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Kazakh Nationalists Applaud Russian Repatriation Plan

(RFE/RL) August 16, 2006 -- A nationalist movement in Kazakhstan has said it welcomes Russia's proposed plans to repatriate ethnic Russians from across the CIS and beyond.

In a letter posted on Kazakhstan's Zona website on August 15, the Ult Taghdyry (Fate of the Nation) group says it believes the move will silence "those [Russian] civic and political organizations that are nostalgic for the former [Soviet] empire."

It also says it believes Russian President Vladimir Putin's initiative might help improve relations between Russia and its former Soviet neighbors. It urges Kazakh government officials to not hinder the repatriation process.

Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov said on August 15 that he was afraid the departure of Kazakhstan's skilled ethnic Russian workers might negatively affect the economy.

Under Putin's program, all repatriates would receive cash and social benefits in applying for Russian citizenship.

The plan aims at stemming Russia's population decline.


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