Former Russian citizens become Americans

August 14, 2008 7:39:34 PM PDT
Some Russian immigrants had one eye on their home country today as they were sworn in as United States citizens. The naturalization ceremony took place in San Jose.

Dmitri Plotnikov has waited 14 years for this moment. The Google employee was born and raised in Russia and on Thursday became a U.S. citizen.

He says Georgia took a risk in stirring up a territorial boundary dispute with Russia and it was like poking a sleeping giant with a stick.

"I get the sense that Russia, that Russia citizens have wanted to come back to the world stage for all this time, so sleeping but with a desire to wake up and I think Russia is waking up to some extent," said Plotnikov.

But Dmitri also believes his home country has reacted far too aggressively in Georgia, and that the United States should not add its military to the mix. That opinion is shared by fellow Russian immigrants, now American citizens.

"U.S. certainly doesn't want to get into anymore armed conflicts especially not with a big country like Russia that might have something to prove," said Russian immigrant and newly American citizen Yuriy Romanenko.

U.S. representative Zoe Lofgren was the keynote speaker at today's naturalization ceremony. She hopes diplomatic pressure by the U.S. and others persuades Russia to stand down.

"This cannot be the lone ranger here, this has to be the European Union, the world community, hopefully there will not be the necessity of armed conflict," said Rep Lofgren.

Conflict was not on the minds of most of these immigrants today. In all, 5012 took the oath of citizenship -- 56 from Russia and at least one optimistic the dispute in Georgia will soon be over.

"Russia is into military theatrics and I think that is what is going on. I think Russia is going to withdraw and everything is going to go back to where it started," said Plotnikov.

Like everyone at the ceremony, Dmriti Plotnikov now has a vote as to who will be the next president representing American foreign policy.


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