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Putin Signs New Law, Foreigners to Prove Russian Proficiency

Published: April 22, 2014 (Issue # 1806)



  • The Russian language requirement is expected to apply primariy to manual laborers from Central Asia.
    Photo: A. Astakhova for Vedomosti

President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that requires foreigners to prove their ability to speak Russian while also giving his seal of approval to a separate bill that will make it easier to grant citizenship to Russian-speakers in former Soviet states.

The new immigration rules for foreign citizens, published Monday on the Kremlin's website, make it compulsory for anyone applying for a Russian work or residency permit to submit a certificate from an accredited institution, demonstrating their knowledge of the country's language, history and its basic legal framework.

Those under 18 years old, over 60 and students at accredited institutions, as well as qualified foreign specialists and their families will also be exempt from the new rules, set to go into force on Jan. 1, 2015.

Foreign residents with education documents stemming from 1991 or earlier from former Soviet countries where Russian language was a compulsory subject in schools have also been exempted from the exam.

The exemptions to the bill suggest that it is mostly aimed at immigrants from Central Asia, who come to major cities like Moscow to perform manual labor work and are perceived as having a limited grasp of Russian.

Those immigrants who received their permits before Jan. 1, 2015 will have to submit the necessary documentation when renewing their existing permits.

The tightening of the requirements for potential immigrants was signed into law alongside a separate pack of legal amendments that makes it simpler for Russian speakers in former Soviet Union countries to acquire Russian citizenship, Reuters reported.

That bill has been interpreted as a way to facilitate granting citizenship to residents in eastern Ukraine, who Russian government officials have said are under threat from the new central government in Kiev.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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