The Russian lower house finally approved a bill allowing naturalized Russians to be stripped of their citizenship if convicted of terrorism-related crimes. The bill also simplifies the naturalization procedure for Ukrainian citizens.
The legislation was put forward in April this year by the leaders of all four State Duma factions. This was after a Kyrgyz-born naturalized Russian citizen carried out a terrorist attack in the St. Petersburg Metro, killing 14 people and injuring dozens innocent civilians.
President Vladimir Putin spoke on the issue:
“In line with the Russian constitution, we cannot strip anyone of their citizenship. However, we may cancel relevant decisions that served as grounds for obtaining Russian citizenship. We will consult with our lawyers and I think that such decisions will be made in the near future.”
The original draft proposed amendments that would override the article of the Russian Constitution which directly prohibits Russians to be stripped of their citizenship. Russian lawmakers decided that this rule cannot be applied to naturalized citizens, as technically such a move simply means the cancellation of the previous decision to grant them citizenship.
According to the bill’s explanatory notes, it would help to protect citizens against attack by deterring individuals who have obtained citizenship from joining terrorist groups.
The bill now requires approval from the upper house of parliament – the Federation Council – and the president’s signature to come into force.