Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a presidential decree extending Russian citizenship to individuals from Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan who are enlisted in the Russian military. According to Russian reports on Thursday, the decree encompasses foreign nationals who have entered into a contractual agreement to serve in the Russian armed forces and their family members.
The official online portal for legal information states that the decree outlines “simplified conditions” for citizens of these countries, waiving requirements such as proficiency in the Russian language, knowledge of Russian history, or the standard five-year residency in Russia.
The decree specifies that foreign citizens who signed a military service contract with the Russian Armed Forces during the special military operation period or are actively serving in the Armed Forces during this time are eligible to apply for Russian citizenship.
TASS, the Russian news agency, notes that the decree also applies to Syrians born within the territory of the RSFSR, who were previously citizens of the USSR, along with their parents, spouses, and children. The application processing time for citizenship for these specific categories of foreign citizens is set not to exceed three months.
Applicants for Russian citizenship, as per the decree, must undergo mandatory fingerprint registration and provide a certificate confirming their HIV/AIDS-free status. Additionally, spouses and children of foreign military personnel applying for Russian citizenship must submit medical certificates attesting to their non-consumption of prohibited substances and the absence of infectious diseases posing a threat to others.
The initiation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led to recruitment efforts targeting young men in various countries, including Syria. The network Suwayda 24 released a video on Tuesday purportedly showing young Syrians and Arabs recruited by Russia, receiving military uniforms before being deployed to the Ukrainian border for combat. Upon their arrival in Russia, these recruits reportedly swiftly obtained Russian passports.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.