Russia Orders Aids Testing Of Foreigners New Law Is Criticized As Ineffective, Xenophobic
President Boris N. Yeltsin signed a controversial law Monday requiring AIDS testing of all foreigners living in Russia and ordering the deportation of anyone whose results show they have been infected.
Although the new law is less restrictive than an earlier version passed by the Parliament and vetoed by Yeltsin in February, it drew criticism from AIDS activists as ineffective and a costly violation of human rights.
Russian citizens - who now travel abroad in great numbers - are not required by the law to submit to testing, and the government, which is already struggling to adhere to its budget, will have to finance the mandatory testing for many of the hundreds of thousands of foreigners in Russia.
The quasi-official Itar-Tass news agency reported that foreigners staying in Russia for more than three months will have the option of getting medical certification from doctors in their own countries in lieu of testing.
The AIDS-testing bill has been denounced by opponents from the start as an effort by disgruntled nationalists to blame foreigners for Russia’s many ills.