The new “serfdom”: Thank you, milord, at least for that...

18 February 2013 

Source: (info) reports, citing the issue of Vedomosti of February 18th, that deputies of the State Duma are working on amendments to the law on "elastic apartments", which passed in its first reading on February 15th. Following harsh criticism, however, the chair of the constitutional committee Vladimir Pligin has stated that clauses relating to liability of spouses living together within a single town or village without registering have been excluded from the bill and “the issue of apportioning of shares, and the number of square meters that give the right to registration must also be resolved”. Thank you, milord, at least for that... 

A Vedomosti source close to the leadership of the United Russia faction, said that the provisions of the bill relating to fictitious registration are likely to be adopted without change. Provisions which referred to fines for failing to register, the source said, could change. The source did not elaborate on exactly how these provisions may change.

Many Duma deputies agree with the need to make amendments to the legislation, writes Vedomosti writes. Indeed, Mikhail Starshinov, a deputy of the All-Russia People's Front, advocated creating different levels of accountability for migrants with Russian citizenship, and those without. Galina Khovanskaya of A Just Russia, who is chair of the committee for housing and public utilities, referred to fines for people who move around a city without "selfish motives" and do not re-register as "unlawful".

The legislation has also been criticised in the Public Chamber, despite assurances from Ekaterina Egorova, deputy head of the Federal Migration Service, that it would not affect those Muscovites who are "registered in Bibirevo, but live in Yasenevo."

The legislation, designed to combat the issue of "elastic apartments", was submitted to the State Duma by the presidential administration in January 2013. It introduces the concept of fictitious registration and establishes criminal liability for this with regard to both Russians and foreign citizens. The bill provides for a penalty in the form of a fine of up to 500,000 roubles, or up to three years in prison.