Feudal Approach to Citizenship Is Unacceptable in Democratic Ukraine

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On July 22, while Gennady Korban, a businessman and political figure, is trying to return to Ukraine, his passport of a citizen of Ukraine was seized. “At the moment I am at the entrance to Ukraine, at Smolnitsa border crossing point. It still seems to me that this is some kind of misunderstanding or a hoax. «They confiscated my passport of a citizen of Ukraine. I am not allowed to go home to Ukraine, to Dnipro, where my sick parents live, to the city and country that I love and defend since 2014 and have been in charge of the Headquarters of the Territorial Defence since February 24, 2022», he wrote on Facebook.

This was preceded by information in the Ukrainian media that the president could sign a decree depriving of citizenship businessman Igor Kolomoisky the head of Dnipro Territorial Defence Center and businessman Gennady Korban, and people's deputy Vadim Rabinovich. A photo of the decree was also published on his page by Sergei Vlasenko, a member of the Batkivshchyna party. The document was not signed and its authenticity has not been confirmed.

After the situation with Gennady Korban, the Ukrainian community expressed criticism of these events, because they are illegal. Whatever the possible reasons for adding certain people to the list for deprivation of citizenship because of a power conflict, media and political strengthening or removal from the register of oligarchs. Such decisions should be based on the legislative acts of Ukraine.

In particular, Article 17 of the Law "On Citizenship of Ukraine" of 2011 determines that the citizenship of Ukraine is terminated:

  • as a result of renunciation of citizenship of Ukraine;
  • due to loss of citizenship of Ukraine;
  • on the grounds provided for by international treaties of Ukraine.

Article 25 of the Constitution of Ukraine states that a citizen of Ukraine cannot be deprived of citizenship and the right to change it. A citizen of Ukraine cannot be expelled from Ukraine or extradited to another state. Ukraine guarantees the guardianship and protection of its citizens who are outside its borders.” Article 4 of the Constitution establishes that there is the only citizenship in Ukraine, and the grounds for acquiring and terminating citizenship of Ukraine are determined by law.

That is, different concepts appear in the legislation of Ukraine: "deprivation", "termination" of citizenship, and there is a certain legal conflict. However, the fact that the Ukrainian community is most outraged by is the use of power, including the ability to terminate Ukrainian citizenship, manually at the request of the country's leaders.

«There cannot be such a feudal attitude to the concept and essence of citizenship in democratic Ukraine. There are points that should be improved in the legislation in order to take into account the fact of multiple citizenship among millions of Ukrainians. Over the past 5.5 years, the Global Ukraine Foundation has carried out systematic work to ensure an adequate and modern legislative framework that takes into account the realities in which Ukraine and the global world live. And the fact that a passport is taken away based on personal antipathies is absolutely not perceived by millions of Ukrainians who strive for democracy and give their lives for it! For us, Ukraine is not a feudal country! It's a shame that the team of President Zelensky repeats the mistakes of the team of the previous President Poroshenko. In a democratic country, respect for human rights is basic. Therefore, even in the context of a war, civil society must be vigilant and put pressure on the authorities so that Ukraine becomes an example of democracy for the whole world,» Violeta Moscalu comments, a founder of the Global Ukraine Foundation, a professor at the University of Lorraine (France).

The Global Ukraine Foundation repeatedly emphasised during the advocacy campaign on multiple citizenship that Ukraine needs a new law on citizenship that would regulate all aspects, including the rights of multiple citizenship for Ukrainians, the issue of acquiring and losing citizenship, so that in the future there would be no ambiguous situations and the use of the institution of citizenship as a political weapon to deal with opponents to be impossible.

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