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From Russia with Love – How Do Russians Acquire an Identity? – Part 2

In part 1 of our series, we remember that the Lektor decoder was so valuable to MI6 that they tried to get their hands on it.  It was in fact part of a trap in which a cipher clerk, Tatiana, and Bond would steal the decoder. After it was stolen, SPECTRE came after them in an assassination attempt to get the Lektor and sell it back to the Soviets.

Just like the Lektor is highly valuable and sought after, so are Russian passports, the physical proof one is who they say they are.  Now let’s look at the importance and requirements for Russians to maintain and prove their identity.

Once a Russian citizen reaches the age of fourteen, the citizen then is required by law to carry an internal passport which is issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Russian Federation. These passports are only issued to Russian citizens. These passports are very similar to travel documents issued to Russian citizens; however, the internal passport will have no Latin lettering anywhere in the passport – it is only meant to be used within the Russian Federation and is not a valid document to travel outside of the country. Inside of the internal passport, Russians have all of the necessary information which follows them through the rest of their lives. Passports are meant to be updated at all important life events.

The first page of the document states the name, sex, date and place of birth of the citizen. Following this, there are pages which document required information about each Russian citizen. Russian citizens are required to register themselves in the place that the live. This registration is maintained within the internal passport. After the age of 18, males are required to serve military service or receive a deferment for study – this information is also included in the internal passport. If a citizen is married, the registration of their marriage is located within the passport. If a citizen has children under the age of fourteen, their identities are registered within their parenrussia-nesting-2ts’ passports. Within the internal passport, citizens also keep their driver’s license and any other documents required within the Russian Federation – these would vary based on the person’s profession, age, or special talents.

On the eighteenth page of the internal passport, information is found about the citizen’s blood type and tax identification number.

Internal passports must be renewed at certain points in the life of a citizen in the Russian Federation. The first required renewal is at age twenty. After that, the passport must be renewed again at age forty-five. After the age of forty-five, the internal passport is good for the rest of the life of the citizen

Citizens of the Russian Federation who serve in the armed forces are given additional information in their passport that register their military service history as well as the place of their service.

Citizens of the Russian Federation who enroll in higher education usually enroll at the age of seventeen or eighteen, after their graduation from secondary school. Upon enrolling in a institute of higher learning, a student is issued another form of identification meant to be used in conjunction with their internal passport – this is called a “Student Ticket” or студенческий билет. This document is meant to be used on campus for student privileges around facilities on campus such as libraries, sports facilities, and cafeterias. Most universities in Russia operate on a closed-campus system; in order to enter the dormitories, students are usually given a separate piece of identification called a “Permission” пропуск which must be displayed with the Stufrom russia with lovedent Ticket in order to enter dormitories or classroom buildings on campus. The Student Ticket is also used by university students around town to receive student discounts on services like public transportation or for discounted entry into museums and movie theatres. Each year of a student’s studies, the Student Ticket is updated to show the year that the student is enrolled. This is done by the leader of the department affixing his or her signature and a stamp from the university on one page of the Student Ticket. The other page of the Student Ticket gives a photo of the person and their name.

Russians who travel outside of the Russian Federation are required to have an international or external passport for travel. This passport is very similar to the internal passport in every sense, except that the internal passport does not use biometric information and the internal passport does not have any Latin lettering. The biometric information in the external passport includes fingerprint, handwriting sample, height, weight, eye color and voice. The international passport includes a firstrussia-map-1 page which states the citizen’s name in Cyrillic and Latin lettering as well as the place and date of birth, sex, and passport number – which is different from the internal passport number. These passports are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and are also overseen by the Federal Immigration Service. Russian citizens must renew external passports every ten years. The rest of the passport’s pages are blank for visas to foreign nations. Currently, only twenty-eight percent of Russians have an external passport according to TheVillage.ru.

As you can see from the past two posts, Russian identity is complex, even more complex in the digital age.  Let the Global Data Consortium’s Worldview platform be your Lekto decoder to know your customers.

 

russia

From Russia with Love – How Do Russians Acquire an Identity? – Part 1

The 1963 James Bond action thriller, “From Russia with Love”, starring Sean Connery, see Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE.  The Lektor decoder, at it was called, was a highLektor decoderly sought after decoding machine, used by Soviet Intelligence to de-compile coded and highly sensitive documents.

Decrypting a Russian name can be highly complex and sought after as well, especially in the electronic identity space.  Let’s examine exactly how and what is in a Russian name – one of the verifiable attributes of a digital identity.

A Russian begins to acquire an identity before he or she is ever born. The first element of a Russian’s identity is his or her name – two parts of the name are determined before the Russian is even born. First there is the family name (фамилия) which is taken from the father. At marriage, Russian women take their husband’s last name. The last name, if it is a Russian last name, is changed to show gender. Russian male last names ending in -skij (ский) will change to -skaya (ская) for a woman. Russian last names ending in a consonant for men will add an a or ya (а/я) to show the female version of the name. If a family name is not Russian (Jewish, Estonian, German, Latvian, etc.) then the last name will not changeThe second part of a Russian’s name determined before birth is the middle name or patronymic (отчество) this name is also derived from the father and translates as son of or daughter of. All Russians who share the same father will have the same patronymic, again changed to show gender. This name is derived from the father’s name with the addition of a suffix -ovich/evich (ович/евич) for sons and –ovna/evna (овна/евна) for girls.

The first name that a Russian gets is chosen entirely by the parents or family and can show particular traditions within a family. For example, if a family is very religious, they may choose to name their child after the saint for that day on the Russian Orthodox calendar. Russians may also name the child after significant family members, writers, people of renown in Russian culture, or after favorite russian nesting doll musicians. Some Russians who are more western choose to give their children more European names like Rutger or Margarita. From the first name, many diminutive or nicknames can be formed. These are usually only used within family or friend groups. Male and female names that have the same roots will form the same diminutives. For example, a man named Evgenij (Евгений) and a woman named Evgeniya (Евгения) will both have the same basic diminutive of Zhenya (Женя). This name can then be further diminutivized by adding further suffixes and creating names like Zhenochka (Женочка).

The Global Data Consortium’s Worldview platform has one of the most unique and privileged access solutions to identify Russian individuals.  As with the Lektor decoder, it can be one of the most sought after solutions to help fight fraud in the international digital world.

Be on the lookout for Part 2 of our series – How Do Russians Acquire an Identity?