No language test for Belarusians: MPs ease access to Russian citizenship

The Russian State Duma has passed a law easing the process of obtaining Russian citizenship by, among others, Belarusian nationals, news agency Interfax reports.

The draft bill was developed by the Russian government. In accordance with the document, the citizens of Belarus and Ukraine will be exempted from appearing before the commission to confirm their knowledge of the Russian language. Earlier, passing such an interview was a necessary step to being admitted into Russian citizenship.

The number of the foreign residents who seek to being admitted into Russian citizenship is constantly growing, Valentina Kazakova, Head of the Migration Department of Russia’s Interior Ministry, said in late January.

“I do not think Belarusians’ outflow to Russia will grow; there were no obstacles to our citizens’ entering Russian labour market [before adopting the law]. Moreover, there are even no obstacles to [Belarusians’] going into higher education in the Russian Federation for free. Therefore, the new development over the barriers will not have any impact on the situation,” sociologist Alena Artsyomenka told

In her opinion, the enactment might have been part of the Kremlin’s jockeying for the leadership in the region.

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