Turkmenian Leadership Unilaterally Reduces Term of Double Citizenship Agreement

Russia's Foreign Ministry is greatly concerned over the unilateral moves made by Turkmenistan, which reduced the terms of the agreement on dual citizenship, diplomatic sources in Moscow said on Friday.

President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov signed a decree on Tuesday, according to which persons having dual citizenship of Turkmenistan and Russia and residing permanently in Turkmenistan must report within two months which of the two citizenships they choose.

Those who fail to report their decision, the decree says, will be regarded as citizens of Turkmenistan, while those who reside permanently outside the country and have not announced their decision at the consular establishments of the republic will be deprived of Turkmenian citizenship.

During Niyazov's recent Moscow visit a protocol was signed terminating the action of the agreement between Turkmenistan and Russia on double citizenship. This agreement, concluded in 1993, gave ethnic Russians and other citizens of the former USSR an opportunity to receive Russian citizenship in addition to the Turkmenian one.

The protocol may come into force only starting from "the date of the last written notification that both sides have carried out appropriate procedures."

According to non-official information, at present about 100,000 persons having double citizenship now live in Turkmenistan, 90 percent of them are Russians. It has been impossible to obtain more precise data, because not all residents of the republic having Russian citizenship have been registered at the consulates.

The procedure of entry into the republic and exist from it, and also a stay there, established for foreign citizens, will have to be observed during two months by persons having double citizenship and living outside Turkmenistan. Those who live in the republic will have to get exit visas. Otherwise they may not be let out of the country.

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Author`s name Editorial Team