Russia does not need Russians

The program of voluntary resettlement of citizens from the former Soviet Union is clearly stalling. Over the entire period of its existence very few took the opportunity to move to their historical homeland. One of the main reasons is problems with citizenship that takes years to obtain.

What are the challenges faced by immigrants? Those who undergo this procedure complain about the endless red tape, that the Federal Migration Service (FMS) requires increasingly more documents that are not always possible to get. Many face difficulties when translating their documents from one of the national languages ​​into Russian, as well as the fact that it is not all that easy to make everything legally correct.

While we are enjoying the standard phrases about how the Russians are welcomed in their historic homeland and how this program improves the demographics, these Russians often think of moving to other countries. "In order to obtain Russian citizenship, a person must lose at least a year of their life to retrieve information, gather all necessary papers, stand in lines, and support themselves financially in the process. The Russians should have a separate room in the FMS. Now we have to watch Southerners taking their folders in the FMS office right in front of us, while the Slavs are freezing in the cold. "

"Have we, the Russians, deserved such treatment? The Motherland meets us with humiliation, rudeness, lack of professionalism of the FMS workers, meaningless, endless lines for each piece of paper. In every way you are shown that you are nobody, a slave! We hear "We did not invite you here!" My son was eager to move to Russia, and after this reception he is asking, "Mom, can we go to America instead? "

"Being a Russian, I am in the same position as people from the republics of the Caucasus, Central Asia, and even the Afghans. We are all equal before the Russian law that requires waiting eight years to complete the acquisition of citizenship."

Some speak to the fact that for those who are willing to fork out, the back door opens and then all the problems are solved. It seems that such horrible conditions are created deliberately, in order to force people to pay a bribe.

FMS employees often recognize the problem and the fact that they often simply cannot cope with the influx of visitors.
In the West things are different. It is believed that Israel and Germany have the most advanced legislation for working with compatriots and their descendants. The latter gathers "its own" around the world, from the republics of the former Soviet Union to South Africa and Latin America.

As for Israel, one does not have to be a full-blooded Jew to obtain Israeli citizenship. The total number of returning immigrants is in the millions, many of them have moved here because of the Jewish religion. The state itself is actively supporting this program. However, in Russia the state of affairs is different. Experts commented on the situation for Pravda.Ru:

Alexandra Dokuchaeva, director of the Institute of CIS Diaspora: "The  situation in this regard is really depressing and it is very, very difficult to obtain Russian citizenship. There are too many bureaucratic barriers in the way. I know many cases where people have been waiting for citizenship for 10-15 years, and all in vain. Moreover, all attempts to simplify their lives fail. MPs Zatulin and Pligin in the State Duma repeatedly offered amendments to simplify the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for ethnic Russians, but they are up in the air. Why? The conclusion is obvious. Does Russia needs Russians with such an approach? The authorities benefit from not accepting Russians who will have to be provided with certain social security, pensions, etc. It is more convenient to have guest workers who do not have any rights and are willing to endure anything just to get work. "

Konstantin Zatulin, a member of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs and Relations with Compatriots: "I can tell you that the system is so complex that it is extremely hard to overcome not only for an ordinary person who had come from far away, but even a deputy of the State Duma like me. The fact is that since the times of the Soviet Union, our political elite has been confused with regard to the national issue and national relations. On the one hand, it is taught that it is necessary to pay attention to the rights of small nations and peoples of the Caucasus, but at the same time it mistakenly believes that the major nation of Russia - the Russian people - does not have any special interests and objectives. And this is the main contradiction of their policies - the national interests of the Russian people are ignored and sacrificed in favor of the nation-wide ones.

Meanwhile, for Russians the existence of Russia is a major achievement. It is no accident that now organizations that are in some way favor the creation of a purely Russian state became much stronger. Among them there are those that simply speculate on the subject, and those who are looking for a real way out of this situation.

Many are really dissatisfied with the situation in which "all are equal, but some are more equal than others." Often even in terms of access to the state budget and, as a consequence, the distribution of funds per capita, there is no equal treatment. We often see that some of the national republics have a distinct advantage over other regions.    

As for the problem of citizenship documents and dealing with the FMS, here, on the one hand, we see underestimation of the problem as a whole, and on the other - an obvious corruption scheme. As a result, in practice, it often turns out that people from the Caucasus republics are able to maneuver much easier to resolve this issue than ethnic Russians who often try to do everything by the law and as a result fall into a bureaucratic trap. In practice we see Russians standing in the FMS lines to obtain documents.

I am not saying that we should legally prescribe pre-emptive rights for Russians to acquire citizenship. But why can't we simplify the process for them? It just needs to be done.

I managed to push some amendments when editing the generally unsuccessful law on compatriots, but in the new edition of the law they simply do not work.

It is impossible to ignore such an obstacle as the "scissors" between the law on compatriots and the Citizenship Law which effectively eliminate each other.
Before the end of my mandate I will introduce amendments designed to simplify obtaining of Russian citizenship by the Russians.

To do this, I have to convince the government commission. It will have to be done in a delicate manner, so as not to cause jealousy from representatives of certain forces and to avoid obstacles. I would very much like this to be done by the government and the president, but so far there has been no progress in this regard.

The obstacles in this regard caused by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be noted as well. First of all, I mean the department for our compatriots whose officials do not understand the issues that directly affect the work of the government commission. This department consists of personnel officers who are deaf to the problems of their compatriots, who do not want the substantive amendments that could make the life easier for ethnic Russian and reduce the problem to the formal issues.

For example, they created coordinating councils for our compatriots highlighting the most active of them. Everyone else, in fact, is openly told "Love Russia from the distance." It got to the point that they were vehemently against my proposals to simplify the procedures for obtaining documents. It turns out that my proposal would almost derail the work of our diplomatic missions abroad, which, they say, will result in overwork. There were other consideration stating that if we start issuing documents to foreign nationals, it can greatly complicate Russia's relations with other countries. But for some reason small compared to the great Russia countries like Poland, Romania and Hungary actively distribute their passports in neighboring countries, while we are afraid to do it! I regard it simply as an unwillingness of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials to work. " 

There something else we have to think about. The situation in the Central Asian states is far from stable. What would happen if suddenly new flows of internally displaced persons would rush to their historic homeland? What will meet them?
Sergei Balmasov



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey