The Russian lower house has approved a bill allowing naturalized Russians to be stripped of their citizenship if convicted of terrorism-related crimes.
Last April, the legislation was put forward after a Kyrgyz-born naturalized Russian citizens bombed the St-Petersburg metro, killing 14 people and wounded dozens. The leaders of all four State Duma factions joined their efforts to make the legislation pass.
Although the Russian Constitution forbids stripping citizenship of those who were born in Russia, the rules regarding naturalized citizens are different. According to Russian lawmakers, removing the previously granted citizenship of the naturalized citizens is possible.
The new bill will help protect citizens against future attacks by enabling the authorities to strip the citizenship of individuals who have joined a terrorist group.
After the first reading, the bill was amended with an article introducing an oath of allegiance to receive the Russian citizenship.
It is now up to the upper house of the parliament to approve the bill and get the president’s signature to come into force.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the issue in a televised interview last April stating that those who acquired Russian citizenship at birth won’t lose it due to the Russian constitution.
“In line with the Russian constitution, we cannot strip any one 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.”
Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee, stated that the chamber is ready to approve the legislation and put the bill into action.
Adding to that, the chairman of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, also supported the bill but also specified that it will not affect those who acquired citizenship at birth.