Kremlin Lets Donbass Residents Apply for Russian Citizenship
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
After Donetsk and Lugansk Donbass residents declared independence from US-installed Kiev fascist rule, Putin should have offered to let both republics join Russia as he did for Crimeans, affording them the choice.
Belatedly he took a partial step of sorts, by decree letting Donbass residents request Russian citizenship via an expedited procedure.
His action was based on Article 14 of the “On Nationality of the Russian Federation” federal law — affording citizenship to designated people via a simplified/expedited process.
During a Thursday Security Council session on Ukraine, Russian UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia explained why Moscow acted, saying:
Around four million Donetsk and Lugansk Donbass residents are treated like “outlaws” by Kiev, “ignored by the major part of the global community” — for wanting democratic rule, opposing fascist tyranny.
The policy has nothing to do with “forc(ing) Ukrainians to change their citizenship, and in so doing violate the Minsk Agreements.”
Vladimir Putin “signed a decree which would simplify the process of getting Russian citizenship for people from the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.”
“In order to undergo this, they will not have to renounce – I emphasize this – their Ukrainian citizenship.”
From April 2014 (2 months after the US coup) to April 2019, nearly a million Ukrainians fled cross-border to Russia, seeking freedom from despotic rule.
Around a third of this number applied for Russian citizenship, Nebenzia explained, adding:
Putin acted to meet the desires and “aspirations of many thousands (of Ukrainians). We do not force them to become Russian citizens. It is they who seek to achieve this. We only provide an opportunity and make this process easier.”
“Why did we do this? The conflict in Donbass has been going on for five years. It has been five years since people in Donbass were deprived of an opportunity to use human rights and freedoms in Ukraine.”
“They did not have a right to vote at the presidential elections to have taken place recently. The economic and social blockade of Donbass that has in fact existed since 2015 was reinforced and (unjustifiably) legalized in 2017.”
“For five years on end…Kiev has been sabotaging implementation of the Minsk Agreements by supplanting and distorting their content.”
“It has been for five years that Kiev (unjustifiably) calls the population of Donetsk and Luhansk terrorists and separatists.”
Most, maybe all SC members never read the Minsk agreements in their entirety — other than Russia, China, and likely the US.
It mandates “safe access, delivery, storage, and distribution of humanitarian assistance to those in need, on the basis of an international mechanism.”
It requires “full resumption of socio-economic ties, including social transfers, such as pension, payments and other payments (incomes and revenues, timely payments of all utility bills, reinstating taxation within the legal framework of Ukraine).”
“To this end, Ukraine shall reinstate control of the segment of its banking system in the conflict affected areas and possibly an international mechanism to facilitate such transfers shall be established.”
None of the above happened because Kiev’s US installed and controlled regime flouted its provisions.
Nebenzia slammed the US, UK, France, and other states that continue to proclaim the myth of “Russian aggression” in Ukraine. The Kremlin is pro-peace and stability, anti-war and violence in other forms — polar opposite how the US and its imperial partners operate.
Since the Obama regime’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine, replacing democratic rule with Nazi-infested fascist tyranny, Russia has provided Donbass residents with vitally needed humanitarian aid.
Nebenzia explained that without it they “would not have survived. (They) deserve an opportunity to enjoy a reliable protection and social safeguards provided by the state.”
“Just like everyone in this room, they want to exercise their legitimate rights and the rights of their children to education, social benefits, medical care, and other rights embodied in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights dated 1966.”
“Ukraine…provides none of this,” waging intermittent war on Donbass instead — with full US support, encouragement and weapons, one of countless examples of what the scourge of imperialism is all about.
Russia aided Donbass residents in need because the world community spurned them in deference to Washington.
“What do we get in return,” Nebenzia asked? “Not a single compliment from our Western colleagues (sic), but hypocritical worn-out accusations of aggression and mischievous plans of Russia against Ukraine” — bald-faced Big Lies.
In 2017, the EU granted protection to over 300,000 people who applied for asylum, the same principle followed by Russia in Putin’s decree.
Nations have the sovereign right to grant citizenship to designated individuals. According to the 1996 European Convention on Nationality, each of its states have the right to decide who should be afforded citizenship.
Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.”
Russia’s action for Donbass residents has nothing to do with creeping annexation, as the US and its imperial partners falsely claimed.
It has everything to do giving people deprived of their fundamental rights by a hostile regime a choice to improve their lives — what the US, NATO, and Kiev want prevented.
Russia hopes Kiev will turn a new page once President-elect Vladimir Zelensky takes office. Given heavy US pressure, along with fascist hardliners maintaining parliamentary control, prospects for responsible change are slim to none.
A Final Comment
As Nebenzia expected, Kiev UN envoy Volodymyr Yelchenko lied, accusing Russia of “occupation” and “creeping annexation” in Donbass.
He lied claiming Putin’s decree “forc(es)” its residents to get Russian passports. He lied adding this action makes implementation of Minsk unattainable.
Kiev breached it straightaway after its implementation — no doubt on orders from Washington, wanting endless conflict not resolution.
Acting US UN envoy Jonathan Cohen unjustifiably called Russia’s action “highly provocative.”
He lied saying Moscow “is clearly intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He lied claiming Russia is “(c)onferring citizenship en masse to the citizens of another state, undermin(ing) and violat(ing) the principle of sovereignty.”
He called for Kiev to “reestablish its control over” Donbass. Clearly he has doing it by brute force in mind.
Self-determination is a universal right under international law — regarded as jus cogens, a higher or compelling law.
People everywhere have the right to choose their sovereignty and political status with no outside interference.
The UN Charter affirms “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people…”
Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:
“All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
The US and its imperial partners operate by their own rules exclusively — time and again breaching fundamental international laws, norms and standards, how all tyrannical regimes operate.
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