By Our Reporter
On 24 April Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the introduction of simplified citizenship of Russia for persons permanently residing in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. This decree was adopted in accordance with articles 14 and 29 of the Federal law “On citizenship of the Russian Federation”, which provide the possibility of obtaining citizenship of the Russian Federation in a simplified manner without renouncing citizenship of Ukraine.
In a press release, it is stated that in the context of the protracted conflict in the South-East of Ukraine there is an extremely difficult situation. Official Kiev continues to fight against residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, calling them “terrorists”, despite the fact that they did not commit terrorist acts and did not take hostages. In fact, the Ukrainian army is conducting a punitive operation in the South-Eastern regions of the country, during which many Ukrainians died and continue to die. Contrary to existing agreements, a complete and comprehensive ceasefire has not yet been achieved. Ukraine is actually ignoring the Minsk agreements, refusing a civilized solution to the problem. The socio-economic blockade of Donetsk and Lugansk regions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities in 2015, as well as the measures taken in March 2017 to tighten it, contributes to the aggravation of the situation.
According to the UN Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, by the end of 2018, the number of people affected by the conflict in the South-East of Ukraine reached 5.4 million people, of which 3.5 million people need humanitarian assistance. The population of Donetsk and Lugansk regions is under constant threat to life and health. In fact, the inhabitants of these regions are deprived of the opportunity to realize human and civil rights. In fact, Kiev has put them in the position of stateless persons in the territory of its state. Obtaining Russian citizenship is perceived by the population of Donetsk and Lugansk regions as the only opportunity to ensure their linguistic and cultural rights, fundamental human rights, which are systematically violated by the Ukrainian authorities. At the same time, not only residents of these regions, but also other “dissenters” with the ruling regime in the country are persecuted by Kiev.
A conscious rejection of the holding in 2019 Presidential Elections in Ukraine on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions clearly demonstrated the course of the Ukrainian authorities on the exclusion of inhabitants of these regions from the political process. It is otherwise impossible to explain why Ukrainian citizens living in these areas were deprived of the opportunity to exercise their key political rights – the right to elect and be elected. Kiev actually deprived of full citizenship of the Ukrainians living in Donetsk and Lugansk areas.
The alienation of about three million Ukrainian voters from participation in the Presidential Elections of Ukraine in 2019 was the culmination of Kiev’s policy of isolating the South-Eastern regions of the country and the final confirmation of its complete reluctance to integrate residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions into the Ukrainian state.
Due to the difficult humanitarian situation from April 2014 to April 2019, more than 900 thousand citizens of Ukraine living in the South-East of the country entered and did not return to the territory of Russia. More than 334 thousand citizens of Ukraine applied for the acquisition of Russian citizenship during this period. These indicators show the high demand for Russian citizenship among the residents of the South-East of Ukraine, who were put by Kiev in unbearable living conditions.
The acquisition of Russian citizenship will give them the opportunity to receive additional measures of social support, access to medical and educational services. For many of them it is a matter of survival. In this regard, the decision of the President of Russia to introduce a simplified procedure for applying for Russian citizenship for residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions is humanitarian in nature. It is important to note that Moscow did not create a new precedent by adopting the decree. Since 2009, Romania provides its citizenship to certain categories of citizens of Ukraine, Hungary is also actively formalizing citizenship to their compatriots. At the same time, the extension of the simplified procedure for obtaining citizenship to persons permanently residing in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine does not contradict the Minsk agreements, to which Russia continues to call on all parties involved.