Court name: Constituional Court of the Russian Federation
Date of decision:

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Karelia requested to review the constitutionality of Article 22(2) of the Federal Law On Russian Citizenship ('Citizenship Law'), which established that the fact that a person had been confirmed by a court to have committed or prepared to commit one of the offences in the established list of offences related to terrorist activities, was equivalent to the fact that such person had knowingly given false information about their intention to comply with the Constitution of the Russian Federation when when applying for the Russian nationality, which constitutes a ground to revoke their nationality.

The applicant argued that the provision of Article 22(2) of the Citizenship Law might be unconstitutional to the extent it allows a person to be stripped of their citizenship where such person had been convicted under “terrorism” charges before this provision entered into legal force. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation confirmed the constitutionality of this provision by ruling that it does not introduce new rules but only clarifies the already existing ones, and that it does not establish any liability measures. Consequently, Article 22(2) of the Citizenship Law is not subject to the prohibition of retroactive effect of the provisions establishing or aggravating liability set out by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Court name: Penza Regional Court
Date of decision:

In July 2017, the applicant was punished with deportation from Russia for violating the rules of stay of foreign nationals and was placed in a detention centre for foreign nationals until execution of the deportation order. It was later found that the applicant had lost his Tajik citizenship and deportation to Tajikistan therefore became impossible. The applicant successfully challenged the decision on his deportation due to the impossibility of executing the deportation order, and was released from the detention centre.

Court name: ECtHR
Date of decision:

After discovering that the applicant had omitted information when applying for Russian nationality, his nationality was annulled and an entry ban was enforced. The Court applied a two-pronged approach to assess whether the deprivation of the applicant’s nationality was an interference with his right to private and family life, which assessed (i) the consequences for the applicant, and (ii) whether the measure was arbitrary. In light of the far-reaching consequences of this decision and its apparent arbitrary nature, the Court held that the annulment interfered with the applicant's rights guaranteed under Article 8 ECHR. Further, the Court found that the expulsion of the applicant from Russian territory failed to respect the principle of proportionality, given the lack of evidence of any threat to Russian national security posed by the applicant, thereby violating Article 8.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

This case concerns a stateless applicant born in the Tajikistan Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, who was arrested for homelessness in Russia. The District Court ruled that he had to be preventively detained until his expulsion to Tajikistan. Russia tried to obtain travel documentation for the applicant, overlooking the fact that the applicant was not a Tajik national and that Tajikistan had no legal obligation to admit him, resulting in his preventive detention for two years. The Court found a violation of Article 5 ECHR, as the applicant’s detention was not carried out in good faith due to the lack of a realistic prospect of his expulsion and the domestic authorities’ failure to conduct the proceedings with due diligence.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The applicants, a stateless Palestinian from Syria and two Syrian nationals, entered Russia in 2013 and were kept in a detention centre before their expulsion to Syria. The Court held that the Government’s actions breached the applicant’s rights provided under Articles 2 and 3. The Court also stated that Articles 5(4) and 5(1)(f) had been violated with regards to their detention. The Court also held that the restricted contact with their respective representatives had breached Article 34 of the Convention. 

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The Georgian born applicant held former USSR citizenship until 2000, when she became stateless. Subsequently, she applied for residence registration in Moscow but was dismissed at first instance and on following appeals, due to failing to confirm her Georgian citizenship or apply for Russian citizenship. The Court ruled that there had been a violation of Article 2 § 1 of Protocol No. 4 and Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

Two applications (joined before the Court) concerned the removal of and the refusal to exchange passports, leaving the applicants stateless and without identity documentation, after the relevant Russian authorities found their Russian citizenship to be granted erroneously. The Court held the withdrawal of identity documents, which affected the exercise of their rights and freedoms in their daily lives, was a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

Court name: Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The applicant, who is stateless, was fined for violating immigration rules, and an expulsion order was issued against him, with a detention in an immigration detention centre prior to the expulsion. The applicant appealed against the detention, but the Court found no reasons to question the lawfulness of detention, as the law allows to detain foreigners and stateless persons prior to their expulsion. 

Court name: Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The applicant is a stateless person, who committed an administrative offence of drug abuse, and was sentenced to administrative detention and expulsion. The Court considered that in his specific circumstances, which included statelessness and long-term residence in Russia since childhood, expulsion would be a disproportionate measure at risk of violating Russia's international human rights commitments, and reduced the sentence to administrative detention only. 

Court name: Supreme Court
Date of decision:

The applicant is a stateless person, who has been fined and ordered to leave Russia due to lack of appropriate immigration documents. He was discovered in Russia again in 2014, fined, and an expulsion order was issued against him. The Court found that the applicant's statelessness does not exempt him from having to comply with immigration regulations. 

Court name: Constitutional Court
Date of decision:

The applicant attempted to renounce his Russian nationality as being a national of Russian Federation violated his religious beliefs. The request was refused, as he failed to provide proof of having another nationality or a guarantee of acquisition of another nationality upon renouncing his Russian nationality. The Constitutional Court ruled against the applicant, stating that prohibition on renunciation of a nationality that results in statelessness is in line with international norms, and that the mere possession of Russian nationality cannot be seen as a violation of religious beliefs. 

Court name: Vladimir Regional Court
Date of decision:

The applicant, a Russian-speaking non-citizen of Estonia, applied for asylum in Russia, claiming discrimination on the basis of ethnicity in Estonia. The Court considers the problematic situation of non-citizens of Estonia, but concludes that the circumstances of the applicant's claim do not constitute basis for protection in Russia under the asylum framework. 

Court name: Belgorod Regional Court
Date of decision:

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. 

Court name: Supreme Court of Saha Republic
Date of decision:

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. 

Court name: Supreme Court of Komi Republic
Date of decision:

The applicant attempted to renounce her Russian nationality without proof of having another nationality or a guarantee of acquiring one. The Court decided that the constitutional right to change one's nationality does not amount to an absolute right to unilaterally renounce a nationality, and that it is not unconstitutional to impose a number of conditions on nationals before allowing renunciation, among which the condition of having secured an alternative nationality. Prohibition of renunciation of nationality with an aim of becoming stateless has been ruled as complying with international standards, in particular with the European Convention on Nationality. 

Court name: Bezenchuk Regional Court of Samara Oblast
Date of decision:

The applicant was charged with an administrative offence for not having proof of permission to be on the Russian territory. The Court ruled that the applicant's identity has not been established with a sufficient degree of certainty to charge him with an administrative violation. If the applicant lacks identity documents, the authorities need to follow prescribed procedures for establishing identity before such person can be charged with an administrative offence. 

Court name: Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation
Date of decision:

The applicant challenged the Constitutionality of the Law on Citizenship, requiring Russian citizens who want to renounce their citizenship to have another citizenship, or a guarantee of being able to acquire a different citizenship. The Court determined that Russian citizens have the right to change their citizenship, but not an unconditional right to renounce it, referring to article 15 of the UDHR and the European Convention on Nationality. The prohibition on renunciation of Russian nationality with the aim of becoming a stateless person has been found to be in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Court name: High Court of Crimean Republic (Верховный Суд Республики Крым)
Date of decision:

The case concerns an applicant who was a Ukrainian citizen and a resident of Crimean Peninsular at the time of Crimean annexation to Russia. He was originally issued with a Russian passport in 2014, which was subsequently confiscated as a government initiated verification procedure established he did not comply with the relevant residency requirements to be considered a Russian citizen. The Court, on appeal, sided with the applicant, confirming his right to Russian citizenship despite not complying with all the formal requirements. 

In its reasoning the Court relied heavily on the importance to take all the relevant and factual evidence when establishing the legal fact of residence, and basing it on a broad range of evidence about the person's personal and professional life, as well as intentions, not the merely the strict formalistic rules of residence registration, especially in light of consequences of denial of access to citizenship for the applicant, and the circumstances of state succession. The Court refers extensively to international legal instruments, even those Russia hasn't ratified, such as the European Convention on Nationality and its anti-statelessness safeguards, the CoE Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession, as well as art. 15 UDHR, and other international legal instruments.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

This case concerns a person born in 1962 in Uzbekistan, who has been residing in Russia since 1990. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the applicant did not acquire a new citizenship, and was therefore stateless. He was arrested and detained until expulsion because of his undocumented status, and released after two years based on the expiry of the time-limit for enforcement of the expulsion order. The applicant brought the case to the ECtHR on the grounds that appeal procedures and the conditions of his detention had been inadequate. The Court ruled that there had been a violation of Articles 3 and 5 ECHR.

Court name: Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (Конституционный суд Российской Федераци)
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in Georgia and moved to Leningrad before the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he was educated and got married. He was never able to exchange his Soviet passport for a Russian passport, was ordered to be expelled while the expulsion was not possible due to his statelessness. His attorney has repeatedly appealed the deportation ruling but in vain.

The decision changed judicial practice and provided a legal ground for the release of stateless persons from detention, even though the amendments to the legislation ordered by the Constitutional Court are still pending (as of May 2021).