Passports are being taken away from Russian officials and employees of state companies: for refusal - dismissal - ForumDaily
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Russian officials and employees of state-owned companies are having their international passports taken away: refusal means dismissal

After the start of a full-scale war in Ukraine in 2022, employees of Russian departments, state companies and state corporations, in fact, became restricted to travel abroad. They take away their passports “for safekeeping”, and those who refuse to do this are offered to quit. The edition told in more detail Currently,.

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Some were directly asked to deposit their international passports, said sources from the management of one of the state-owned companies - an official of the regional government and the manager of a travel company associated with VIP vacations (all of them wished to remain anonymous, as they are not authorized to communicate with the press).

In some cases, we are talking about giving the document to the FSB for storage, in others - to a special department at the place of work.

Those who do not do this are offered to resign, according to a source familiar with the internal regulations of one of the state-owned companies. Some employees leave themselves, not daring to check the seriousness of the threats.

In addition, there were cases when FSB officers seemed to hint that if someone did not hand over their passport, then it could somehow be canceled, so that in any case, a person would not be able to leave the Russian Federation.

There is no unified order on what to do with foreign passports, according to interlocutors in government agencies at various levels. In some cases, employees are advised to avoid vacations abroad.

Someone is banned from any travel abroad, someone outside the EAEU zone (the Eurasian Economic Zone, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) or the CSTO (countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization).

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A former employee of one of the state banks also heard about a direct ban on traveling abroad for some employees. Although he says that the ban is not total, you just need to additionally coordinate everything with the company.

Another federal official says that the ban “at the level of general knowledge” applies to everyone who has at least some degree of access to state secrets (there are three in total): they don’t ask you to hand over passports directly, but everyone knows that applications for holiday abroad management will not sign.

A source close to the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that most Kremlin employees “do not even try” to go somewhere.

Another source says that some of them did go abroad in 2022, but only to “neutral” (from the point of view of the Russian government) countries. Permission for such a trip is personally signed by the head of the Kremlin administration, Anton Vaino.

The ministries also have an individual approach: some employees are allowed to leave “for good reasons”, someone is released, for example, to the United Arab Emirates, but after that it is necessary to fill out a trip report.

There are other schemes as well. For example, if before a vacation a civil servant signs a notice that he does not intend to visit foreign countries, and after that he leaves anyway, then he will have to report on the changed plans.

Post-Crimean Syndrome

Even before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian civil servants and employees of state-owned companies had restrictions on personal travel abroad, but the mass seizure of international passports was not previously publicly reported.

In 2014, following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the start of the war in Donbas, there were reports that the rules for Russian officials to travel abroad had tightened.

Then they announced restrictions on travel abroad for employees of law enforcement agencies and judges. And then it was impossible to travel to "unfriendly countries", the list of which was constantly changing. In the police, the FSB, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the prosecutor's office, officers at the level of platoon commander and above were ordered to hand over their passports for safekeeping. The ban was explained by the form of access to state secrets.

Ordinary employees and employees of state-owned companies were not subject to such strict prohibitions. Federal government employees had to get permission to leave the country, but often it was just a notice to leave, the former federal official said.

After 2014, the following procedure for coordinating foreign trips was in effect: before the trip, it was necessary to sign a corresponding application with the responsible manager. As a rule, there were no problems with this - however, a few years ago, the government banned travel to the United States and Georgia altogether. Sometimes exit approvals were literally at the level of “go wherever you want, only without photos in social networks,” said a former federal civil servant.

It was the photos in social networks that became the reason for a new wave of public discussion of the need for restrictions for Russian officials and deputies to leave the country. In January 2023, a scandal arose in Russia after the publication of photos of the vacation of the deputy of the Kursk Regional Duma Maxim Vasiliev in Mexico and the Vologda deputy Denis Dolzhenko from Dubai.

After that, the authorities of several regions of Russia at once stated that officials and deputies should refrain from traveling abroad.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said in January that "there are no decisions, no directives in this respect at the present time" and that such bans are not even being discussed.

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Speaking about the absence of new directives, Peskov, apparently, was not deceitful. The fact is that the current Russian laws and regulations already allow officials to restrict the exit of officials and even confiscate their passports - primarily from state secret carriers (in theory, every official or employee of a state company can fall under such restrictions, but the exact number of Russians with access to state secrets not known).

The law on the procedure for leaving Russia describes the circle of persons who may be restricted from leaving due to work: those who are admitted to state secrets and have signed the corresponding contract (the ban can be extended even after dismissal), military personnel and those undergoing alternative service, as well as active and former FSB officers for five years after their dismissal.

According to the law, they must hand over their passport before the expiration of the restrictions "to the state body that issued the passport."

And under a new law passed in July 2022, those who, in theory, are subject to legal restrictions on leaving Russia, but left Russia anyway, can be fined between 200 and 500 rubles ($2635-$6587) or even imprisoned. for a period of one to three years. This article is not applied en masse, it is only known that in January 2023, two former officials were fined 250 rubles ($3295) each for visiting Abkhazia.

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