Russia has drafted a new, tougher version of its compulsory exam on Russian history, language, and civics that foreign labor migrants will need to pass in order to receive residence permits, the Izvestia newspaper reported on April 6.
As of July, foreigners seeking residence permits in Russia will be required to pass a mandatory test that features questions on Josef Stalin and the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, currently under Russian control, Izvestia writes.
The new test adds to a mandatory exam already in place, which migrants are required to pass in order to receive work permits.
The new, beefed-up version requires a vocabulary of 1,250 Russian words, rather than the 900 word base required for the work permit test. It also adds five new questions to the history section -- some of them politicized.
Foreigners sitting the test must, for instance, name the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea as the region that "was joined to" Russia in 2014.
Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014, drawing international condemnation and a flurry of sanctions from the West.
It also asks migrants to name Josef Stalin as the man who led the Soviet Union to victory in the Great Patriotic War.
Marina Moseikina, a history professor at the People's Friendship University, told Izvestia that foreigners will have 2.5 hours to sit the test.
Russia introduced mandatory testing for labor migrants in late 2012 as part of a far-reaching and ongoing clampdown on immigration aimed at curbing large migration inflows, while playing to a deep antimigrant mood.
There were 10.9 million foreign passport holders in Russia in January 2015, according to statistics from the Federal Migration Service that were passed on to the RBK media holding company.
The current figure is unknown as migrant flows have fluctuated considerably in recent months.
The rapid fall of the ruble in November and a brace of new state regulations for migrants precipitated an exodus of foreign labor in the first two months of 2015.
Izvestia writes that 440,000 migrants have sat the history, language, and civics test this year, with 95 percent of them receiving pass certificates.