Investigation RBC: as Russia recognized the passports of DNR and LNR

DNR soldier with the passport of a citizen of the people’s Republic of Donetsk at the terminal of the airport “Rostov-on-don”

Photo: RBC

The passport holders DNI and the LC can use the services of Russian Railways, airlines and hotels, found RBC. It is the result of informal agreements of Moscow with the authorities of the unrecognized republics, which aim to reduce social tensions in the Donbass

Traffic history

That the passport of the unrecognized Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics can cross the border with Russia and fly domestic flights, told RBC residents of the DNI and LC, sources in the state Duma and diplomatic circles, as well as officially confirmed by the airline S7 Airlines. In addition, in the presence of RBC the owner of the passport and the DNI has acquired a ticket on airline “Victory”, passed passport control and made the flight Rostov-na-Donu — Moscow on the same passport, bought a train ticket and paid for the hotel.

As told RBC Deputy Chairman of the people’s Council DNI Dennis Pushilin, the passport of the unrecognized Republic, he uses the spring of 2016 and attends on it Russia. The ability to fly according to the documents the LC and the DNI give all Russian airlines, says Putilin, “and S7, “Aeroflot”, “UTair”.

The representative of the unrecognized Republic said that through the DNR border with Russia passed cars with license plates of the unrecognized Republic. The ability to use the passports of the breakaway republics in Russia confirmed RBC and the Plenipotentiary LNR at Minsk group Vladislav Danego.

Journalist Anna Dolgareva, working in the Donbass, told RBC that traveled on the passport of the LC routes of the Railways.

Questions from the border guards for passport DNI sometimes there, “but after the call the shift commander to find out what is available to, and pass,” said RBC Pushilin. A soldier of the DND Alexander Zhuchkovsky told RBC that three times crossed the border of Russia and DNR passport of the unrecognized Republic and only once he asked for more and driver’s license to confirm identity.

Chief editor of “New earth” Izborsk club in the DNI Artem Olkhin confirmed RBC that the passport of the citizen of the DNI or LC can cross the border with Russia, “quietly buy a ticket for any mode of transport — even on the bus, even plane.” “As I understand it, this extends to birth certificates, and driver’s license and license plates issued by the Republic”, — he told. Allchin claims that repeatedly used the services of Railways.

The self-proclaimed passports

LC power began to issue its own passports to citizens upon reaching 16 years from mid-2015. These documents can not only enter and move to Russia, but also to submit documents for admission to Russian universities, confirmed RBC the Plenipotentiary LNR at Minsk talks Vladislav Danego. That MSU and SPSU recognize the certificates issued to the graduates of the DNI and the LC in 2015, said the rectors of these universities.

In March 2016 in the self-proclaimed DND also began issuing their own passports. “The first sample of the passport of the people’s Republic of Donetsk has seven degrees of protection,” presented them the head of the DND Alexander Zakharchenko. Among other documents, which the justice Ministry called the DNI is valid in Russia was evidence and certificates of birth, death, change of name, marriage and its dissolution, and so on.

Passports of citizens of the Donetsk people’s Republic

Photo: RBC

“Due to the fact that the residents of the DNR denied the opportunity to obtain a passport at 16, to paste a new photo to the birth certificate of the child to the territory controlled by Ukraine, since to go there just dangerous, Russia has decided to meet the inhabitants of the Republic”, — explained RBC Pushilin.

During the three years of hostilities in the South-East of Ukraine the problem of obsolescence of Ukrainian passports appeared in many says Olgin from the NPT: a trip to the territory controlled by Ukraine for the renewal of the documents could face imprisonment.

Normal flight

RBC personally tested like a valid passport of DNI in Russia, went to Rostov-on-don with the soldiers of Alexander Zhuchkovsky. From Moscow to Rostov on the passport and the DNI it out failed. On the counter of the airline “Aeroflot” in front of citizen DNR apologized for not can sell a ticket on the passport of the unrecognized Republic.

But a plane ticket to Moscow Zhuchkovsky managed to acquire in the airport of Rostov-on-don with no reservation and need to fill in the reservation system under “Citizenship.” In the presence of RBC Zhuchkovsky showed the passport and the DNI on the ticket Desk at the airport, bought a ticket, and airport employee checked it on the flight. Then he passed the security checks and got a stamp on your boarding pass. The ticket was for the flight Rostov — Moscow (Vnukovo) airline “Victory” (100-percentage affiliated company “Aeroflot”).

Photo: RBC

No counter sale of tickets, nor the security staff of the airport surprise the passport of DNR did not cause, about citizenship have Zhuchkovsky asked. Require additional documents to confirm the identity of airport workers also were not at the Desk only asked for any phone.

After that, in the presence of RBC Zhuchkovsky without problems bought on the DNR passport and ticket on the train Rostov — Kushchevskaya in the cashier station and booked Rostov hotel “don Quixote”. The receptionist at the front Desk said that passport settle many clients and they are as citizens of Ukraine. As a citizen of Ukraine Zhuchkovsky was noted on the ticket of the Railways.

Himself a soldier of the DNI explains RBC no wonder people have a passport, DNI the fact that Rostov is the closest major city of Russia to the Donbass, in which personal and business Affairs comes from the unrecognized republics a lot of people. “Many of them are already citizens of the DNI, not Ukraine. Through growth constantly ply — ride a taxi, go to a cafe, take shelter, stay in hotels, fly away from the airport — people with passports of the Republic, including military officers, politicians, entrepreneurs, — says Zhuchkovsky. — There is a passport DNI ceased to be a rarity here, all used, nobody looks at him as a wonder.”

At the disposal of edition there are RBC receipts and Rostov hotels, train ticket, Railways, as well as the e-ticket and boarding pass for a flight of “Victory” which became Zhuchkovsky on the passport and the DNI. Specified in the securities of a series and number of passport coincide with the DNR.

Exceptions to the rule

Rules of passenger transport in Russia regulate the orders of the Ministry of transport. According to the order of the Department dated 25 July 2007 in the monitoring area and security checkpoints of airports is only allowed for the passengers with the ticket and identity document.

“This question does not fall within the competence of Ministry of transport of Russia” — so said the press service of the Ministry on the request of RBC, on the basis of what regulations a valid passport of the DNI and the LC in Russia.

The representative of the Rostov airport Olga Ladeishikov told RBC that, according to its information, to purchase tickets passports DNR does not occur. “So I was told at the box office, but they are not part of the airport, so I can’t tell you — said Ladeyshikov. — We do not sell tickets themselves. It is the responsibility of the airlines, you’d better check with them”.

The airline S7 Airlines (the brand owned by OJSC “Airline “Siberia”), RBC confirmed that passengers can use the passports of DNR and LC. “All right, on domestic flights you can fly on this passport,” confirmed RBC official representative of S7 Anna Bazhina.

In the main Russian air carrier that possibility ruled out. “Aeroflot” refutes the opportunity to buy tickets for their flights on the passport unrecognized by the Russian Federation of the state”, — told RBC in the press service of the airline. According to the official representative “Aeroflot” to purchase the ticket you need to enter the data of the Russian passport or valid passport of Russia. If the same trip is planning a citizen of a foreign state, it is necessary to make the data valid passport state recognised by Russia.

The press service of the airline “Victory” in response to the request of the RBC to comment on the flights Zhuchkovsky stated that it has no information about what the airline flew passengers on the passport of DNI.

The airline said that the passenger while booking the ticket must indicate citizenship. But to specify the nationality of the DNI is technically impossible, since the booking system offers the state’s only recognized by Russia, explained in “Victory.” “Booking could be done only in case if the passenger intentionally cheated the system, putting any nationality from the layout, but services airport logistics and security are required to verify presented by the passenger the document complies with legislation and booking,” — said the press service. About the possibility to purchase tickets without reservation at the airport press-service of “Victory” is not mentioned.

In the “UTair” to a request to RBC did not answer.

In a press-service of Russian Railways in response to a request to RBC referred to the rules of transportation of passengers, approved by order of Ministry of transport dated December 19, 2013 № 473. According to him, place your ticket on long distance trains is possible on the basis of the document proving the identity. When purchasing tickets on the Russian Railways website or mobile application “train Tickets” the owner of the foreign papers are invited to choose from a list of “state of issuance”. LNR and DND in the list of States is missing, stressed in the press service of the company.

The office of public relations of the MIA of Russia in response to a request to RBC also referred to existing Federal laws, according to which a foreigner can enter Russia on the basis of valid identity documents recognized by Russia, if other cases are not provided by Federal law, international treaties and presidential decree.

In the center of public relations of FSB of Russia at the request of RBC on legal grounds for crossing the border by citizens of the LC and the DNI said. The FSB in Rostov region, RBC said that the Ukrainian citizens cross the Russian-Ukrainian border on the basis of the governmental agreement on visa-free travel. In a written reply intelligence says that is valid for crossing the border are “documents issued by the competent authorities of Ukraine, including on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions”. Are, whether the authorities of the DNI and LC are competent to issue the documents, which are recognized in Russia, the letter is not specified.

Help without recognition

It is legal to cross the Russian border citizens of the LC and the DNR can’t, said RBC Marina leksina, consultant on migration issues in the human rights Committee “Civil assistance”. In her words, to institutionalize the practice, need to take a separate decision of the government that is actually to recognize the self-proclaimed Republic.

According to Leccino, the legal status of Ukrainians in Russia, as well as citizens of other former Soviet republics, regulate the law on the legal status of foreign citizens and the law on entry and exit to Russia. If one formally applies for asylum, his legal status regulated by the law on refugees. In other cases, Ukrainians are considered common migrants and must register within seven days after arrival, and be in Russia they can no more than 90 days within six months (180 days).

Legal grounds for crossing the boundaries of people with passports of unrecognized republics not, I agree with Lecsinel the head of the Commission on migration policy of the presidential Council on human rights (HRC), Eugene Bobrov. Temporarily stay in Russia without documents can refugees who need to file a formal request for asylum. According to Bobrov, representatives of the presidential administration and the foreign Ministry in private meetings discussed the issue of admission of citizens of unrecognized republics in “exceptional cases.”

The passenger train following on a route “Yasinovataya — Kvashino — Uspenskaya”, at the train station in the town of Yasinovataya. This is the first passenger train to the border with Russia, which was launched by the authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s Republic.

Photo: Igor Maslov/RIA Novosti

The source of RBC in diplomatic circles, explains the actual action in Russia passports of the unrecognized republics the presence of informal agreements between the Russian authorities and representatives of the DNR and LNR to “close their eyes on these passports, so that people could move to Russia.” “The same agreement was reached at the level of the Russian airlines for such passports fly,” he confirmed.

The situation with use of passports of the LC and the DNI in Russia does not mean a gradual recognition by Russia of the breakaway republics, emphasizes the source of RBC in diplomatic circles. “This is not a step towards recognition of the Republic. This question is not discussed”, — he concluded.

The source of RBC in the state Duma also said that the question of further formalization of relations with DND and LNR is not. “If the passports of the Republic and decided to admit it was the unspoken agreement. No formal decisions were taken,” the source said.

Informal recognition simplifies the life of the people of the region and thereby inhibits the growth of those who are disappointed by the Russian policy, told RBC the possible motives of the Russian authorities, political analyst Alexei Makarkin. “They [the unrecognized Republic] expected that they will include in structure of Russia as the Crimea. Not recognize their documents, is to produce dissatisfaction, because they go not only to relatives but also to work in Russia”, — says the expert.

The issues of border crossing and control over the observance of the passport regime are not in the competence of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Russia, told RBC representative of the diplomatic Department Maria Zakharova. Press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov to a request to RBC on the grounds that in Russia, a valid passport of DNI and LC did not reply.

According to a source RBC in the Executive branch, ID cards in Russia may admit documents issued to citizens of Ukraine and stateless persons by local authorities in individual regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions outside the control of official Kiev. “This is due to the fact that the Ukrainian authorities for a long time and intentionally don’t carry out certification in the territory of the self-proclaimed DND and LNR”, — said the source.

The decision on the recognition of documents of LC and DNR “temporary and forced, because you cannot force people who find themselves in difficult life situations, to live in the reservation, without the right to leave”, said the interlocutor of RBC.

“This decision is consistent with the international practice providing for the recognition by States of the validity of certain legal acts, including the documents issued by those bodies who exercise actual power in the territories, uncontrolled by the official authorities”, — says the interlocutor of RBC.

International experience

Like the LC and the DNI situation are the citizens of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Of the countries in the UN its independence recognized only by Turkey. Republic gives citizens a passport of their own pattern. But to travel many residents of the unrecognized state get passport internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus that occupies the southern part of the island. With a TRNC passport, you can enter the territory of Australia, Pakistan, France, Tanzania, Turkey, USA and UK. Citizens of Northern Cyprus do not require visa to enter Turkey.

Risks for passengers

According to the 13th report of the office of the UN high Commissioner for human rights on the situation of human rights in Ukraine, in the conflict zone in the Donbass, home to more than 3 million people. According to the statistical services of the DNI in the unrecognized Republic is home to 4 million people.

In this passport the DNR received a total of about 40 thousand people, reported January 10, the official news Agency DNR “Donetsk news Agency” the head of the migration service of the local interior Ministry Vladimir Krasnoshchek. Official statistics on issued passports LC no. The source of RBC in the unrecognized republics said that the number of passports issued in the LC can be measured in the tens of thousands.

RBC examined the passports of the breakaway republics. The passport and the DNI are similar to Russian, it has a similar identification system: the first four digits represent a series of blank passports, and the next six digits — number form. The LC reminds Ukrainian passport: series number and there are two letters and six numbers.

When you enter the online reservation of air and railway tickets passport holder cannot choose DNI and LC in the “Country” as Russia does not recognize them. “If [online reservation] to indicate that the state that issued the passport, Ukraine, it is impossible to book a ticket,” said RBC from DNR journalist Anna Dolgareva.

In this case, the ticket buyer actually enters a transport company misleading, says lawyer of argroupby “MIP” Philip Demenkov. Under Russian law, he recalls, using a fake ID is a criminal offence (article 327 of the criminal code). But man, traveling with the passport or DNI and LC, it is impossible to prosecute the creation of false documents, notes Demenkov.

“This passport is issued to a specific organ, and, accordingly, in the state, even if it is not recognized, this on present”, — explained the lawyer. But hypothetically likely a situation similar to the plot of the movie “Terminal” when a passenger stuck at the airport because his country is almost non-existent, said Demenkov.

The head of the public Council under the inter-regional investigatory management on transport SKR Sergey Gruzdev draws attention to the risks associated with security. According to him, information about the passport holders DNI or LC may not be in the official databases. It could theoretically help them to avoid arrest as part of the investigation, the expert believes.

A situation in which people can use transport “documents, which de jure are not documents,” may endanger, told RBC Vice-President of the Association of veterans antiterrorist unit “alpha” Alexey Filatov. In this sense, the loyalty of the Russian authorities to self-proclaimed republics forces them to close their eyes to the requirements of the law, he said. In this case, “it is unlikely [c] documents DNR and LNR to our country to get the terrorists,” says Filatov.

The risk of sanctions

DNR and LNR have not received recognition by any member state of the UN. Ukraine acknowledged these formations “terrorist”.

According to the decree of the President of the United States No. 13660 of March 6, 2014 sanctions and freezing of assets of individuals and legal entities threaten responsible for “undermining democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine and the threat to peace, security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

As told RBC lawyer Washington law firm Bryan Cave LLP cliff burns, specializing in the issues of sanctions, recognition of the “passports” of the DNI and the LC can be considered to be undermining the sovereignty of Ukraine and to serve as a basis for sanctions against Russian officials and airlines that accept these documents.

Moscow officially deny the recognition of documents of republics, and to assert that only lets the individuals on humanitarian grounds, suggested political analyst Alexei Makarkin. Limited recognition of passports of the LC and the DNI Russia really has more humanitarian value, so it is unlikely to entail the sanctions, said RBC on condition of anonymity, a senior representative of a major international humanitarian organizations.

US sanctions and the EU against Russia were phased after the referendum in Crimea in March 2014. In the sanctions list includes Russian officials and high-ranking officials, banks and businesses, undermines, in the opinion of Western countries, the sovereignty of Ukraine, and was involved in the crisis in the country. Also under the sanctions were operating in Crimea, LPR and DPR construction, transport, oil companies and defense organizations and research institutes.

“The policy of Ukraine towards Donetsk and Lugansk may not serve as grounds for failure of Russia and other States of their commitments in respecting human rights guaranteed under international law, ignore humanitarian order,” — explained RBC a source in the Executive branch. Russia’s attitude to the documents of the DNI and the LC, the source said, are not related to the topic of international recognition of these republics.

With the participation of Hope Konobeevskii, Ivan Tkachev, Angelica Bassini and Margarita Alyokhina

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