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.
The applicant challenged the constitutionality of the Russian Law on Nationality provision that requires a national to obtain a nationality of another state, or a guarantee of acquisition of another nationality, before being able to renounce the nationality of Russian Federation. He attempted to renounce Russian nationality, but the request was refused as he did not show proof of having another nationality or a guarantee of acquisition of another nationality.
The applicant argued that having Russian nationality contradicts his religious convictions, and he should therefore be able to renounce it without any obstacles.
The Court reasoned as follows:
“[…] in accordance with commonly accepted principles and norms of international law and the Constitution of Russian Federation nationals of Russian Federation are guaranteed a right to change their nationality, but not a right to unilaterally renounce it. The prohibition on renunciation of Russian nationality with an aim of obtaining the status of a stateless person, which is the effect of point «в» of Article 20 of the Federal Law “On Nationality of Russian Federation ”, is in line with international practice, in particular the European Convention on Nationality of 1997, which among one of the principles on which the norms regulating nationality issues should be based, lists the avoidance of statelessness (point “b” of Article 4).”
“According to Article 6 (part 2) of the Constitution of Russian Federation, every national of Russian Federation enjoys all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution on the territory of the Russian Federation. The mere possession of Russian nationality cannot be considered as an obstacle to the realisation of any constitutional rights and freedoms, including the freedom of religion.”
The Court ruled against the applicant, denying him the right to renounce Russian nationality if that results in statelessness.