When the Soviet Union was illegally broken up by the leaders of the Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991, up to 30 million Russians became refugees overnight, including those who months earlier voted in a referendum to remain part of a united Soviet Union.
Since then, Russia has enacted draconian citizenship laws which make it exceedingly difficult for Russians living in former Soviet republics, often under economically depressed and/or highly racially discriminatory conditions to apply for and receive Russian citizenship.
Now though, a new bill in the State Duma seeks to rectify these grave injustices in-line with long standing proposals from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). According to the new proposals, those of Russian background who currently live outside of Russia either as citizens of a foreign state or as refugees without official passports from any state, as has been the case for many Baltic Russians for 27 years, can now use a simple expedited process to attain the Russian passports they have deserved from an ethical and moral standpoint since 1991.
Such a programme will help Russian refugees fleeing persecution and violence in former Soviet republics including Ukraine while also allowing Russia to enlarge its workforce without the need to rely on migrants who do not speak Russian or whose cultural background is not compatible with Russian social values.
Furthermore, the bill allows those of Russian background living outside of the borders of the former USSR to have an easier path to citizenship thus allowing those of Russian background displaced by years of war and turbulence to live in Russia as a fully fledged citizen should they wish to do so.
Finally, the proposals allow for the Russian President to more easily grant citizenship to non-Russians who have nevertheless made sizeable contributions to the Russian economy, Russian society and/or Russian culture. Already, President Putin has given Russian citizenship to non-Russian celebrities who have embraced Russian culture ranging from French born actor Gérard Depardieu, American martial artist and actor Steven Seagal and American boxer Roy Jones Jr and under the new system, granting citizenship to extraordinarily talented individuals who have contributed to Russia will become both more streamlined and more frequent.
Taken in totality, the new proposals which look to be rapidly implemented will create a win-win situation that will rectify a disgraceful 27 year period of injustice against Russians, help Russia to develop its economy without surrendering its cultural characteristics and help to reward those who have dedicated their professional or personal lives to enhancing the Russian Federation.