No. 586.
Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.

No. 103.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose to you an article published this morning in the Journal de St. Petersburg, giving some account of a proposed modification of the Russian law on the subject of naturalization. I also inclose a translation of said article.

I am, etc,

Geo, V. N. Lothrop.
[Inclosure in No. 103.—Proposed modification of the Russian law relative to naturalization, From the Journal de St. Petersburg, March 17, 1887.—Translation.]

The Gazette de St. Petersburg (in the Russian language) publishes the substance of the project drawn up by the minister of justice of a new law relating to Russian citizenship, its acquisition and its loss.

The legislation in force on the naturalization of foreigners dates from February 10, 1864. At its origin it accorded in its general principles with the stipulations contained in the codes of the states of western Europe. The modifications introduced during these last twenty years having destroyed this harmony, it becomes urgent to keep pace in this respect also with the movements of the day. Unfortunately our brother does not enlarge upon the nature of the modifications about to be introduced into the law relating to the naturalization of foreigners.

Concerning the acquisition of citizenship in another state by a Russian subject the Gazette is more explicit, until now, excepting article 325 of the penal code, and article 3 of the regulations on obligatory military service, we have no clearly defined stipulation. The new law will fill this void. It is thought to be no longer possible to have recourse to force to prevent Russian subjects from abandoning their nationality, but only, be it well understood, in cases when the naturalization abroad is real and not fictitious. The important point is to expose subterfuges, by which the duties incumbent upon every citizen are sought to be evaded. As a general rule, the passage of a Russian subject to a foreign nationality will be allowed in every case when this change shall not violate the existing obligations towards Russia.

Former Russian subjects naturalized in foreign countries shall, in case of their return, be considered as foreigners during one year at the maximum. At the expiration of this period they shall be considered as reintegrated eo ipso into Russian citizenship. Russian subjects who shall be recalled by the Government and who do not return within the time prescribed, shall be, on their return later, liable to confinement in a fortress for a time varying from four weeks to a year. A severe punishment shall be inflicted also upon Russian subjects who, to escape military service, shall have gone abroad. On their return into the Empire they shall undergo, if the crime has been committed in time of peace, confinement in a house of detention for the period of from six months to a year and a half, while if their departure has taken place in time of war they may be condemned to the loss of civil rights and to exile to the provinces far from European Russia, with confinement in a work-house, conformably to the stipulations of paragraph 1 of article 33 of the penal code.