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    Russia Toughens Penalties for Illegal Registration

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    Russia's lower house of parliament tentatively approved legislation on Friday to impose tougher penalties on migrants who break registration rules in Russia.

    MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's lower house of parliament tentatively approved legislation on Friday to impose tougher penalties on migrants who break registration rules in Russia.

    Russians and foreigners could be punished by up to three years’ imprisonment, community service or fines of between 100,000 and 500,000 rubles ($3,000 to $5,000) for fictitious registration documents.

    Russians who fail to register properly at their place of residence would face fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($150). Legal entities involved in illegal registration schemes would be punished by fines of up to 800,000 rubles ($24,000).

    The presidential bill was adopted by the State Duma in its third reading and now moves to the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament.

    All foreigners living in Russia and some types of internal migrants have to be registered officially at their place of residence.

    Some sidestep the system for a variety of reasons, including a wish to avoid the bureaucracy inherent in the system or to evade contact with the authorities if they are present illegally.

    President Vladimir Putin last year called for tougher penalties for those registering foreigners in properties where they do not live, or so-called elastic apartments.

    Some estimates have suggested that hundreds of thousands of people across Russia are registered as living in so-called elastic apartments while their true place of residence is unknown.

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