Kremlin Easing Russian Citizenship for All Ukrainians

President Vladimir Putin …signed a decree giving the right to all residents of Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship in a simplified manner….

Six months before Russia reinvaded Ukraine, President Putin published a long historical article where he asserted that “Russians and Ukrainians are one people, a single whole.” (See: “Studying Putin’s History of Ukraine,” OE Watch, Sept 2021.)  Attempts to prove this assertion using force have thus far met with considerable Ukrainian resistance.  However, the Kremlin is also employing its administrative and economic prowess to make it easier for Ukrainians to become Russian citizens.  As the first excerpt from the pro-business site Kommersant points out, the Kremlin has recently enacted legislation “giving the right to allresidents of Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship in a simplified manner.”  The article goes on to stress that this new streamlined procedure does “not require them to renounce Ukrainian or other citizenship.”  The article concludes by quoting a high-level Kremlin official, who claims that “from 2016 to 2020, about 978,000 citizens of Ukraine received Russian citizenship.”

The second excerpt from the popular, pro-Kremlin site Versiya describes how Russian authorities have set up “bus passport tours” to transport those Ukrainians who want to obtain Russian citizenship.  The buses pick up Ukrainians in regions not taken by Russia and transport them to those occupied by Russian forces.  According to the author, Russian “passportization of the Black Sea region is gaining momentum [where, for instance], “the number of residents of Odessa who have received Russian passports goes into the thousands.”  Many pensioners participate in these tours, since once they gain Russian citizenship, they “will be able to apply for Russian pensions (before recalculation – 10,000 rubles [$185] a month.”  The article asserts that there are many other categories eligible to receive monthly payments: “war veterans and children, the disabled…fathers and single mothers…pregnant women,” and that the Russian benefits far exceed those provided by the Ukrainian government.  The article concludes by pointing out that because of the conflict in and around “the Mykolaiv and Zaporozhye regions…, up to 85 percent of local residents lost their jobs… [and] there is only one hope – for Russia.”


Elena Rozhkova, Ksenia Veretennikova, “Гражданам Украины вышло упрощение (Citizens of Ukraine received a simplification),” Kommersant (pro-business site), 11 July 2022.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree giving the right to all residents of Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship in a simplified manner…. The expert believes that the updated decree will be relevant given the dynamically changing situation with the transition of Ukrainian territories under the control of Russian troops, as well as for Ukrainian emigrants living in Russia.

According to the new amendments, the possibility of obtaining Russian citizenship in a simplified manner now applies to all residents of Ukraine, and not only to the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) and regions of Ukraine controlled by the Russian armed forces. The document also notes that the presence of citizens in military service cannot serve as a basis for rejecting their applications for admission to Russian citizenship….

…The deputy [Mr. Zatulin] also clarified that residents of the DPR, LPR and Ukraine who receive Russian citizenship are not required to renounce their first citizenship and can have two passports…. 

…In June 2022, TASS, citing the press center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, reported that since April 2019, on the basis of this decree, more than 800 thousand people have acquired Russian citizenship. A year ago, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak… stated that not only residents of Donbass, but also residents of the “rest of Ukraine” apply for Russian citizenship. According to him, from 2016 to 2020, about 978 thousand citizens of Ukraine received Russian citizenship…

Source: Alexander Artishchenko, “Туры за паспортами (Tours for passports),” Versia (popular, pro-Kremlin site), 3 August 2022.

Passportization of the Black Sea region is gaining momentum – Russian citizenship is issued in Kherson, Skadovsk, Genichesk, Nova Kakhovka, Oleshki, Belozerka and Gola Prystan. Despite the fact that it is rather difficult to leave the settlements controlled by Ukraine, besides, they mostly let pensioners through and, less often, women, the number of residents of Odessa who have received Russian passports goes into the thousands….

…Bus passport tours are organized from Zaporozhye and Nikolaev to Kherson – the final destinations of the trip are usually not advertised, but these buses are still allowed through at checkpoints without any problems. As explained by the deputy head of the military-civilian administration of the Kherson region Ekaterina Gubareva, any citizen of Ukraine, regardless of place of residence, even from Lviv, can apply for a Russian passport. … Together with Russian citizenship, pensioners will be able to apply for Russian pensions (before recalculation – 10,000 rubles a month, but in the fall they promise to recalculate and increase pensions, and accrue “from above” what they don’t receive in the summer). Moreover, war veterans and children, the disabled and some categories of beneficiaries are entitled to an allowance of 5,000 rubles per month. The allowance can be issued in the same place as passports. Gubareva separately noted, that monthly social payments are due to fathers and single mothers – at the rate of 10,000 rubles for each child. And payments to a full family for the maintenance of a minor child will amount to 4,000 rubles. Also, pregnant women can apply for social assistance (10,000 rubles – a one-time payment for pregnancy, and another 20,000 – at the birth of a child).

Russia’s social support is especially important, since Kyiv has actually curtailed the payment of pensions and social benefits in the Mykolaiv and Zaporozhye regions. As of early August, up to 85 percent of local residents lost their jobs – able-bodied families do not have the full opportunity to support their elderly and children. In the Odessa region, 70 percent of the inhabitants have lost their jobs (although pensions are still paid there). So there was only one hope – for Russia.