Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Russia: First Criminal Prosecution for Not Reporting Second Citizenship

(Jan. 13, 2015) On December 9, 2014, the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation (the federal authority in charge of criminal investigations directly subordinated to the President of Russia) announced that it has charged a Russian individual for not reporting to the authorities that he has permanent resident status in a foreign state. (A Criminal Case Is Initiated in St. Petersburg Province Based on the Fact of Not Performing the Obligation of a Russian Citizen to Inform Authorities About Permanent Residency Abroad, Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation website (Dec. 9, 2014) (in Russian).) According to the Investigation Committee, about three years ago a Russian national was granted permanent resident status in Estonia. When this person arrived in Russia from Estonia in September 2014, he did not submit a written statement to the Russian Federal Migration Service informing the authorities about his permanent resident rights in a foreign country. He was detained when he later attempted to leave Russia. (Id.)

In August 2014, a new provision, article 330.2, was added to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; it obligates all Russian citizens who have a second citizenship of a foreign state or have permanent resident status abroad to report this information to the authorities. The provision gave all citizens two months to report this information and declared the non-reporting of foreign citizenship to the authorities after October 4, 2014, to be a felony punishable by fines and 400 hours of forced labor. (Federal Law No. 142-FZ (June 4, 2014) CONSULTANT.RU (in Russian).) Making procedural violations in the reporting process or not reporting the complete information is a misdemeanor punishable by administrative fines. (Id.)

Reportedly, the State Duma (legislature) of the Russian Federation is discussing amendments to this law that would give a one-month grace period for those subject to reporting requirements who arrive in Russia from abroad. More than 40,000 people have been fined administratively since October 4, 2014, for violations associated with not reporting a second citizenship; they were not, however, subject to criminal investigation. (Media Learned That More Than 40 Thousand Russians Were Fined for Hiding Second Citizenship, NEWSRU.COM (Dec. 5, 2014) (in Russian).) It is estimated that about ten million Russian nationals may be citizens or permanent residents of a foreign country. (Id.)