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Government and PoliticsAmid Controversy, Russian Lawmakers from Annexed Regions Propose Radical Change to Citizenship Laws

Amid Controversy, Russian Lawmakers from Annexed Regions Propose Radical Change to Citizenship Laws

The State Duma Faces an Unprecedented Bill Seeking to Undermine the Notion of Inalienable Citizenship Rights in Russia

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (TEH) – In an audacious move, representatives from the annexed territories of Crimea and Sevastopol, along with the self-proclaimed “LPR”, have submitted a contentious bill to the State Duma. The proposal seeks to transform the existing citizenship laws by introducing a mechanism for revoking Russian citizenship – a move that challenges the established constitutional norms.

The controversial proposal, now publicly available in the State Duma’s database, suggests redefining the concept of citizenship deprivation, not as an act of revocation, but as a “cessation”. This semantic sidestep is seen as a means to circumvent the constitutional prohibition against the deprivation of citizenship for those who acquired it by birth.

Four politicians have been at the forefront of this contentious move: Sergei Tsekov from Crimea, Ekaterina Altabaeva and Sergei Kolbin from Sevastopol, and Olga Bas from the LNR. In the explanatory note accompanying the bill, these legislators – all naturalized citizens representing territories of Ukraine at the Federation Council, following Russia’s declared annexation – argue for the application of equal standards to all Russian citizens.

Their note highlights that amendments had been adopted in April to strip Russians of obtained citizenship for certain crimes, including those indicating an active anti-war stance. The lawmakers contend that to ensure equality, these rules ought to be applicable to those holding naturalized citizenship as well.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin remains silent on its position regarding the bill. However, within the Federation Council, it has attracted stern criticism from Andrey Klihas, the esteemed chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee on Constitutional Legislation. “If a federal politician, including the senator of the Russian Federation, passes a law contrary to the Constitution, to the foundations of the constitutional order, then for such a politician this is a serious reason to consider whether he can continue to hold his office,” Klihas sharply noted in a telegram message.

Earlier in April 2023, President Vladimir Putin ratified a law sanctioning the deprivation of acquired citizenship for alleged misrepresentations concerning the military and its purported “discrediting”. The new legislation renders Russian citizenship vulnerable to revocation not only due to terrorist or extremist acts but also in cases where the FSB concludes that a citizen’s actions “create a threat to the national security” of Russia.

The law provides for an appeal mechanism, allowing individuals ten days from the date of citizenship cessation to challenge the decision. It further extends potential citizenship deprivation to those found guilty of evading military and alternative civilian service, desertion, and participation in activities of “unwanted organizations”.

As the controversy unfolds, the Kremlin has yet to announce its stance on the bill. Despite the silence from the higher echelons of power, voices like that of Klihas continue to challenge this audacious proposition, reflecting the deep-seated tension that this radical proposal has incited within the corridors of Russian politics.

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Russia Desk
Russia Desk
The Eastern Herald’s Russia Desk validates the stories published under this byline. That includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on easternherald.com.

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