MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia could introduce tighter passport regulations for citizens of former Soviet states crossing Russia’s borders already this year, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Sunday.
Rogozin, who chairs Russia’s State Border Commission, said Russia could soon allow the citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent states to enter the country only if they produce a valid foreign passport.
“I think in the near future we need to stop the entry to Russia on the documents which are beyond identification,” Rogozin said.
In his state of the nation address in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an end to the practice of allowing CIS citizens to enter the Russian territory with only their national (internal) passports by no later than 2015, in a bid to balance Russia’s need for more foreign workers with increasing public concern over illegal migration.
Most former Soviet republics, including Russia, retain the internal passport, which in the USSR functioned as an ID card, and record of place of registration and other important information.
Under current agreements, Russia allows visa-free entrance to national passport holders from the CIS countries, including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Putin offered concessions, however, for states that join the Customs Union, the recently-formed free-trade zone of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.