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.

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