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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



persons located on the territory of one state but holding citizenship in another—that is, persons who are not citizens of their country of domicile.

The status of aliens in their country of domicile is regulated by domestic state legislation and by international agreements. Aliens may be accorded national status (equal rights with the local citizens), most-favored status (equal rights for all aliens without discrimination against citizens of a particular country), or a special status (specific, precisely established rights). Rights are granted to aliens, as a rule, on the basis of reciprocity.

In the USSR, aliens enjoy a number of political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of speech, press, and conscience; inviolability of person or dwelling; and privacy of correspondence. Aliens do not have the right to vote and are not subject to compulsory military service. Aliens who are persecuted for defending the interests of the toiling masses, for scholarly activity, or for engaging in a national liberation struggle are granted asylum.

In the sphere of civil and legal rights aliens in the USSR are accorded national status. They can acquire the same civil rights as Soviet citizens (to buy and dispose of property, to inherit property, to conclude contracts, to claim authorship of inventions) and the right to appeal to courts and notary institutions. Aliens may marry Soviet citizens or other aliens; they may adopt children or be adopted; guardianship may be established over them, and they themselves may be guardians. Except for persons who enjoy immunity from jurisdiction (diplomatic and consular representatives as well as certain other persons), aliens are subject to criminal responsibility for any crimes they commit on the territory of the USSR.

Aliens who are permanent residents of the USSR enjoy health care equal to that of Soviet citizens. There are certain legal limitations on the rights of aliens—for example, on moving within certain regions and on choosing certain occupations (ship’s captain, for one).

The USSR has concluded a number of specific agreements on the legal status of aliens—for example, treaties on the rendering of legal aid in civil, family, and criminal cases; citizenship; social insurance; and entering the country without a visa.

The USSR has a system of permissions for aliens with regard to entering and leaving the country: entry and exit are permitted when their passports have special visas; entry or exit without a visa is possible only when there is a specific agreement between the USSR and the state in question. There are simplified regulations for certain categories of aliens—for example, no special permission is required for the crews of foreign merchant ships when they are in port.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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