Russian emigrants ask the West to revive the "Nansen passport"

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Russian emigrants ask the West to revive the "Nansen passport"
Russian emigrants ask the West to revive the "Nansen passport"
20 May, 19:39PoliticsPhoto: Соцсети
Emigrants from Russia are calling on the governments of their countries to issue them new "Nansen" passports instead of Russian ones, so that they no longer depend on the Russian embassy.

Ivan Zubov

It's no secret that the events in Ukraine have created a lot of problems for opposition-minded Russians, who have either been living abroad for a long time or have been forced to leave Russia in the past few months. Firstly, they were also affected by anti-Russian sanctions - the inability to use bank cards, open accounts in Western banks, difficulties in obtaining visas, and so on.

That is why, in the emigrant environment, they remembered the realities of a hundred years ago, which the citizens of the Russian Empire faced, who fled from the Bolsheviks and faced similar problems abroad. Now Russian emigrants who ended up in the EU countries want to convince the governments of the countries in which they ended up to issue them documents that would save them from the need to interact with the state bodies of the Russian Federation and would give a legal status to their further stay in the EU.

The solution to this issue depends on the possibilities of the legislation of the EU countries, and therefore members of initiative emigrant groups in different countries consult with local lawyers and deputies. For example, an initiative group in Slovakia proposes to amend the Slovak law on foreigners and allow holders of a residence permit and permanent residence in the country to obtain a "foreigner's passport".

Another common solution for the entire EU could be the revival in some form of a passport, which was named after the world-famous traveler, scientist and public figure Fridtjof Nansen. The so-called "Nansen passport" was introduced by the League of Nations in 1922, primarily for the hundreds of thousands of citizens of the former Russian Empire who fled the Bolshevik regime. These documents have become a real salvation for Russians who have lost their homeland. Thanks to such passports, a Russian emigrant was able to legally apply to the authorities of the host country, work and live in accordance with local legislation. But the certificate did not allow receiving unemployment benefits, social benefits for the poor, and entry into another country was allowed only with special permission, and there were chances that they would not be allowed back. The owners of "Nansen passports" were: Ivan Bunin, Sergei Rachmaninov, Anna Pavlova, Ilya Repin, Igor Stravinsky and many other Russian celebrities...

The main goal of the current initiative, according to its creators, is a legal status that is not tied to a foreign passport of the Russian Federation, which does not suit such emigrants in several or all parameters at once:

⁃ for security reasons: anyone who provides assistance and support to the citizens of Ukraine and opposes the special operation is potentially facing imprisonment;

⁃ for economic reasons: the expiration of a passport linked to a residence permit/permanent residence may result in the blocking of bank accounts, the impossibility of extending insurance, etc.;

⁃ for political reasons: many of the emigrants are still afraid to openly declare their position, support from the country where they found their new home will allow people to feel safer, and, therefore, to be more active in expressing their views;

⁃ for social and domestic reasons: some of the emigrants faced hostility from others because of their "passport affiliation";

The participants in this initiative expect to convince not only the governments of the countries in which they live, but the European Parliament as a whole.

Political scientist Abbas Gallyamov writes about this:

“As far as I understand, this is not so much a political as a human rights story. They are just trying to help the Russians who are now abroad to solve the problem of discrimination that they face. They are trying to convince Western businesses that impose restrictions on Russians that at least some of the holders of Russian passports do not need to be restricted ... "

But politician Kirill Goncharov did not like this initiative, he is worried about the very process of selecting those who rely on new documents:

“As I understand it, software will be created that will sort the database, in this database there will be something like a traffic light: red, yellow, green. To get green - you will need to get a recommendation from one of the leaders of the committee.

The idea, in my opinion, does not withstand any criticism, although it has the right to exist. But how objective will the list be, and who authorized the authors? Where is the legitimacy from? And what about legality, will international structures take this certificate into account?”

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