The expert suggested that the situation with the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to significantly slow down the process of granting citizenship. However, it can affect migration growth — that is, the difference between the number of people who left Russia and came to live in the country.
“A change in the structure of the migration flow in the near future could be this: fewer people will come from Central Asian countries, the Transcaucasus, and more from Ukraine, on the contrary,” Mkrtchyan suggested. “This has already happened in 2014–2016 after the annexation of Crimea, when Ukraine’s share in migration growth reached 60–65%.”
DNR and LNR factor
The bulk of people who have received Russian citizenship are citizens of Ukraine. From the beginning of 2016 to the first quarter of 2020, their share among recipients of Russian passports amounted to 46.6%, or 676.8 thousand people.
The second largest group are natives of Kazakhstan (12.9%), followed by Tajikistan (10%), Armenia (7.2%), Uzbekistan (6.3%), Moldova (4.8%), Azerbaijan (3, 4%), Kyrgyzstan (2.7%), then a group of stateless persons (2.4%). Closing the top ten citizens of Belarus (1.3%).
In 2019, there was a sharp increase in obtaining Russian citizenship among immigrants from Ukraine – their share immediately doubled to 60%, and in the first quarter of 2020 reached 67% – 108.5 thousand Ukrainian citizens received Russian passports. This jump is due to the fact that last summer the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs began massively granting citizenship to people from the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics. Earlier, a decree on simplifying the procedure for granting Russian citizenship to residents of the DPR and LPR was signed by President Vladimir Putin. The right to simplified acquisition of Russian citizenship is granted “for humanitarian purposes to protect the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.”
Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman said that Kiev will not recognize Russian passports issued to residents of the LPR and DPR.
The former deputy director of the Federal Migration Service (was included in the Ministry of Internal Affairs), a specialist in migration law, Vyacheslav Postavnin, recalled that according to the Concept of State Migration Policy for 2019–2025, it is planned to attract 5–10 million people. “Last year, this trend began to increase the number of people receiving citizenship due to the difficult demographic situation,” he said. “Before that, around 200-300 thousand citizenships were issued per year.”