Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Helping American Families Obtain Russian Citizenship

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is ready to assist American and Canadian families applying for Russian citizenship in the "Not Alone" project. The Ministry explained that citizenship can be acquired in the only way available to them — through obtaining temporary residence permits on a quota basis.

But to start this process, families need to enter Russia, where they are not yet allowed to enter because of the pandemic. The task force for preventing the spread of the coronavirus infection can authorize entry. RT reports about why, despite the pandemic and the bureaucratic hurdles, Americans and Canadians are dreaming about Russian passports.

The Russian Interior Ministry clarified the procedure for acquiring Russian citizenship for 75 U.S. and Canadian citizens, about whom RT previously wrote. Several families with many children applied to the "Not Alone" project with a request for assistance in obtaining visas and processing documents. After borders were closed due to the pandemic, people were not able to relocate, which they were very worried about.

They explain their desire to live in Russia by their disagreement with what they see as the radical policies of the U.S. government, which include aggressively enforced LGBT ideology and anti-family campaigns. The letter was authored by Fr. Joseph Gleason, an Orthodox priest who moved from the United States to Russia.


RT sent a request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to help the families who applied to the project. As explained in the department, citizens who are not on the lists specified in the Russian government decree of March 16, 2020 № 635-r, can enter Russia based on the decision of the operational headquarters to prevent the entry and spread of a new coronavirus infection in Russia.

"Such a decision will be the basis (if necessary) for issuing invitations to enter the Russian Federation to foreign nationals in accordance with the established procedure by the territorial bodies of the Russian Interior Ministry", - reported in the department.

According to representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Fr. Joseph can act as an inviting party for families wishing to move to Russia. In this case, visas for them may be issued on the basis of a direct application by the host party without the statutory invitations for entry.

According to representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, foreigners will then have to apply for quotas for the issuance of temporary residence permits to a territorial body of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the area of intended residence.

The temporary residence permit is issued for three years. A citizen who receives a document may reside only in the region in which it was issued.


Jason Campbell, 46, a resident of North Carolina, first visited Russia in 1993. He says he liked the country very much and visited more than once as a tourist. Jason even began to study the history of the Orthodox Church at university, and later was baptized in a Russian Orthodox church and married a Russian woman.

© Photo from personal archive

Three daughters were born to the marriage. The oldest, Margaret, is now 12 years old, Mary is ten, and Seraphim is three. According to Jason, the couple lived together for 13 years.

"Unfortunately, my wife was diagnosed with a severe mental disorder, schizophrenia, which seriously affected our lives," Jason says. "She couldn't cope with the disease and now no longer lives with us. We divorced, and I got full custody of the children from the state of North Carolina."

Some time later Jason met his current spouse, 39-year-old resident of Sergiev Posad, Maria Kolbintseva.

"For two years we lived with the girls without a mother, and then I met Masha on the Internet," Campbell recalls. "I saw that she lived in Sergiev Posad, which is probably my favorite city in the world, and I wrote her a message. We began to talk. We discussed books, some common interests, of course, Orthodoxy, and after we became close, we decided it would be nice to meet. Since I could not come to Russia because of the pandemic, we decided to go to Serbia. There we fell in love with each other and decided to get married."

The marriage was consummated in February of this year.

Maria was born and raised in Sergiev Posad. Then she went to live in Egypt for nine years, after which she spent several more years in Europe.

"In the end I decided that Russia was the best place to live, and I came back," Maria says. "It just so happens that now my husband is an American. It's a miracle that in Sergiev Posad, Jason's favorite city, there is probably only one bilingual child, my son, who can communicate with my stepdaughters, and we can be a family without serious language difficulties.

According to Campbell, he can enter Russia because his wife is a Russian citizen. But his three daughters are not being allowed into Russia.

"Despite the fact that my children, in fact, have the right to Russian citizenship because they are half Russian, they cannot obtain it. Their birth mother is from Russia, but unfortunately, she is incapacitated and cannot help them apply for citizenship, so they cannot go to Russia with me," Jason explains.

Now the couple is vacationing in Turkey with their children.

"I love my new family and hope that our government, which has promised to protect traditional families, will recognize my stepdaughters and that they will get citizenship soon," Maria says.

According to Jason, his family is not the only one who wants to move to live in Russia. There are several families in his small North Carolina parish alone. However, all of them are stopped by the requirements for foreigners. Americans with exceptional circumstances, such as marriage to Russians or Russian citizenship for relatives, can enter Russia without obstacles.

"For most families, that's not possible," Campbell argues. "That said, we are all aware of the moral decay and political confusion currently prevailing in the West. In my case, for example, I had to remove my daughter from school because she was in the same class with transgender people, which is unacceptable in an Orthodox worldview and way of life. Also (most people probably know this very well) we have had riots on our streets for almost a year now. Our country is culturally divided. It's not getting any better, only worse. There are more and more signals that suggest a potential catastrophe. I certainly want to believe that things will work out, but history is a scary thing. When you see what's going on in America, you have to wonder if it's going to have catastrophic consequences."


Another family that told RT their story was a married couple from suburban Chicago. Brian, 59, and Bonnie Kay, 57, have four children: David (26), Sarah (23), Martha (19) and Rachel (18).

© Photo from personal archive

"We met Bonnie at the pool, where I was trying to get in shape and my wife was keeping herself in shape," Brian smiles. "And we've lived near Chicago practically our whole lives, maybe our whole lives."

Brian graduated with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois. He has worked in the field for more than seven years, has many patents, and has been a high school educator for the past 29 years. As a teacher, he earned a master's degree in physics.

Bonnie also attended the University of Illinois. She has two bachelor's degrees, in mathematics and chemistry, and an MBA in business administration. She also received her degree from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

According to Brian, their families practiced different strains of Christianity.

"I grew up in a Lutheran family and my wife in a Catholic family," he recalled. "After we got married, my wife and I started thinking about the serious aspects of life and exploring issues related to our faith a little deeper. And in 2007 we converted to Orthodoxy. It was a long and difficult road. Reading books about Russian Orthodoxy and its saints helped us a lot in this process, and Father Seraphim Rose also helped us. He always had a deep love for Holy Russia and its people, which we also adopted."

The couple had not yet been to Russia, but had already formed their attitudes about the country because of Father Joseph's stories.

In addition, the Kays recently became parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) to learn more about Russia and its people.

Bryan notes that after meeting them, the Russians "opened their arms and it became absolutely impossible to say no to their hospitality and warm friendly greetings."

"We were impressed by the spirituality of the Russians, the depth and sobriety of their love for God, their willingness to admit their mistakes and learn from them," says Bonnie. "They can seem very serious at first glance, but after getting to know them, we realized they are very generous, compassionate and caring people. In Russia they support the Orthodox Church, the institution of the family, and traditional values. I'm talking about things that used to be honored in America as well, but now things are changing. We would like to be part of a culture that moves in this more traditional direction. Of course, there are people here who share our point of view as well, but in Russia, it is accepted by society as a whole. That's what inspires us."

According to Brian, it was Father Joseph who suggested they move to Russia.

"At first the idea of moving seemed crazy to us," Brian laughs. "But we started reading about Russia and realized that modern realities there are far from Soviet, and now it's a democratic country."

The couple applied for visas to go and see Russia, but processing stopped because of the pandemic.

"If you are in the United States with this state of Russian-American relations, other difficulties arise. We hope that our sincere desire to be part of this community will instill in both sides the idea that peace is possible and should be nurtured and encouraged, because destructive actions are much easier and quicker to accomplish," Bonnie says.

Kay plans to settle in Rostov Veliky in the Yaroslavl region. Brian intends to continue teaching, or return to his profession as an engineer. Bonnie may pursue icon painting. She also sings in the church choir. All four children in Kay's family share their parents' opinion and consider moving to Russia a good decision.


RT also requested interviews with ten other families who contacted the editorial board, but many declined to be published.

According to Timur Beslangurov, a lawyer who provides these families with migration services, not all Americans are willing to openly declare their choice in favor of Russia.

"Their hesitation is caused by the fact that several months ago an order was passed in the United States, according to which any actions of American citizens in favor of Russia can be interpreted as hostile," Beslangurov explains. "It's hard to believe, but it's very tough in the U.S. right now. People are afraid they may be accused of being pro-Russian and be persecuted for their stance against LGBT people and the policies of religious persecution in their country.

The lawyer noted that this is the Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.

RT will send a request, to consider allowing American families who wish to acquire Russian citizenship to enter Russia.

Source: (Russian)

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