Russian civil war kids to get Spanish passports

17th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 July 2007, MOSCOW - Some of the descendants of Spanish youngsters sent to Russia during the 1936-1939 civil war in the Iberian nation could be eligible for citizenship in their ancestral homeland, a spokesman for the expatriate community said here Monday.

17 July 2007

MOSCOW - Some of the descendants of Spanish youngsters sent to Russia during the 1936-1939 civil war in the Iberian nation could be eligible for citizenship in their ancestral homeland, a spokesman for the expatriate community said here Monday.

Francisco Mansilla, president of Moscow's Centro Español (Spanish Center), told Efe that the great majority of the Spanish emigrants and their descendants in Russia over the last few years had obtained Spanish citizenship and the associated benefits.

At the same time, he said that the future law, announced on Monday in Mexico by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, will permit "some of the grandchildren" whose parents did not do so for various reasons to opt for citizenship.

According to the Centro Español in Moscow, living currently in Russia are some 315 "war children," who - along with their own children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren - form a community of 1,200 to 1,300 people.

Of the approximately 32,000 Republican children who were evacuated to other countries during the Civil War, some 3,000 were transported to the Soviet Union, which backed the forces of Spain's elected government against the rebels led by Gen. Francisco Franco, who were supported in their ultimately victorious fight by Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy.

The government of the USSR helped those children retain their language and culture, and provided them with education and professional training, but - in contrast to their fellow exiles in other countries - Moscow did not allow them to return to Spain after the Civil War was over.

Three years after the death of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1953, however, the USSR allowed the repatriation of the Spaniards, and some 60 percent of them took advantage of the move to return to Spain.

Zapatero said Monday in Mexico that "hundreds of thousands" of grandchildren of emigrants would be able to acquire Spanish nationality when Parliament gives the green light to the bill to reform the access to citizenship approved by the government. EFE

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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