Vladimir Putin proposed a set of amendments to Russian migration laws. According to the new regulation, Russian citizens will have to inform the government about the place of their residence as well as about all inhabitants living in their real estate. Otherwise homeowners will face charges of up to $230 for individuals and up to $26,500 for legal entities. Even more, in some cases property owners could be imprisoned for three years for violation of registration laws.
In the Soviet Union tough migration regulations (“propiska”) restricted people’s mobility. After the collapse of communism, the rapid development of large cities was one of the important forces beyond the economic growth. Moscow still needs more people: the unemployment rate is 0.5% while average salary in the capital is two times higher than it is in Russia. Soviet propiska prevented the formation of any agglomerations competitive with Moscow.
New rules will tie the citizens of small depressive cities to their flats. The new law is a clear signal to all Russians: the government doesn’t welcome any mobility.
The real impact of the law is remained to be seen. Russian state doesn’t have a totalitarian machine of Soviet Union and is not able to impose complete control on the country’s citizens. Most likely, the strict law will be enforced only on some special occasions. The police and migration authorities are likely to boost their cash flows from corruption. Muscovites, protesting against Putin’s third tenure, will be divided into two castes: those, who have all legal rights to live in Moscow and those who could be stopped by every policemen.