The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for Member States to withdraw citizenship obtained by deception, even if the effect is to also withdraw citizenship of the Union, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality.
The applicant's Ukrainian nationality was withdrawn rendering him stateless, and subsequently a travel ban of 3 years was imposed on him due to a procedural violation of the border crossing rules. The applicant argued that the travel ban is disproportionate, that he enjoys lawful residence in Ukraine, has very close ties with Ukraine, and that the ban interferes with his right to challenge the deprivation of nationality which rendered him stateless in person in court.
The applicant has been residing in Russia since 2002 with a Russian passport. His request to renew his passport in 2011 was denied, reason being that his previous passport was not issued in accordance with applicable rules, the latter having been confiscated on the basis of the same decision. The refusal to renew the applicant's passport rendered him stateless, which was considered by the court as a strong argument to rule in favour of the applicant and declare the decision of the responsible authority unlawful.
The applicant is a former USSR citizen, who has been residing on the territory of Russian Federation since 1990. He has received an "insert" into his passport in 1994 as evidence of him being recognised as a Russian citizen, which was a standard procedure at a time. In 2011 a "verification" took place - a policy that resulted in questioning of many citizenships acquired after the fall of the Soviet Union, including the applicant. The Court sided with the applicant, considering among others that refusal to recognise him as a Russian citizen would result in his statelessness.