Language exams could soon become obligatory for people coming to work in Russia.
The law was drafted by the members of the United Russia party and will mostly effect immigrants involved in public service and trade.
In order to receive a work permit, the immigrants will have either to present a diploma stating that they studied the Russian language at school or sit an exam at a special center – either in their native countries or in Russia.
At least 20 per cent of immigrants (172,000 people) lack a good command of Russian according to Federal Migration Service statistics.
Lawmakers say this will give migrants a better chance of integrating into Russian society.
“The main thing Russian people have against migrants is that they speak their native language in Russia – which is rude, by the way,” Igor Kuznetskov, senior researcher at Russian Academy of Sciences, told RT. “If migrants don’t know Russian, they have no choice but to form separate groups and choose a leader who will speak for them. They are dependant, completely helpless, and cannot communicate with the local authorities or their employers.”
Human rights activists, meanwhile, point out that the draft law might breed corruption instead of solutions.
“Immigrants are busy – they are working, and working hard,” Gavkhar Dzhuraeva, head of the Immigration and Law center told Kommersant newspaper. “They don’t have time to attend language courses. Instead, they would have to buy these certificates to get work permits.”
Free culture shots
Meanwhile, Moscow’s culture department is introducing one day of each month when you can get into any of the capital’s major museums free of change.
On the third Sunday of each month, museum entry will be free for all visitors.
The scheme aims to increase museum attendance to 400,000 on these days. The revenue lost as a result will be recouped by the city’s budget.
A special program of the available cultural events on these days will be published.
Similar schemes are already common throughout Europe. Paris, for example, has free museum entry on the first Sunday of each month.