Svetlana Gannushkina: 'The draft law on the revocation of citizenship is in essence absurd'

posted 5 Jun 2017, 00:44 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Jun 2017, 00:44 ]
31 May 2017 

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Memorial Human Rights Centre

By Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of the Civic Assistance Committee, board member of the Memorial Human Rights Centre and director of its Migration Rights network, and laureate of the Moscow Helsinki Group’s human rights awards 

The draft law on the revocation of citizenship is in essence absurd. 

On 19th May the State Duma held the first reading of a draft of a federal law ‘On introducing changes in articles 22 and 38 of the federal law “On citizenship of the Russian Federation”’ (on clarifying the grounds for the annulling of decisions relating to Russian citizenship). 

The State Duma deputies have come up with the idea of annulling decisions granting citizenship to extremists on the grounds that they wittingly, as it were, gave false information when agreeing to abide by Russian laws. 

The Russian Constitution does not permit the deprivation of citizenship by annulling a lawful decision to grant it. Article 6, Part 3 of the Constitution states: ‘A citizen of the Russian Federation cannot be deprived of his or her citizenship or of the right to change it.’ And, also, the RF law ‘On citizenship’, Article 4, Part 2, reads: ‘Citizenship of the Russian Federation is uniform and equal regardless of the basis on which it is acquired.’ 

The draft law is in essence absurd. It is impossible to prove that, having promised to observe the Constitution and laws of the Russian Federation, an individual wittingly lied and intended, ten years later, to break their undertaking. If they have committed a crime, then they should be tried in a court as a Russian citizen, in line with the law under which all are equal. The proposed law is the same as ruling a marriage fictitious from the start when one of its partners later deceives the other – on the grounds that when they married they promised to love each other. 

But logic is alien to our wise men. 

We should, however, take note that this absurd idea was not thought up by Duma representatives on their own. To start with, [FSB director] Bortnikov called labour migrants a breeding-ground for terrorism, and then Putin declared that decisions to grant citizenship to ‘not-nice people’ could be revoked. 

Translated by Mary McAuley