Russia’s Federation Council Approves Tskhinvali Dual Citizenship Deal

Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of the parliament, ratified today the agreement on simplifying dual citizenship with occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

The law on ratification shall now be signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The dual citizenship deal will come into force after the Russian Government and the Kremlin-backed authorities in Tskhinvali exchange ratification instruments.

The deal will allow South Ossetians to obtain Russian citizenship without giving up their passports. Russian citizens will also have the same opportunity to obtain Tskhinvali documents.

South Ossetians over 18 will be able to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified manner. Those under 18 will have their citizenship chosen by their parents. Also, children under 14 will be entitled to receive the same citizenship as their parents.

Dual citizens will be entitled to social security services, education, and medical benefits as per the laws of their place of permanent residence. However, both Tskhinvali and Moscow will be able to provide the said services to a dual citizen regardless of where the person resides.

The document also envisages dual citizens to do military service in their permanent residence when conscripted. Those who complete the service in one party, will be exempt from the draft in the other.

Russian State Duma, the lower house, ratified the deal on May 19.

Earlier in March, President Putin submitted the agreement for ratification some six months after Moscow and Tskhinvali signed the deal.

The Russian President initially approved the draft agreement on August 4, 2021.

After it finally comes into force, the agreement will be renewed automatically every five years unless one of the sides chooses to discontinue it.

Tbilisi sees the dual citizenship deal as Russia’s “continuation of the policy of unlawful occupation and de-facto annexation.”

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