Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 69

The Russian Constitutional Court ruled April 4 that all residency restrictions introduced by local authorities are unconstitutional and must be immediately abolished. (Interfax, April 4) The ruling came in response to a challenge by Veronika Kutsyllo, a Russian journalist who moved from Kazakhstan to work in Moscow, where she found herself obliged by the Moscow city government to pay a tax amounting to 500 times the minimum wage in return for registration and permission to settle in the apartment she had bought for herself.

The Court ruled that the constitutional right to choose one’s place of residence may not be made dependent on payment of taxes or fees. At the same time, the Constitutional Court ruled that freedom of movement and the right to choose one’s place of residence are not absolute rights; they may be regulated by federal law if this is essential for protection of the constitutional order or in the interests of national defense and security. The office of the Mayor of Moscow immediately issued a statement warning that "chaos" would follow the abolition of registration dues. The registration of homeless people is a particularly controversial subject in Moscow, where the refusal of the authorities to register such people at present means that they are not eligible for such benefits as health care.

Duma Fails to Pass Legislation on Human Rights Commissioner.