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Kremlin Tightens Requirements For CIS Citizens To Enter Russia

Russia's Foreign Ministry has announced it is tightening entry requirements for the citizens of former Soviet republics.

In a statement on June 26, the ministry said that, as of January 1, 2015, citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States, excluding member states of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EES), will no longer be able to use only their national identification documents, known as "internal passports," to enter the Russian Federation.

The ministry said they must be in possession of an international passport.

The EES was established on the basis of the Customs Union by the presidents of its member states -- Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan -- in Astana on May 29. It will officially start functioning as of January 1, 2015.

Moscow has been pushing former Soviet republics to join the Customs Union and the EES, saying the latter will be modeled after the European Union.

Based on reporting by and ITAR-TASS