a valuable new weapon against the Putin regime that the opposition and the West can use against him.
Everything suggests that the Kremlin leader will continue to expand the number of officials subject to these restrictions, Inozemtsev says; and that will thus prove to be an ever more useful tool for the opposition and for Western governments who have the kind of records that could be released.
All this “opens interesting new possibilities,” he continues. The opposition can demand the creation of an open data base on Russians who have dual citizenship or residence permits again, and the West can provide this without in any way violating Russian law. Indeed, doing so is consistent with what Putin says he is about.
“It is perfectly obvious that Russia with its corrupt structures of power will never send requests to foreign institutions relative to second citizenships of its officials,” Inozemtsev continues. “Therefore, it is critically important to begin work from the other side having revealed as much information as possible about Russians with dual citizenship.”
“Formally,” he continues, “this is not the introduction of sanctions, limiting the rights of these citizens in any way” or “reducing the chances of using property or stocks held in other jurisdictions.” Indeed, it can be carried out as a move that supports “the Putin plan” to ensure that those with dual citizenship aren’t in public positions.
At a time when many honest Russians are being labelled “foreign agents,” Inozemtsev concludes, “it has never been more important to show just how many such people are in the higher echelons of Russian power and how the domestic political elite all these last years has attempted to try to establish guarantees of legal status” abroad.
That is, “beyond the borders of that country which it constantly swears is unlimited love for and devotion to.”