No. 591.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Lothrop.

No. 84]

Sir: I inclose for your information a copy of an interesting dispatch from our consul at Odessa on the changes in the Russian laws touching expatriation, etc., to which your No. 103 called attention.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure in No. 84.]

Mr. Heenan to Mr. Porter.

No. 80.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that in addition to the regulations regarding foreigners, it is intended now by the Russian Government to issue special rules for granting permission to Russians to become subjects or citizens of a foreign power.

Propositions on the subject which are out lay down the general principle that the right of becoming a Russian subject, or of leaving such allegiance, is only personal, so that children who have not reached their fall age and have no personal will of their own must remain in the allegiance in which they were born, even when their parents have changed their allegiance.

[Page 958]

On the strength of these rules will he laid down for children taken abroad by their parents and who have discontinued to be Russian subjects the following:

  • No. 1.—No person can receive permission to renounce his allegiance while he is liable to military service, and must first serve his time.
  • No. 2.—Persons who are not of age, and such males as have only reached the age of fifteen years, if they are under the control of their parents, will be entered in the release documents of their parents, but will continue to be considered Russian subjects until they attain the age of twenty-one years. After reaching that age they can only be permitted to renounce the Russian allegiance subsequent to their carrying out all the rules laid down for that purpose.
  • No. 3.—Persons who have not attained full age and whose names were entered in the release documents of their parents must serve their time of military service on attaining the age of twenty-one years.

The following additions will be made to the rules of the general military service: Males can only be permitted to renounce Russian allegiance after having served their full time, or on drawing lots which will exempt them from serving in the regular army.

The minister of the interior, however, after consulting with the minister for war, will have the right to address a special request to the committee of ministers to grant permission to persons who have not served their time in the ranks of the army to become foreign subjects. At the same time it is intended to add certain rules to the military service statutes, to the effect that Russian subjects who are liable to military service and have left the country without permission and before serving their time, in the event that they should return to Russia, be it even with a foreign passport which shows that they have become foreign subjects, will at once be compelled to join the regular army on the same conditions as transgressors.

This rule will be in keeping with the corresponding rules in the legislation of those countries where general military service exists.

Persons who were formerly Russian subjects, and who have renounced their allegiance, should they return to Russia even with a foreign passport, will be considered Russian subjects if they remain in the country for more than one year. By this last paragraph the Russian Government strikes a severe, but at the same time a proper, blow at an abuse which causes annoyance to Russia and other countries.

I have met many naturalized American citizens who were formerly Russian subjects, and it has always been a source of great surprise to me to find how devotedly they cling to Russia, and how great is their love of country; they appreciate very fully the advantages which their American passports give them, but I venture to predict that many of these individuals will renounce their allegiance to the United States rather than be forced to leave Russia.

I am, etc.,

Thos. E. Heenan.