Russians who have left will be obliged to report about residence permits under threat of criminal prosecution

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has proposed that Russians who have received a residence permit, citizenship of another country or “another document confirming the right to permanent residence” should be obliged to notify the Russian authorities within 60 days.

The draft of the relevant order was published by the agency on the legal information disclosure portal. According to the document, Russian citizens over the age of 18 will have to submit notifications to an embassy or consulate in person or through a representative with a power of attorney “notarized in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation”.

For Russian citizens under the age of 18 or people recognized as incapable, it is proposed to submit notifications to their legal representatives.

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes that Russians should also submit notifications if they lose their citizenship, residence permit or other documents confirming the right to reside in another country.

If the draft order is approved, it will come into force on October 26, 2023. It is currently undergoing public discussion.

Since 2014, Russian authorities have obliged Russian citizens who hold citizenship of other countries or other documents giving the right to permanently live abroad to notify the state. Notifications in person or by mail must be submitted to the Russian Interior Ministry, but only at the place of residence, stay or location on the territory of Russia. Russians living abroad are exempt from this obligation.

At the same time, in August 2014, Article 380.2 appeared in the Criminal Code, which penalizes late notification of obtaining a residence permit or second citizenship. The maximum penalty is 400 hours of executive labor. Cases have already been brought against politician Leonid Gozman and activist Pyotr Verzilov under this article.

After the outbreak of war and mobilization, Russia experienced the largest wave of emigration after the collapse of the Soviet Union – the country, according to various estimates, left from 600,000 to 1 million people. Half of them have already returned, said Maxim Oreshkin, assistant to the “president of the Russian Federation” at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June. According to him, this is indicated by banking statistics – Russians have started using their Russian cards again, most of which do not work abroad.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, for his part, said that his task is to bring pessimistic Russians back to the country. “All the pessimists have left, only optimists are left. <…> The KPI is for the pessimists to return”, he said.

The Kremlin called for a “fight” for the citizens who left Russia, as they could have left for various reasons. Vladimir Putin called the departure of citizens to other countries “rather positive”. “This process will be an element of Russia’s additional connection with those countries with which we are already developing economic and humanitarian contacts”, Putin explained.


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