Russia and Tajikistan: Whether a person is considered a citizen of Tajikistan if they were born in Tajikistan while it was still part of the USSR, left Tajikistan after independence but before the adoption of the 1994 Constitution, and who also acquired Russian citizenship after 2000; whether the person has the right to citizenship automatically; requirements and procedures to obtain or re-obtain Tajik citizenship (2014-September 2016) [ZZZ105639.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

On the website of the Tajikistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a section titled "Citizenship Issues" states that

[a]ccording to the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan [titled] "About Citizenship," the citizen of Tajikistan is a person, who, at the date of adopting of the Constitution (6.11.1994), was a citizen of the Republic of Tajikistan or has got citizenship of the Republic of Tajikistan according to the present Constitutional Law. (Tajikistan n.d.)

Article 17 of the 2015 Constitutional Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan entitled “Restoration of Nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan” reads as follows:

  1. Persons who lost nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan due to the change of the nationality of their parents upon their application can restore nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan within five years after reaching the age of eighteen.
  2. Persons who lost nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan because of adoption upon their application can restore nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan.
  3. Persons who previously held nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan upon their application can restore nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan. (Tajikistan 2015)

Article 16 of the Constitutional Law states that

  1. [t]he following foreign citizens and stateless persons have a right to file an application for naturalization as a national of the Republic of Tajikistan under the simplified procedure, without observing the conditions stipulated in paragraphs one and two of Article 15 of the present Constitutional law and without presenting a residence permit:

    [5] persons born in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan, who were in possession of the citizenship of former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, who resided or reside in the states former members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but who have not acquired citizenship of these states and, as a result, are stateless.

  2. The following categories of persons can file an application for naturalization as a national of the Republic of Tajikistan with halved period of permanent residence, specified by the paragraph one of Article 15 of the present Constitutional Law:

    [4] persons who were born on the territory of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan and held citizenship of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (ibid.)

Article 15 of the Constitutional Law states that the

[g]eneral terms of naturalization as a national of the Republic of Tajikistan are:

  • permanent continuous residence of foreign citizens and stateless persons on the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period of five years, from the day of obtaining residence permit until the day of submitting an application for naturalization as a national of the Republic of Tajikistan, if a person’s one-time travel outside the Republic of Tajikistan in one year has not exceeded three months, except of the cases of departure for study, medical treatment and secondment;
  • knowledge of the state language at the level of communication;
  • not being under criminal prosecution. (ibid.)

A full copy of the 2015 Constitutional Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan, as translated by UNHCR, is attached to this Response (Attachment 1).

UNHCR published a commentary on the Constitutional Law in May 2016, which states that

UNHCR welcomes the provisions on acquisition of nationality through simplified procedures for naturalization in Article 16(1) … However, UNHCR regrets that Article 16(1) (5) covers only “persons who were born on the territory of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic and held citizenship of the former USSR, who resided or reside in the states former members of the USSR, but who have not acquired citizenship of these states and, as a result, are stateless” to have a right to file an application for naturalization under simplified procedures. (UNHCR May 2016, 6)

A copy of the UNHCR's commentary on the 2015 Constitutional Law is attached to this Response (Attachment 2).

According to the "Citizenship Issues" section of the Government of Tajikistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, decisions on "applications for adopting of citizenship" are made by the President of the Republic; the website also provides information on the application procedures relating to citizenship (Tajikistan n.d.). A copy of the webpage is attached to this Response (Attachment 3).

A 2015 year-end report on UNHCR operations in Tajikistan states that in 2015, 19,300 persons in Tajikistan of undetermined nationality, including former Soviet Union passport holders, were registered by the UNHCR, and of those people, "585 individuals have had their nationality confirmed, and over 1,400 people have submitted applications to confirm their nationality" (UN 26 Sept. 2016). Further information on applications for nationality could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Sources report that Tajikistan and Russia have an agreement on dual nationality (Mishina 15 Apr. 2014; Malyuchenko Feb. 2015, 9; Brunner 2001, 131) called the Treaty Between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan on Settling Issues of Dual Citizenship (ibid.). An analysis on dual citizenship in Russia written by Ekaterina Mishina, a Russian lawyer who is a visiting professor at the University of Michigan's faculty of law [1], and published by the Institute of Modern Russia (IMR) [2], states that only Turkmenistan and Tajikistan have international agreements with Russia on dual citizenship, and "under the current legislation, persons with dual citizenship can be recognized as Russian citizens only if they also hold Turkmen or Tajik citizenship" (Mishina 15 Apr. 2015). A copy of the Treaty between Russia and Tajikistan, which entered into force in April 1997, is attached to this Response (Attachment 4).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] According to her profile on the website of the University of Michigan, since 2005, Mishina has worked as an assistant professor for the National Research University, Higher School of Economics in Moscow, where she teaches comparative constitutional law (University of Michigan n.d.).

[2] The IMR is a "public policy think-tank that strives to establish an intellectual framework for building a democratic Russia governed by the rule of law. IMR promotes social, economic, and institutional development in Russia through research, analysis, advocacy, and outreach" (IMR n.d.). The organization was founded in 2010 as a public charity by Pavel Khodorkovsky and it is located in New York (ibid.).

References

Brunner, Georg. 2001. "Citizenship and Protection of Minorities in Eastern Europe." International and National Law in Russia and Eastern Europe. Edited by: Roger Clark, Ferdinand Feldbrugge, and Stanislaw Pomorski. The Hague/Boston/London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. [Accessed 29 Sept. 2016]

Institute of Modern Russia (IMR). N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 25 Sept. 2016]

Malyuchenko, Irina. February 2015. "Labour Migration from Central Asia to Russia: Economic and Social Impact on the Societies of Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan." Central Asia Security Policy Briefs. No 21. Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and OSCE Academy. [Accessed 29 Sept. 2016]

Mishina, Eakaterina. 15 April 2014. "Dual Citizenship Check." New York: Institute of Modern Russia. [Accessed 29 Sept. 2016]

Tajikistan. 2015. Constitutional Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan. Translated by the UNHCR. [Accessed 31 Aug. 2016]

Tajikistan. N.d. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Citizenship Issues." [Accessed 31 Aug. 2016]

United Nations (UN). 26 September 2016. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "Tajikistan.” Global Focus: UNHCR Operations Worldwide. [Accessed 30 Sept. 2016]

United Nations (UN). May 2016. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNHCR’s Commentary on the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Tajikistan "On Nationality of the Republic of Takikistan." [Accessed 31 Aug. 2016]

University of Michigan. N.d. University of Michigan Law School. "Mishina, Katya." [Accessed 25 Sept. 2016]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Anti-discrimination Centre; Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme; Senior Scientist at the Tajik Academy of Sciences Institute of Language, Literature, and Oriental Studies; Tajikistan – Embassies in Brussels and Washington, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; ecoi.net; Factiva; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; UN – Refworld; US – Department of State.

Attachments

  1. Tajikistan. 2015. Constitutional Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan. Translated by the UNHCR. [Accessed 30 Sept. 2016]
  2. United Nations (UN). May 2016. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNHCR's Commentary on the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Tajikistan "On Nationality of the Republic of Tajikistan." [Accessed 31 Aug. 2016]
  3. Tajikistan. N.d. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Citizenship Issues." [Accessed 31 Aug. 2016]
  4. Russia and Tajikistan. 1997. The Treaty Between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan on Settling the Issues of Dual Citizenship. Translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada. [Accessed 31 Aug. 2016]