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Russia: Duma Request On Passports Sparks Controversy

Moscow, 24 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Vladimir Lukin of Yabloko and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky have sharply criticized Duma Chairman Gennady Seleznev for asking the government to restore the line listing the holder's nationality on new Russian passports.

In Duma speeches today, Lukin and Zhirinovsky said Seleznev had no right to make such a request in the name of the Duma, since deputies have not voted on the issue. They also argued that "no civilized country" lists the nationalities of its citizens in passports.

Anatoly Greshnevikov of the Communist-allied Popular Power faction retorted that unlike "sons of lawyers," "Russians need not be ashamed of their nationality." Zhirinovsky, whose father was Jewish, once said his mother was Russian and his father was a lawyer.