Vladimir Zelensky responded to Russia’s decision to issue passports to citizens of Ukraine under a simplified scheme, voiced on the eve of Vladimir Putin, saying that it is unlikely that many Ukrainians will want it.
“I would not advise the Russian authorities to waste time trying to seduce Ukrainian citizens with Russian passports,” Zelensky wrote on Facebook. He also announced that Ukraine will protect, grant asylum and Ukrainian citizenship to all” who are ready to fight for freedom”.
We will remind, on April 24, Putin signed a decree on a simplified procedure for obtaining Russian passports to the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk national republics. According to the President, this was done exclusively for humanitarian reasons — to protect the rights and freedoms of people from the republics of Donbass, which Kiev left in complete isolation.
And last Saturday, Putin at a press conference in China said that in the future Moscow may extend the simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship to all citizens of Ukraine.
“We are not only people who live in the LPR or DPR, provide a way to obtain our citizenship. We generally think about how to provide a simplified procedure to citizens of Ukraine, our citizenship,” he said. In the West and Ukraine immediately criticized the decree of the Russian President, calling it “part of the occupation plan.” Putin expressed surprise at such a negative reaction, Recalling that the same scheme with the issuance of passports practiced by many States, including Hungary or Romania.
He also stressed that Moscow has no desire to create problems for the Ukrainian authorities, but the human rights situation in the Donbas is beyond acceptable limits.
It is clear that talks about the humanitarian problem do not apply to the residents of Ukraine. Then how to understand the statement of intention to issue passports of the Russian Federation to all wishing gromadyanam? “Trolling” the power of the Maidan? And how many Ukrainians would really want to get a Russian passport if they had such an opportunity? Recall that under Ukrainian law, dual citizenship is prohibited.
— In the Russian establishment, there are many supporters of the broad involvement of citizens of Ukraine in the country, — reminds political scientist, head of the project “Open Analytics” Roman Travin.
— Many scientists and experts dealing with the issues of demography and migration, also consider it useful to simplify the acquisition of citizenship to Ukrainians, so you can solve a number of problems facing the country. This issue has been raised more than once at the highest level before.
So, Vladimir Putin within the “direct line” even gave instructions to the heads of a number of departments to develop specific proposals in this direction. Another thing is that there was no noticeable progress. So, this is not the first statement of this kind. It would not be anything remarkable this time, if not for the recent decision on the residents of the DPR and LPR. It was because of him that Putin’s words caused such close attention. Yes, this is partly an element of pressure on Kiev, but still, in General, this is a move that has been discussed for years, in a much broader context than just pressure on the Ukrainian authorities.
“SP”: — How it can look in practice? And if the Westerners, whose attitude to Russia is well known, also want to get Russian passports?
— The mechanism, if a fundamental decision is made, is not so difficult to develop. The experience is already there. Plus, after the decision on the residents of Donbass, there will be an additional one. As for the residents of Western Ukraine, I do not see a special problem here. On the contrary, if we talk about those who actually move to Russia, in the long term there is no fundamental difference between them and the inhabitants of the South and the East. Children, and even grandchildren, and those and others will be fully integrated into Russian society.
To confirm this thesis, it is enough to look at the Russians, at least in the second generation, with Ukrainian surnames, who live in Russia, for example, only among the governors of Russian regions there are several.
“SP”: — If suddenly it was realized, how many residents of Ukraine would try to get citizenship, and what obstacles would be repaired by Kiev?
— I think we’re talking millions. There will be practically no levers of influence on those who want to leave the country if there is no need for official confirmation of renunciation of citizenship by the Ukrainian state. As for those who want to keep two passports and live in Ukraine, they can be subject to some sanctions if it comes up, but there are not many opportunities for obstacles. If a person really wants to get a Russian passport, and if the Russian state gives him such an opportunity, Ukraine is unlikely to somehow be able to really interfere.
“SP”: — As you know, many residents of other regions, who came to Donbass, have passports of the republics. Is it justified to issue citizenship to them only on the basis of a passport, because they are not Donbass?
— In the logic of our conversation today — Yes, once all the same in the future discussed the simplification of obtaining citizenship for all. Well, in General, from the point of view of the Russian Federation, it is quite logical, because of those who came in recent years in Donbass — the vast majority of people loyal to Russia.
“SP”: — How much such actions can affect the new Ukrainian government? Won’t they make it even more anti-Russian?
— Some influence will have, it is still an unfriendly step, from the point of view of Ukraine, but when Kiev needs, “intrigues” and “the Kremlin’s hand” are still or are invented. Moreover, the President-elect of Ukraine is hardly planning a turn towards Moscow.
According to the political analyst of the Foundation for the development of civil society institutions “people’s Diplomacy” Yevgeny Valyaev, initiatives to simplify the acquisition of Russian citizenship in the Ukrainian direction today look even a little late.
— Up to a certain point, the Russian side had time to flexibly regulate migration legislation so that residents of the people’s republics of Donbass could be on the territory of the Russian Federation, as well as get a job here, having only documents issued in the LPR and DPR. But it was clear that this was a transitional stage to something from a legislative point of view more thorough. And getting Russian citizenship by residents of the DPR and LPR is a natural result of this process.
The next situation that requires legislative regulation is Ukrainian citizens of other regions of Ukraine, who actively entered Russia after 2014, who settled in Russia, worked here, studied and started families. During this time, many of them have already received various official statuses — this is Russian citizenship, and a temporary residence permit, and a residence permit. We are talking about millions of Ukrainian citizens who have shown that they are ready to link their fate with Russia, becoming Russian citizens. Therefore, we are talking, first of all, about such people — who are already on the way to Russian citizenship. The Russian President’s initiatives are aimed at facilitating procedures for them. No one will massively distribute Russian citizenship to Ukrainian citizens living today on the territory of Ukraine and not seeking to move to Russia. It doesn’t make any sense.
In favor of the liberalization initiatives of obtaining Russian citizenship by residents of the DNI, LC, and Ukraine and speak a variety of sociological research. For example, since 2002, Russia has recorded an increase in migrant phobia among the population. Anti-migration presets can be found in 2/3 of the Russian population.
Opponents of mass labor migration Express negative opinions about visitors from Transcaucasia and Central Asia. But this does not affect visitors from Ukraine and Belarus. There is a well-established positive attitude towards the culturally close peoples of these countries. Therefore, the issuance of citizenship to these categories of foreigners will not be rejected by Russian society. This is also an important aspect that is taken into account in the Kremlin when they come out with such an initiative.
“SP”: — But if there are “reefs”?
— The liberalization of citizenship is not always a positive process. We must be very careful not to lower the status and authority of the institution of citizenship by our actions. In Russia with this there are excesses. They are connected with those areas where the issuance of citizenship becomes the regulator of migration policy. Not in all cases, it is necessary to give foreign citizens Russian citizenship. Especially when this process is aimed only at a clearer definition of people loyal to Russia.
Other instruments should be developed in this direction. For example, to give a foreigner not citizenship, but to simplify the obtaining of a residence permit. In General, in Russia it is necessary to raise the authority of the status of a residence permit – it is necessary to make it an effective and independent format of interaction with foreigners who want to stay for a long time — to live and work — in Russia. Russia needs to develop its own green card format. To date, the format of the residence permit is considered only as a transitional stage to citizenship.
The next challenge is to work with a loyal Russian audience living in the territories of unrecognized States. Residents of Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the DPR and the LPR, who do not seek to move to Russia, do not necessarily have to issue Russian citizenship. In this direction, an initiative similar to the “map of the pole”has long been suggested. It is necessary to develop an official document that would confirm the loyalty of a foreigner to Russia, and which would give such a person a number of rights as a non-citizen character, and real rights in the form of early obtaining the status of a residence permit when moving to Russia or early participation in the program of resettlement of compatriots.
If the Ukrainian nationalism and hatred of Russia among Ukrainians really as strong as they say in Ukrainian politics, no initiative of Russia on the distribution of their passports do not have anyone to scare. The reaction of Ukrainian politicians says the opposite — that among Ukrainians there are people who retain Russian identity and loyalty to Russia.
The reaction of Vladimir Zelensky still not even legally executed the initiative of Vladimir Putin seems more emotional than thought-out and constructive. First, Zelensky tries to copy trump’s style, communicating with the audience through social networks. Secondly, he, again imitating Trump, does it with a high degree of emotionality.
But it’s one thing when trump emotionally and even provocatively preaches through Twitter, because behind him is the authority and power of American statehood and quite another thing when emotional assessments come from Zelensky, who is not the strongest world power.
However, Zelensky believes very much in his approaches to the information space, because he won the elections using the most modern digital tools, ranging from standard targeted advertising to the use of artificial intelligence and Big Data tools in these processes. But what is suitable for working with its audience and for election campaigns, it does not necessarily bring results in real political work and in building interstate contacts.