The amendments aim to make it as simple as possible for children living abroad, one parent of whom is a Russian citizen, to obtain Russian citizenship.
The amendment is needed because in the cases of children living abroad, one parent of whom is a Russian citizen, the current provisions in the Federal Law On Russian Federation Citizenship, require the consent of the foreign citizen parent, and this often becomes an insurmountable obstacle in the way of obtaining Russian citizenship for children living abroad and who are foreign citizens or stateless persons.
Not having Russian citizenship also makes it impossible for the Russian authorities (through diplomatic or consular support) to protect the interests of these children, and makes it difficult for the Russian citizenship-holding parent to exercise their parental rights within at least the minimum guaranteed by Russian Federation law.
The foreign citizen parent ends up in a more advantageous situation in terms of being able to exercise their parental rights, as they have at their disposal the full range of legal mechanisms provided for in the foreign country’s laws.
This inequality in the legal status of the foreign citizen parent and the Russian citizen parent contradicts the Russian Federation Family Code, which guarantees equal rights and responsibilities for both parents. The principle of equal rights applies not only to internal family life but also to other areas of social relations, including concerning citizenship. The draft law’s aim is to give both parents equal rights in accordance with the Russian Federation Family Code’s provisions.
The possibility of obtaining Russian citizenship for a child at the request of the parent who holds Russian citizenship and without the consent of the foreign citizen parent does not contradict existing international law concerning children’s citizenship. Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, for example, obligates parties to the Convention to provide children with citizenship in accordance with their laws. The Convention contains no provisions requiring the consent of both parents before citizenship can be granted.
Constant requests to abolish the provision requiring the consent of the foreign citizen parent come from Russian organisations and individuals abroad. A number of well-known disputes have taken place, in the settlement of which the existence or absence of Russian citizenship for the child has played a key part.
The proposed amendment will thus create an additional mechanism for protecting the interests of Russian citizens living abroad.