Putin signs law to strip convicted terrorists of Russian citizenship

Putin signs law to strip convicted terrorists of Russian citizenship
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill allowing the cancelation of Russian citizenship for naturalized Russians convicted of terrorism-related crimes.

The bill was previously approved by both houses of the Russian parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council, on June 19 and 25 respectively. The legislation was put forward in April this year following a terrorist attack in the St. Petersburg Metro, which left 14 people dead and dozens injured. The attack was carried out by a Kyrgyz-born naturalized Russian citizen.

The new law was signed by Putin on Sunday and will come into force on September 1. It stipulates the deprivation of Russian citizenship if a person is found guilty of terrorism-related crimes, including an international terrorist act, calls for terrorism or the justification of it, and training, organization or participation in a terrorist group.

However, the rule is applied only to naturalized citizens, whose citizenship granting can be rescinded. A person would also be stripped of citizenship if they are convicted of armed rebellion, the violent seizure of power, hate crimes targeting certain ethnic or religious groups, an assassination attempt on a government or public official, or an attack on a person or a body under international protection, among other charges, if those crimes were connected with terrorism.

The decision to revoke the citizenship a person convicted of terrorism does not automatically apply to that person’s relatives.

A decision of granting a Russian citizenship to a foreigner can be also annulled for providing false documents during the application procedure, as well as for refusal to take an oath of allegiance, which is compulsory for newly-naturalized Russian citizens, according to the law.

The law also obliges those hoping to become Russian citizens to refuse a citizenship of another country, if it does not have an agreement with Russia on dual citizenship. Ukrainians applying for citizenship are to submit a written statement confirming they would give up their Ukrainian citizenship.

The Russian president also signed a number of other laws on Sunday, including one banning ‘anonymizer’ services and VPN (virtual private network) providers. The services could give their users access to websites, which are banned by the Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor.

The Russian leader previously stated that while there is no censorship in the country, including in the internet, the digital sphere must obey Russian laws.

“Everything should be allowed that is not prohibited by law,” Putin said speaking with young people about the freedom of the internet during the TV program ‘Grown-up talk with Vladimir Putin’ on July 21.

“For example, distribution of drugs, propaganda of terrorism, and the so-called ‘death groups’ urging the young to commit suicide and so on. Should we give the right to everyone to perform these destructive, essentially, criminal activities? No, of course not,” he said, adding that the same laws which regulate public and state affairs must be applied to the internet.