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Russian parliament adopts bill allowing foreign passport confiscation of military personnel

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 23, 2023 5:28 PM 2 min read
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Russia's State Duma adopted a bill on May 23 that grants authorities the power in certain cases to confiscate Russian citizens' foreign passports or declare them invalid, according to a press release on the State Duma's website.

Russian citizens have internal passports, which are used for travel or identification purposes within Russian territory, and foreign passports that allow them to travel abroad.

According to the press release, the law provides for the establishment of a nationwide registry for issued foreign passports but also ones declared invalid. Russian citizens can allegedly file a dispute if their foreign passport is declared invalid.

Independent Russian media outlet Novaya Gazeta outlined some of the pretenses for having to surrender foreign passports, including when a Russian citizen concludes an employment contract with an institution where they had access to important information or state secrets; when a Russian citizen works in the federal security service or within five years of their dismissal from it; and when a Russian citizen is called up for military service or referred to some alternate civilian service.

Other examples include when a Russian citizen is declared bankrupt, serving a sentence for alleged crimes committed, or has failed to fulfill obligations imposed on them by a Russian court.

The courts, the Investigative Committee, and the customs service are among the agencies that can declare a Russian citizen must temporarily surrender their foreign passport, Novaya Gazeta wrote.

If a Russian citizen refuses to surrender their foreign passport, the document will subsequently be declared invalid.

The bill still requires the approval of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's Senate. If it is approved, it will go on to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for final approval and then go into effect 180 days later.  

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