Propiska ( ; full term
Прописка по месту жительства, "The record of place of
residence") was a registration in the place of living in the
Union and designated the right to live in the
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
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 Union and at the local governmental office.
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
played the roles of both residence permit
registration of a person.
In the Soviet Union, every citizen had a permanent place of
. One could not refuse or be stripped of
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.
a large city, especially Moscow, 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
and former criminals, were often
barred from getting propiska
in Moscow and some other
major cities . However, many people used subterfuge to get Moscow
, including marriages of convenience
. 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
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
collapse of the Soviet Union
, the propiska
officially abolished. However some of the former Soviet republics, such as
Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, chose to
keep their propiska systems, or at least a scaled down
version of them.
propiska to registration.
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
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
and/or on coupon
aprox. one-third A4 paper which are to be returned to officials
before the departure.
Ukraine, 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
such as housing,
pensions, medical care, and schooling are still based on a
, as are things like the location for a driving
test (and the associated driving lessons).
Registration authority in Russia
- Pass-free access to border zone (If registered in location in
border zone in the same subject);
- Issue a pass card to closed city