This week the usual suspects – TASS, RIA Novosti, Ukraina.ru, RT, Lenta.ru announced that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko intends to deprive of Ukrainian citizenship all those who live in Crimea and were forced to take Russian passports because of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.
“With this initiative, Petro Poroshenko actually recognizes the inhabitants of the peninsula as citizens of Russia” RT declared.
Meanwhile the Russia appointed leader of Crimea Sergei Aksionov rushed to reassure that, we never insisted that people give up their Ukrainian passports, except for civil servants, law enforcement personnel and the judiciary”.
President Poroshenko has put forth amendments to the existing citizenship law to be considered by parliament. The changes the President proposes will not deprive Crimeans of Ukrainian citizenship as Russian media claim, but rather will guarantee those citizenship rights.
Currently Ukraine’s citizenship law states that a person loses Ukrainian citizenship when he or she voluntarily takes on another citizenship. Poroshenko proposes that the law be amended to reflect cases when people take other citizenship unwillingly. The explanatory note Poroshenko submitted with the amendment proposal to parliament establishes “additional grounds for the loss of citizenship” but provides safeguards for those who live in the occupied territories of Ukraine”. Willing collaboration with Russian occupying authorities, participation in elections or serving in the army of another state though are grounds for loss of citizenship.
Russian media completely ignore the fact that the proposed amendments safeguard Ukrainian citizenship in cases where new citizenship is taken under coercion as is the case in illegally annexed Crimea.
The proposed amendments have a long way to go before becoming law and there is no guarantee that parliament will actually approve the President’s amendments. But these are insignificant details for the Kremlin propaganda machine and their anti-Ukrainian agenda.