April 21, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Russia confiscates passports of officials and employees of state-owned companies

Russia confiscates passports of officials and employees of state-owned companies

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Kremlin has been working to isolate government employees from abroad. In recent years, this has mainly concerned soldiers and agents of the security services. Now more and more low-ranking civil servants and employees of state-owned enterprises have to stay within national borders.

According to news websites, they must hand over their passports “for safekeeping.” present time And Radio Svoboda Based on interviews with government officials. The rule does not apply to all civil servants. It is not clear how many Russians had to surrender their passports.

The passport has become very important for Russians. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the number of passport applications has nearly doubled. Only a quarter of Russians have a passport that allows them to travel abroad. Most Russians only have a local passport, which allows them to travel to some former Soviet republics, such as Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The invasion triggered the largest exodus of Russians in a century. Demographers estimate that 700,000 to 1 million Russians have left their country. They predict that a new wave of mobilization will make more Russians want to leave.

The Kremlin justified previous travel bans, including on judges and security personnel, as a way to prevent the leaking of state secrets. This motive also appears to play a role in passport confiscation. For example, doctors at a hospital in Rostov, a city near the Ukrainian border where wounded Russian soldiers are cared for, had to surrender their passports last October. An employee of a state bank says the rule was also introduced in his office.

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President Putin has implicated many state-owned companies in the war against Ukraine. He promised his army a blank check in December to win the war. “The state will provide whatever the armed forces request.”

According to Russian media, the travel ban should also prevent publicity damage. Two provincial MPs recently came under fire for taking selfies from vacation homes in Dubai and Mexico as their province suffered heavy losses in the invasion of Ukraine.

Hundreds of thousands of civil servants, mostly from the Interior Ministry, have faced travel restrictions since 2014. Since then, occupied Crimea has become a regular vacation destination for police officers, FSB members and other security agents.