Support The Moscow Times!

Foreign Drivers to Be Forced to Get Russian License

After an Armenian citizen caused a large-scale road accident in the Moscow region on Saturday lawmakers proposed a bill that would require foreigners to receive Russian licenses.

Eighteen people died and more than 60 were injured in a car accident that took place near the town of Podolsk in the Moscow region, after a truck carrying gravel with an Armenian driver ran into a 64-passenger bus at full speed.

The truck driver, a 46 year old Armenian named Grachya Arutyunyan, is expected to be charged on Monday. He has an Armenian license and his work in Russia was justified only by a document that he received in his homeland.

According to current legislation, he may face a punishment of up to seven years in jail.

State Duma deputies said Monday that a new bill would be considered by the lower chamber this fall.

"Those who work with licenses received in their own countries will be required within half a year to complete the necessary training, pass exams, and receive a Russian license," said the deputy head of the Duma's transport committee, Mikhail Bryachak, in comments carried by Izvestia on Monday.

Observers, though, expressed doubts the bill would work due to corruption in the agencies that issue licenses. They also said the bill should require commercial cargo vehicles to receive licenses, as current law only requires passenger services to be licensed.

A day of mourning was announced in Moscow and the Moscow region on Monday.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.