After the announcement of partial military mobilization in Russia, along with the Russians, the Uzbeks were worried about it. This was because, on the one hand, millions of Uzbeks now work in Russia as immigrants, and on the other hand, there are also many Uzbeks who have received Russian citizenship. For example, in 2021 alone, about 32,000 Uzbeks received Russian citizenship. Most of them did not renounce Uzbek citizenship. According to lawyer Batyr Shermuhammad, «Today the government of Uzbekistan does nothing against Russian propaganda, but it does not care about the condition and consciousness of Uzbeks living in the epicenter of propaganda» Not to mention their protection, the attitude and opinion of Uzbek citizens who have been granted Russian citizenship during the war have not been studied. So, to what extent are compatriots who are citizens of Russia and Uzbekistan today, resistant to «propaganda» and whose side are they on in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict? QALAMPIR.UZ has spoken with lawyer Bakhrom Ismailov, head of the Uzbek diaspora in Moscow to get answers to these questions.
What is surprising, «the doctor we went to see, is also a patient! » You will soon learn why we have mentioned this proverb of the wise Uzbek people.
We would like to say that QALAMPIR.UZ fully supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The views of the interlocutor on the war and Russia in the interview are very subjective and are not a reflection of the editorial staff.
The purpose of the interview was to obtain the opinion of the Uzbeks who had been granted Russian citizenship, about dual citizenship, the pro-Russian position, and the war. Here we ask the reader not to succumb to «propaganda».
Why is Uzbek interest in acquiring Russian citizenship, growing?
«Uzbeks, who have been working in Russia for many years, decided to get citizenship to create conditions for themselves,» answered the head of the Uzbek diaspora in Moscow, Bahrom Ismailov.
He listed the reasons and said that today, about 3 million Uzbeks work in Russian cities, and for this, they have to pay 80-100 thousand rubles a year for patent payments.
Secondly, it is very difficult for foreign citizens to work here. Therefore, Uzbeks with specific jobs try to get a temporary residence permit and Russian citizenship to live in peace. This is necessary for their comfort. Then the patent holders will not be paid, they will be paid more because in Russia, foreign citizens are paid 30-40% less than Russians.
According to the leader of the Uzbek diaspora in Moscow, the government of Uzbekistan should consider the issue of dual citizenship. Citing the example of Tajikistan, he said that if nationals of that country accepted Russian citizenship, it would be recognized in both countries.
The law of Uzbekistan on citizenship is rather outdated. Today, times have changed. Since 2017, the President has changed his policy towards compatriots in different countries. However, there is no clear answer to these questions in the legislation of Uzbekistan. As the law does prohibit dual citizenship, liability does not apply. Therefore, as the President said, Uzbeks should not sever ties with Uzbekistan, no matter where they live, no matter what nationality they accept. To do this, it is necessary to amend the legislation on citizenship and, in my opinion, to allow dual citizenship in Uzbekistan», - said lawyer Ismailov.
In particular, he is himself a citizen of two countries – the Russian Federation and the Republic of Uzbekistan. That said, neither Uzbekistan nor Russia recognizes dual citizenship. However, the legislation does not provide penalties for this. A citizen of Uzbekistan who has acquired Russian or other citizenship will be considered a citizen of the country itself. That is, he will not be removed from Uzbek citizenship for having acquired citizenship from another country. All he had to do was report the acquisition of another country’s citizenship within 30 days. It seems that this is a legal gap regarding Uzbek citizenship because in such fragile situations as the present, this «rupture» can have very negative consequences. For example, the chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee of the Russian Federation Kirill Kabanov within the framework of the partial mobilization announced by Vladimir Putin for representatives of the Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) said that proposals for conscription for one year are being prepared.
In his statement, he said that in the event of refusal to perform military duty, not only the citizen but also his family members should be deprived of Russian citizenship. This is a very strong statement, which means that if the proposal is approved, many Uzbeks and their family members may suffer.
If he goes to the Russian army or goes to war to retain his citizenship, Uzbekistan will hold him accountable upon his return. So, even if he did, it would be a double national who would suffer. This shows that both governments should negotiate on the same subject.
Is it right to obtain Russian citizenship?
Obtaining citizenship from another country is a very serious choice and several principles should be taken into account. For example, Russia is constantly in conflict with some countries. It negotiates with Russia, whether it be Ukraine, NATO, or the US. Therefore, was Uzbek citizenship the right choice?
If you have the opportunity to obtain citizenship in Germany, Canada, or the United States, you try to go to developed countries. But will the US or Canada be able to accommodate 3 million Uzbek citizens? Currently, our citizens are leaving to work in Russia due to a lack of work in Uzbekistan, increased competition, and low monthly salaries. Perhaps that is why Russian citizenship can become an opportunity to change people’s lives positively», says the head of the Uzbeks in Moscow.
He said that in the last 20 years there have been different wars in Russia, but it is Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz who are building Russia. The number of Russian citizens grows smaller every year.
Pro-Russian. “If someone opposes Russia, he opposes the Uzbeks!”
If someone is against Russia, then he is also against the Uzbeks. Because Uzbeks are very close to Russia both economically and culturally», says Bahr Ismailov, head of the Uzbek movement in Moscow.
In his opinion, Uzbekistan and Russia should have close friendly relations with each other. Because more than 3 million Uzbek citizens work in Russia. In addition, Russia is the country from which most of our agricultural products are exported and the country from which we import most of the products we need.
The leader of the Moscow Uzbeks even agrees to go to war in Ukraine on the side of Russia, so as not to embarrass the Uzbeks and not turn their faces to the ground.
«If such a situation arises, I, Bahr Ismailov, as a citizen of Russia and Uzbek, will go to the side of the Russian people and not embarrass the Uzbeks!» ‘
As an example of his decision, he cited the Uzbeks defending Russia in the Soviet era:
«We were one country with Russia in 1941. But about 600,000 Uzbeks got to Berlin from the protection of Moscow in Soviet times. We are proud of them».
In an interview, QALAMPIR.UZ asked him not to speak on behalf of all Uzbeks, but at least to speak on behalf of Uzbeks who had acquired Russian citizenship. But Ismailov argued that Uzbeks in all countries are ordinary Uzbeks.
It is obvious to all that the current situation is not comparable to the Second World War, which was the example of Bahr Ismailov. During the Soviet era, Uzbekistan was not independent and had to obey and defend the USSR government. But what forces Uzbeks to fight on Russia’s side now? Is it not “pro-Russian” or “pro-Russian”? However, Bahr Ismailov’s lawyer stated that he did not consider himself to be such at all.
Under Uzbek law, participation in hostilities in another country is a criminal offense. Under article 154 of the Criminal Code, participation in such hostilities is punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment.
Under article 154-1 of the Criminal Code, the admission of an Uzbek citizen to military service, security, police, military justice or other similar bodies of foreign States is punishable by punitive deduction of earnings for up to three years and the recruitment of up to five years imprisonment; It is stated that the penalty shall be imprisonment.
However, Bahr Ismailov said that in such a situation he would not think about criminal responsibility in Uzbekistan and would still go to war.
Earlier, videos were distributed that the leader of the Uzbek diaspora in the Russian city of Perm personally incites his fellow Uzbeks to war in Ukraine. It was assumed that among them were Uzbeks who had not renounced Uzbek citizenship. The Agency for Foreign Labor Migration responded to the news and asked residents not to participate in the fighting. However, the authorities have not disclosed any information on whether the leader of the diaspora who attracts Uzbeks to the war has Uzbek citizenship or not, and if so, whether he should be deprived of it.