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H.Doc.104-155 VETO OF H.R. 1530 ...


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        104th Congress, 1st Session - - - - - - - - - - - - House 
Document 104-154


 
          EMIGRATION LAWS AND POLICIES OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  from

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

 AN UPDATED REPORT CONCERNING THE EMIGRATION LAWS AND POLICIES OF THE 
           RUSSIAN FEDERATION, PURSUANT TO 19 U.S.C. 2432(b)

<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>


  January 3 (legislative day, December 22, 1995), 1996.--Message and 
  accompanying papers referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and 
                         ordered to be printed
To the Congress of the United States:
    On September 21, 1994, I determined and reported on the 
Congress that the Russian Federation is in full compliance with 
the freedom of emigration criteria of sections 402 and 409 of 
the Trade Act of 1974. This action allowed for the continuation 
of most-favored-nation (MFN) status for Russia and certain 
other activities without the requirement of an annual waiver.
    As required by law, I am submitting an updated report to 
the Congress concerning the emigration laws and policies of the 
Russian Federation. You will find that the report indicates 
continued Russian compliance with U.S. and international 
standards in the area of emigration.

                                                William J. Clinton.
    The White House, December 29, 1995.
   Report on Progress Concerning Emigration Laws and Policies of the 
                           Russian Federation

    This report is submitted pursuant to sections 402 and 409 
of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (``the Act''), following 
Presidential Determination Number 94-51 of September 21, 1994, 
and the accompanying report to Congress, that the Russian 
Federation is not in violation of paragraphs (1), (2) or (3) of 
sections 402(a) and 409(a) of the Act.
    All current information indicates that the emigration laws 
and practices of the Russian Federation continue to satisfy the 
criteria set forth in sections 402(a) and 409(a) of the Act in 
respect of all matters covered in those subsections.
    The Russian Constitution adopted by referendum on December 
12, 1993 guarantees all Russian citizens the right to emigrate. 
A new procedure in line with international standards governing 
citizens' travel abroad came into force in Russia on January 1, 
1993. The Russian Duma, the lower house of the Russian 
Parliament, recently heard the first reading of new legislation 
governing exit and entry procedures. The time for processing 
passport applications is three months on average. Cases 
involving applicants who had or have access to secret 
information usually take at least four months to process. 
Russia does not impose more than nominal taxes or fees on 
emigration.
    Consistent with international legal standards, the 
government of Russia established a body in June 1993 chaired by 
a Deputy Foreign Minister to hear appeals of cases in which 
permission to emigrate is refused on the basis of access to 
state secrets. The Commission has met over 30 times and has 
heard over 500 cases since its inception. According to an 
advocacy group, from June 1995 (when the last report was 
submitted to Congress) to November 1995, the Interagency 
Commission met seven times and reviewed 195 cases--181 of these 
cases were decided in favor of the applicant, one applicant 
will be granted permission to travel in January 1996, seven 
applicants were refused permission to travel until the 
expiration of the five-year period of prohibition against 
travel abroad due to an individual's previous access to 
sensitive secrets, and decisions on six cases were postponed 
pending the receipt of additional information. Because there is 
currently a backlog of 200 to 250 cases before the Commission, 
it can take more than six months to have a case heard.
    The United States has consistently urged the Russian 
government to resolve so-called ``poor relative'' cases in 
which permission to emigrate is refused on the basis of 
unresolved financial obligations to immediate relatives. A 
draft law on poor relatives recently had its first reading in 
the Russian Duma. We have received encouraging reports that 
some Russian courts are now hearing these ``poor relative'' 
cases, and in two instances courts in St. Petersburg decided in 
favor of the applicants seeking to emigrate. We will continue 
to follow closely the progress of the Russian courts on this 
issue to determine if they provide an effective mechanism for 
resolving these cases.
    As a result of such progress, tens of thousands of Russian 
citizens emigrate annually. In 1994, 25,198 Russian citizens 
emigrated to Israel. The number of cases on the listings of 
refuseniks maintained by American Jewish organizations has 
decreased from over 1,000 in the late 1980's to a much smaller 
number today. Russian and American human rights groups, leaders 
of Jewish communities in Russia, and officials of third 
governments have told us repeatedly in the past year and a half 
that freedom of emigration is a reality in Russia.
    Moreover, the Russian government has made firm public 
statements against anti-Semitism and intolerant behavior. 
During the May 9 events commemorating the 50th anniversary of 
the end of World War II in Europe, President Yeltsin 
highlighted the need to prevent the rise of fascism in Russia. 
In March, the President issued a decree ``On Measures to Ensure 
Coordinated Activities of State Power Bodies in Fighting 
Fascism and Other Forms of Political Extremism in the Russian 
Federation.'' During the January 1994 Moscow Summit, President 
Yeltsin joined President Clinton in condemning anti-Semitism 
and all forms of ethnic and religious intolerance. This marked 
the first public denunciation of anti-Semitism by Moscow's top 
leader in Russian history.
    Prime Minister Chernomyrdin has also expressed concern 
about anti-Semitism. In September 1994, he sent an 
unprecedented Rosh Hashanah greeting to Russian Jews. Within 
hours of his arrival in the United States in June 1994, Prime 
Minister Chernomyrdin met with American Jewish leaders at his 
official residence to hear their concerns about human rights 
and the treatment of Russian Jews. He later visited the 
Holocaust Museum, an event which was widely reported in the 
Russian media.
    We recognize that actions and statements by Russian leaders 
cannot by themselves eradicate the roots of intolerance. But 
they constitute a crucial step forward toward that goal. We 
commend Russian government authorities at all levels for 
efforts they have made to discourage such behavior and will 
continue to work with Russian officials to ensure such efforts 
continue and are strengthened.
    In addition to having made great progress in its emigration 
practices, the Russian Federation has productive relations with 
the United States and has taken steps necessary for transition 
to a democratic, free market society.

                                <greek-d>


Pages: 1

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