Ruling of the Constitutional Court of 8 December 2015 № 2740-O upon the petition of O.V. Kukharev

Legislation in question: Article 12 of the Federal Law “On the Citizenship of the Russian Federation”, Article 13 and 18 of the Federal Law “On the Citizenship of the Russian Federation”

Legal issue: Constitutionality of regulations making the acquiring of the Russian citizenship by birth dependent upon the procedure – either recognition or registration - which the parents of the person in question have chosen in order to claim their Russian citizenship.

Ratio decidendi: In Constitutional Court’s practice persons holding the citizenship of the USSR and entitled to the Russian citizenship by birth, as well as their children, inheriting such right based on the principle “jus sanguinis”, cannot loose it by any means other than their own free will, and there cannot be any decisive weight given to the method the parents have chosen to claim their Russian Federation’s citizenship in order to determine whether their children hold the citizenship of the Russian Federation by birth. However, given a lengthy period during which there exists a possibility to claim the Russian Federation citizenship by the persons who held the citizenship of the former USSR, and the fact that the legislature had established a simplified procedure for claiming the citizenship by the type of persons of the petitioner’s kind, the regulations in question cannot be considered infringing on the his constitutional rights.

Dissenting opinion:
  • The petition was not without a merit. Refusal of the claim for the Russian citizenship would be contradictory to the constitutional prohibition and opposing to the earlier legal positions taken by the Court. The State cannot appoint any other superior power, besides the power of people, and by accepting such power, the governmental bodies cannot change its constitutional basis, i.e. the composition of the nation. That means, above all, that the executive is not allowed to determine by its will, who among the people born with the citizenship should be included into the Russian nation and who should be denied, and under which procedural conditions they should claim such recognition or continuity of their citizenship.

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Subject area:
Public Law judicial review