On Wednesday, July 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree expanding the number of Ukrainians who can apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified mode. A document published on the official portal of legal information states that from now on this practice applies to everyone who lived in the Donetsk and Lugansk region of Ukraine prior to the events of 2014.

Until now, only those who lived in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics could use this opportunity.

In the previous version of the April decree it was stated that residents of “certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine” can count on obtaining a Russian passport in a simplified manner. In the new edition, the clarification of "certain areas" has been removed.

Also, according to the new wording, to apply for admission to the citizenship of the Russian Federation in a simplified procedure, a document “confirming permanent residence in the territories of the Donetsk or Lugansk region of Ukraine as of April 7, 2014 and April 27, 2014, respectively,” is needed.

We are talking, in particular, about the documents that were issued by "the bodies actually operating in the territories of certain regions of these areas." It is noted that the provision of papers is not required if the necessary information is contained in the identity document.

The presidential decree came into force on the date of signing.

“I will see what adjustments need to be made”

Note that the question of the possible expansion of the April law was asked during the Straight Line with Vladimir Putin. The Lyulkovich family, who fled from Dzerzhinsk (Donetsk region) to Naberezhnye Chelny (Tatarstan) in 2014, told the president about the existing problem.

During the direct line, the refugees explained that they could not take advantage of the simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship, since Dzerzhinsk is under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and is not part of the DPR.

Putin promised to resolve the issue of this family, and also declared his readiness to make additional changes to the legislation in order to simplify the process of obtaining Russian passports by citizens of Ukraine as much as possible.

The new decree of the Russian president is a positive step that will provide residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions with the opportunity to receive education, work, social package and security. This point of view in a conversation with RT was expressed by the first deputy chairman of the committee on international affairs of the Federation Council, Vladimir Dzhabarov.

“We do not want our spiritual connection to be lost. It is from these goals that such a decree was signed by the president so that they feel that we are one people, ”said the senator.

According to him, if the policy of Kiev in relation to its territories does not change, the situation may worsen even more and there will be few people willing to return to Ukraine.

The parliamentarian also expressed the hope that the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, expects to get a majority in the Rada to begin dictating his political will.

“But if he continues the Poroshenko policy in matters of the DPR and LPR, then Ukraine will face tough times,” concluded Dzhabarov.

In turn, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Viktor Vodolatsky noted that the new decree meets the requirements of protecting the population of Ukraine, which is located in the Russian Federation. Today, they have the same right to obtain citizenship of the Russian Federation in a simplified manner, the source said.

“Considering that they have been living on the territory of Russia for almost five years, they work, their children were born, their parents found themselves in a slightly deprived situation. Here, all the norms of protection of citizens who have fallen into a difficult life situation have been observed, ”said the parliamentarian.

According to him, many residents of Ukraine have chosen that for them "the best way is to obtain Russian citizenship."

Humanitarian issue

Recall, on April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, thanks to which residents of the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass had the opportunity to receive a Russian passport.

“To establish that persons permanently residing in the territories of certain regions of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine have the right to apply for admission to citizenship of the Russian Federation in a simplified manner in accordance with paragraph 8 of Article 14 of the Federal Law of May 31, 2002 No. 62-FZ "On the citizenship of the Russian Federation", - stated in the text of the document.

After signing the law, the president explained that Moscow has no desire to create problems for Kiev. However, he noted that it is impossible to tolerate a situation in which residents of the republics of Donbass were denied civil rights.

“They cannot move normally, cannot realize their most elementary needs and realize their elementary rights. This is a purely humanitarian question, ”Putin explained.

The Ukrainian side negatively responded to the initiative of Moscow. Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine called the incident “banditry” and called for “to pull out all labor resources” from the territory of Donbass.

The Ukrainian government has decided not to recognize Russian documents issued to residents of Donbass. Similar intentions were discussed in the European Council. In the US, Russia was accused of "increasing the attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Commenting on the negative reaction of other countries to the decision of Moscow to provide passports to residents of the LC and the DPR, Putin stated that this is a common world practice. As an example, the Russian leader cited Poland, Hungary and Romania.

“In this regard, I have a question: what is the Russians living in Ukraine worse than Romanians, Poles or Hungarians? Or the Ukrainians living there, but feeling their inextricable link with Russia due to various circumstances ... I do not see anything unusual here, ”the president noted.

He doubted that Russia has reasons not to act in this way.

“Moreover, the people living in the territories of the Donetsk Republic or the Lugansk Republic are in a much more difficult situation than the Poles, Romanians or Hungarians in Ukraine. Because they are deprived of very many things, deprived of elementary human rights, ”said Putin.

RT Project

Proposals to provide an opportunity to use the simplified procedure for obtaining citizenship for residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions were previously heard in the media, by human rights organizations and from State Duma deputies.

In particular, in April 2019, the head of the Russia Today channel Margarita Simonyan spoke in the State Duma with a request to simplify the procedure for obtaining citizenship for Russian-speaking people.

Simonyan also spoke about the RT project titled #OneOneOdin, under which the TV channel together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, including successfully helping compatriots who had problems with obtaining Russian citizenship.

As part of the project, RT helped to obtain Russian citizenship of 83-year-old Claudia Maltseva. The woman survived the blockade of Leningrad, in the late 1980s she moved to the Donbass, and after the start of the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine, her relatives took her to Moscow. At first she was placed in a general line, despite the possibility of obtaining citizenship under a simplified scheme. But after a request from RT, the Interior Ministry took the situation under control and Maltseva was given a passport.

RT also assisted in obtaining a passport of the Russian Federation to lieutenant colonel of the Soviet army Vyacheslav Zhuk. In 2015, a man was arrested by the Ukrainian authorities for transferring information about the sorties of Ukrainian assault aircraft to the militias of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

He was sentenced to five years in prison, but he was then transferred to the authorities of the DPR as part of an exchange of prisoners of war. He later moved to Russia, but the authorities did not find any grounds for obtaining his citizenship. The situation was helped to correct the intervention of RT, after which the Beetle became a citizen of the Russian Federation.