Turkmenia's Residents to Decide on Their Citizenship over Two-Month Period

President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan signed a decree April 22, ordering all persons with Turkmen and Russian citizenship, who permanently reside in Turkmenistan, to choose the country of their citizenship over a two-month period.

Those, who don't inform the authorities about their decision, shall be considered Turkmen citizens, the presidential decree reads in part. Meanwhile those, who permanently reside outside Turkmenistan, and who have failed to inform republican consulates about their decision, shall be deprived of their Turkmen citizenship.

A protocol terminating the 1993-vintage Turkmen-Russian dual-citizenship agreement was signed during Niyazov's recent Moscow visit. The afore-said agreement enabled ethnic Russians, as well as other former Soviet citizens, to obtain Turkmen and Russian citizenship alike.

This protocol can enter into force only since the date of the latest written notification about compliance with all essential intra-state procedures by the parties concerned.

According to unofficial estimates, Turkmenistan now has about 100,000 people with dual citizenship; by the way, Russian nationals account for 90 percent of the grand total. Any more accurate statistics are unavailable because far from all republican residents boasting Russian citizenship have registered with consulates.

Those "dual citizens" residing outside Turkmenistan shall have to abide by well-nigh the same exit-entry procedures, as those being stipulated for foreign citizens, over a two-month period. The same is true of their stay in the country. Those, who live in Turkmenistan, would be expected to apply for exit visas because they might otherwise be prevented from leaving the country.