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Propiska ( ; full term Прописка по месту жительства, "The record of place of residence") was a registration in the place of living in the Soviet Unionmarker and designated the right to live in the apartment. For a state or third-party owned property propiska meant a person was included into contract of renting the place. Permanent registration in a state-owned apartments over time received the value close to that of property right.

Address stamp (propiska) in Russian passport

Etymology and role

The noun derives from the Russian verb "propisat" ("to write into") — meaning to "write a passport into a registration book" of the given local office. The initial 1930s decree on propiska demanded to register documents, not people. Later, "propiska" became an official term. The propiska was to be recorded both in the internal passport of the citizens of the Soviet Unionmarker and at the local governmental office. In cities it was a local office of the utility organization, such as РЭУ (District exploatation department), ЖЭК (Housing exploatation office), ЖСК (Housing construction cooperative). The passports were stamped in MVD (i.e. police precinct). In rural areas it was a selsovet, or "village council", a governing body of a rural territory. Propiska could be permanent and temporary. The administrations of hotels, student dormitories and people who let their premises for rent were obliged to maintain temporary propiska records of their guests. The propiska played the roles of both residence permit and residential registration of a person.

History

In the Soviet Union, every citizen had a permanent place of propiska. One could not refuse or be stripped of propiska without substitution. Because of this there were no homeless citizens in the USSR. At the same time, it was very difficult to get a local propiska in a major city without having an official invitation for a job or having relatives living in the city.

Moving to a large city, especially Moscowmarker, was extremely difficult for migrants, and was a matter of prestige.In theory it was possible to exchange apartments over mutual agreement between parties, but few people wanted to move from a large city to a smaller one, even with additional money paid, although exchange of two flats for one in a larger city was sometimes possible. Certain "risk groups", such as dissidents, Roma and former criminals, were often barred from getting propiska in Moscow and some other major cities . However, many people used subterfuge to get Moscow propiska, including marriages of convenience and bribery. Another way of obtaining Moscow residency was to become a limitchik, i.e., to enter Moscow to take certain understaffed job positions, e.g., at cleaning services, according to a certain workforce quota (limit). Such people were provided with a permanent living place (usually a flat or a room in a shared flat) for free. Some valuable specialists could be also invited by enterprises, which provided them with flats at expense of the enterprise.

At a certain period of Soviet history residents of rural areas had their passports stored at selsovets (officially "for safekeeping") which prevented them from unofficial migration to the areas where they did not have living apartments. It was designed to prevent cities from influx of migrants who sought for higher living standards in large cities, but had permanent registration far away of their actual place of living.

Modern usage

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the propiska system was officially abolished. However some of the former Soviet republics, such as Belarusmarker, Kyrgyzstanmarker, and Russiamarker, chose to keep their propiska systems, or at least a scaled down version of them.

Russiamarker changed propiska to registration. Citizens should register if they live in the same place for 90 days (Belarus citizens in Russia and vice versa - 30 days). There are two types of registration, permanent and temporary (for not more that 90 days, but can be prolonged). A place of permament registration is indicated on a stamp placed in an internal passport, of temporary is written on A5 blank (blank is printed on special paper like plain, not laminated but some do that to prevent tears by the Police) with color photo (3*4). Living without a place of residence indicated in the internal passport is considered an administrative offense. The registration is used for economic, law enforcement and other purposes, such as accounting social benefits, housing and utility payments, taxes, conscription, medical care etc.

Now registration plays little role in questions of property. In Soviet time, for example, if after a marriage a wife was registered in a home her husband rent from the state, then, in case of divorce, she could obtain some part of her husband's place of residence for her own usage. In modern Russia this was mostly abandoned as most apartments had been privatised, but if a preson has no other place to live in, he still cannot be evicted without substitution ( Housing Code of Russian Federation, Art. 31, part 4. (Russian)). This makes many people fearful of registering others on their property title.

For foreigners it called "Migration control" and stamped on Migration card and/or on coupon aprox. one-third A4 paper which are to be returned to officials before the departure.

In Ukrainemarker, the Constitutional Court ruled that propiska was unconstitutional in 2001 (November 14) and a new "informational" registration mechanism was planned by the government, but, in effect, has never come into being. Additionally, access to social benefits such as housing, pensions, medical care, and schooling are still based on a propiska, as are things like the location for a driving test (and the associated driving lessons).

Registration authority in Russia

Registration allows

  • Pass-free access to border zone (If registered in location in border zone in the same subject);
  • Issue a pass card to closed city


See also



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