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Russia: Opposition To New Passports Growing

Moscow, 22 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Leading politicians and public organizations in several North Caucasus republics are opposed to the new Russian passports, an RFE/RL correspondent in Vladikavkaz reported today.

In particular, objections have been raised to the symbol of the two-headed eagle, which is perceived as a remnant of Russia's imperial past. The Chairman of Dagestan's Parliament, Mukhu Aliev, warned that "an explosion of nationalist sentiment" will protest the failure to designate the passport holder's nationality.

Ingushetia's President Ruslan Aushev and some Tatar politicians have similarly argued that the passports should show the holder's nationality.

But, writing in today's "Nezavisimaya gazeta," Russia's former nationalities minister Valery Tishkov said the removal of the mention of nationality in the new passports is one of the most significant developments in Russia's nationalities policy in recent years.