More people will be able to receive Russian citizenship through a simplified process. Izvestia reports that soon descendants of former citizens of the Russian Empire will be able to become citizens of Russian Federation. According to head of the Nationality Committee of the State Duma Gadzhimet Safaraliev, this bill comes as a result of President Putin's address to the Federation Council in December, in which the national leader has ordered to fast-track the procedure for "carriers of the Russian language and Russian culture, for direct descendants of those who was born back in the Russian Empire". The spokesman agrees that these people still share one nation and civilization. The initiative would allow citizens of Finland and Poland, as well as compatiots from the Caucusus mountatins living in Turkey and Syria to become citizens of the Russian Federation, the daily notes. Safaraliev adds that it's unlikely the law will result in an onslaught of refugees from conflict areas, but believes it will improve Russia's image. Not everyone wants this bill becoming a law. Some deputies believe ethnic Russias expats living abroad should be primarity invited to Russia, not immigrants who already have their homelands and who live in neighboring countries.
WUI - walking under the influence may become a serious offence in Russia. Actually, it already is - a pedestrian committing traffic infractions and other violations is looking at a harsher penalty if he or she is intoxicated - 500 instead of 200 rubles. However, until now there was no procedure to legally precisely identify the state of drunkenness. Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes that the Ministry of Interior has initiated public discussions for a bill which would introduce mandatory medical evauluation for citizens detained due to committing infractions. While a drunk driver is risking losing their driver's license, a pedestrian, already guilty of an administrative violation or breaking traffic laws resulting in an accident, may be looking at a more serious penalty - community service or administrative arrest instead of a fine. Vladimir Sokolov, head of the Pedestrian Union of Russia agrees that the bill is a good idea only if it's applied to citizens who are already breaking the law and hopes it won't lead to people getting a cab home after a party being randomly chared.
Novye Izvestia takes a look at the latest figures published by Rosstat, the Federal State Statistics Service. The organization has polled 20 thousand adult Russians and 4 thousand kids to find out what they like and don't like in their daily lives. The most burning issue is apparently employment - 40% of Russians do not work in the field of their education. Still, 76% are happy with working conditions, 57% are happy with what they're doing at their jobs; the same number believe their positions to be secure. At the same time, only a quarter are satisfied with their compensation. Another aspect is living conditions - only 10% are not happy with the residential areas, with more youths thinking 'the grass is greener on the other side'. As for bothersome aspects of life in Russia, over 60% don't like bad roads, almost 50% claims there's too much drinking and over 40% are not happy with the way housing and utility services do their jobs. Urbanites are most of all concerned with roads and citizens of rural areas with hard to reach objects of social infrastructure. Various housing problems, such as poor heating and lighting are also on the list. The article concludes that in a few years the Statistics Service plans on conducting a similar poll to track the dynamics - next time it will include 60,000 people.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov announced Wednesday that Moscow canceled a bilateral crime-fighting agreement with Washington because the “material aid” it had been established to provide is no longer needed. Quote “Over time Russia has turned from an aid recipient into a donor … including via our crime-fighting agencies" unquote. The Moscow Times highlights that the official played down speculation that the cancellation was a tit-for-tat response to the U.S. State Department saying a few days earlier that it would withdraw from a joint working group on civil society issues. The official reason given by Moscow was that the agreement, concluded in 2002, no longer corresponded to today’s reality and had exhausted its potential. The daily reminds that under the agreement, the U.S. government provided financial assistance to Russian law enforcement agencies for crime-fighting projects. When it was concluded on Sept. 25, 2002, those agencies did not have enough money for such programs, the government has said. Alexei Malashenko, an expert with the Carnegie Moscow Center told the daily that professional collaboration was likely to continue, although it would be difficult to make arrangements without an official agreement. A security agency source confirmed that Russia would not fully cease its cooperation with the U.S. on combatting drug trafficking.