Russia’s State Duma ratified today the agreement on simplifying dual citizenship with occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia. The document will require approval by the Federation Council before it goes to President Vladimir Putin for his final signature.
Georgia sees the deal as Russia’s “continuation of the policy of unlawful occupation and de-facto annexation.”
The agreement allows South Ossetians to obtain Russian citizenship without giving up their passports. The Russian citizens will likewise enjoy the same opportunity to apply for Tskhinvali papers.
Per the deal, South Ossetians over 18 will be able to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified manner, while children under 14 will receive the same citizenship as their parents. Until a kid reaches 18, their parents will be able to choose their citizenship by written application.
Besides, the deal allows dual citizens to enjoy rights to social security, education, and medical care as per the legislation of their permanent residence. But also, Tskhinvali or Moscow can opt to provide these benefits to a dual citizen even if the person resides in the territory of the other party.
The draft agreement allows persons with dual citizenship to do the military service in a place of permanent residence at the time of conscription and exempts those with completed military service in one party from drafting in the other.
The ratification coincides with the forthcoming referendum on the Russian annexation in Tskhinvali, slated for July 17 by outcoming South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov.
Presenting the agreement for ratification to Russian lawmakers today, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said Moscow will take a whole set of factors, including “the current geopolitical situation, the timeliness, and expediency of the decision right today” before taking the final decision on annexation.
Putin approved the draft agreement on dual citizenship on August 4, 2021, after which occupied Tskhinvali’s top diplomat Dmitry Medoev and Moscow’s envoy to the region Marat Kulakhmetov signed the deal in September. In March, Putin submitted it for ratification to the State Duma.
- Russian Deputy FM on S. Ossetian Referendum
- S. Ossetia: Russian Annexation Referendum Slated for July 17
- List of Russian Cheerleaders of Possible Annexation