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Press release, 24.05.2000


The State Duma facilitates the procedure for obtaining forced migrant status for the citizens of Russia

Today, on May 24, 2000, the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted at its first reading the law on the introduction of changes to the law “On Forced Migrants”. The draft law aims to reduce the number of socially vulnerable citizens. The law was prepared by the Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee for CIS Issues, Yabloko Deputy Vyacheslav Igrunov.

Igrunov’s draft eliminates the earlier norm of the law “On Forced Migrants” which stipulated that an individual could only apply for forced migrant status within a certain time limit. Consequently, due to the change in the law, the number of Russian citizens who are actually forced migrants but do not enjoy the corresponding status will drop considerably.

This status will entitle thousands of Russian citizens who “were persecuted for their race, religion, nationality or political beliefs” to state aid in their settlement at a new place of residence.

According to Igrunov, considering the economic situation in the country this aid will primarily influence the opportunity to register at a new residence, find a job and obtain medical assistance rather than accommodation.

The draft law concerns about 25% of all Russian citizens applying to the Federal Migration Service; experience has indicated that they are primarily elderly, handicapped and illiterate people. The draft does not refer to the civilians who left Chechnya during the Second War in Chechnya, as residence in the combatant area does not envisage receipt of this status. The Yabloko faction plans to make an amendment here.

The draft was supported by 245 deputies of the State Duma; only 1.2% and 6.5% of deputies from the pro-governmental factions “Unity” and “People’s Deputy” respectively voted for it.

At present 900,000 forced migrants are officially registered in the Russian Federation.