SOCHI, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday supported the Federal Migration Service’s proposal that all foreign nationals only be allowed to enter Russia on international passports, but said the new procedure could not be introduced before 2015.
Federal Migration Service Director Konstantin Romodanovsky suggested that new rules be enforced in six months, but Putin said that “six months is not enough time for our foreign partners to issue international travel passports to their citizens.”
He said January 1, 2015, is a realistic timeframe for the introduction of the new procedure.
Putin stressed, however, that the new regulations will not apply to citizens of the Customs Union, i.e., Kazakhstan and Belarus.
In his State of the Nation address in December, Putin called for an end to the practice of allowing citizens from post-Soviet republics to enter Russian territory on 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 Soviet Union served as an ID card, a record of place of residence 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.