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