New Russian passports will be issued to citizens of the Russian Federation beginning on October 1, replacing the old Soviet passports in use until now. The new passports will serve, as before, as proof of identity, not as documents for foreign travel. The process will begin with servicemen and with young people aged 14-16 (in the past, passports were not issued until age 16) and will not be completed until 2005. The new passports will continue to be used to register citizens’ place of residence but, in a departure from Soviet tradition, will contain no mention of nationality. In an attempt to deter forgery and other fraud, the new documents will be computer-readable. (Itar-Tass, July 12, 16)
Belarus Political Update.