Russia criminalizes ‘concealment’ of dual citizenship


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed into force a law which is surely aimed at putting further pressure on Ukrainians living in the Crimea while under Russian occupation.  The law, voted through the State Duma on May 28, envisages criminal liability for concealing dual citizenship. From Jan 1, 2016, Russian nationals will be obliged to inform the Federal Migration Service within two months of gaining citizenship of another country.  They will otherwise incur a fine or up to 200 thousand roubles or compulsory work for up to 400 hours. 

Many Ukrainians have simply refused to take Russian citizenship.  This has already led to people losing their jobs, and many Crimean Tatars were faced with the risk of losing their land if they turned down Russian citizenship.  As well as the FSB charges against Oleg Sentsov and three other Crimean residents who all actively (but peacefully) opposed the annexation, there have also been disappearance, harassment and persecution of people supporting Ukrainian unity.   There are good reasons why even people who have ended up with Russian passports might prefer not to broadcast the fact that they remain Ukrainian citizens.  The law is quite probably designed to intimidate them. 

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