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Russia Denies Plans to Prohibit Citizens from Renewing their Russian Passports Abroad

Russia has dismissed reports suggesting it might prevent its citizens from renewing their passports while abroad, which would have serious repercussions for exiled dissidents who escaped political persecution.


On Thursday, the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta claimed to have obtained a draft decree from the Foreign Ministry, indicating a suspension of passport renewals and other consular services for Russians overseas starting May 1. The consular department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry quickly refuted this claim, calling it “absolutely untrue and blatantly provocative” in a statement posted on its Telegram channel. The ministry emphasized its commitment to transparency, stating, “We inform citizens about planned changes in current legislation and law enforcement practice in the consular and related areas as far in advance and as fully as possible.”


Novaya Gazeta reported that it had reached out to the Foreign Ministry for a comment on the alleged draft decree before publication, including a scan of its written request sent to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.


Independent news website Mediazona and another outlet, Sotavision, also reported receiving a similar unverified document from the Foreign Ministry on April 18. The sender, purportedly a Foreign Ministry employee, was unable to verify his identity and has since been inactive on social media.


The purported decree mirrors a move by Belarus in September 2023, where the government banned its citizens from renewing their passports abroad, seen as an attempt to compel exiled dissidents to return.


Russian Flag, Russian Embassy
Russian Embassy

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