Published: 1 Dec 2017 | By Sergei Zayets
Enforced citizenship and human rights in Crimea
Russia’s mass naturalisation of Crimeans
Following the Russian Federation’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, the Russian authorities have naturalised Crimeans en masse, as part of an effort to entrench themselves in the occupied territory and cement its annexation. Seemingly, such a move appears to fall within a legal ‘grey area’, poorly regulated by international law, despite raising important human right issues.
Obtaining and changing nationality involves breaking a bond of allegiance and establishing a new one. Naturalisation cannot be regarded merely as verbal promises.
It is certainly true that some Crimeans viewed their acquisition of Russian citizenship favourably or with indifference, even if it leaves them in a vulnerable position. Their ‘Russian’ citizenship is unrecognised not only internationally, but also sometimes in Russia. Then there are those who identify as Ukrainians and for whom the acquisition of citizenship of the Russian Federation
was a burden imposed on them: this article will primarily focus on their situation.