April 21, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that would relax requirements for obtaining Russian citizenship for those who are fluent in Russian and live or have lived in the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire within the present borders of the Russian Federation.
According to the law, a foreign citizen or stateless person will have to be interviewed by a special commission to be recognized as a native Russian speaker. They must demonstrate fluency in Russian and use it every day both at home and in other types of communication.
People with parents or grandparents who “live or previously lived on the territory of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire within the boundaries of the modern Russian Federation,” as stated by the law, can also apply for the interview.
“In order to create favorable conditions for the acquisition of Russian citizenship for such people, certain concessionary terms of entry into the Russian Federation are introduced, as well as new grounds for extension of their temporary stay in the Russian Federation and a simplified procedure for obtaining a residence permit,” the document explained.
To rule out the abuse of the system, residence permits will be revoked if foreigners do not submit an application for Russian citizenship within two years of receiving residency.