Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday signed a resolution that will require Tajik citizens to carry international passports for foreign travel to Russia.
Previously, Tajik citizens could visit Russia using a domestic passport, while children under the age of 16 were able to travel to the country using only their birth certificate.
The new requirement had been in planning for nearly two years, since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Cabinet in late 2012 to introduce the passport requirements for nationals of all former Soviet states except fellow members of the Customs Union — Belarus and Kazakhstan — by 2015, according to a statement published Monday on the Cabinet website.
According to estimates by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 15 percent of Afghan opiates and 20 percent of its heroin pass through Tajikistan on their way to Russia, and Russian officials have reportedly said that tightening passport regulations for Tajik citizens would significantly reduce drug trafficking.
A number of Russians have also voiced displeasure at an influx of foreign workers, mostly from Central Asian nations, and accuse them of causing a surge in crime in the country.