Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that simplifies the Russian citizenship procedure for Crimeans who left the peninsula before the illegal annexation in 2014 and for the Ukrainians living in Russia.
The decree – which also allows former Soviet residents living in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria to apply for fast-tracked passports – was published on the Kremlin’s official website on May 1. The statement adds that it comes into force the day it’s signed.
Earlier, on April 24, Russian president simplified the passport procedure for the residents of so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics,” a move that caused quick reaction in Ukraine with President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy branding it “an attempt to seduce Ukrainian citizens” with passports that provide the right to “be arrested for peaceful protests,” “absence of free and fair elections,” and “forgetting basic human rights exist.” Over 13,000 have died in Ukraine's Donbas region since a war broke out in 2014, fuelled by the Kremlin financially and militarily.
The decree text also mentions “foreign and stateless citizens” who became “subjects to illegal deportation from the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.” This would include the Crimean Tatars deported by the Joseph Stalin’s regime in 1944 whose deportation was recognized as illegal by the Kremlin in 2014.
The simplified procedure will also apply to Ukrainian citizens who have a residence permit or were granted a temporary asylum in Russia.
/By Džiugas Kuprevičius