Estonia amends law to be able to strip naturalized citizens of citizenship

  • 2022-07-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Riigikogu passed legislative amendments on Tuesday that give the government the right to make a discretionary decision to deprive a person who has acquired Estonian citizenship by naturalization of their citizenship.

Specifically, this can be done in a situation where such person has entered the public service or military service or a military organization of a foreign state and if such service involves a threat to public order or national security. For example, according to the amendments, people who go to fight in Ukraine on the Russian side can be deprived of Estonian citizenship.

Besides, a person who has acquired Estonian citizenship by naturalization can also be deprived of citizenship by the government if the person is convicted of crimes against humanity or crimes of aggression.

At the same time, according to the amendments, the government has the right to not deprive a person of Estonian citizenship if the person's service in a foreign country does not endanger Estonia's security, such as in a situation where the person goes to war on the Ukrainian side in order to defend the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the Ukrainian state.

However, the state does not recommend Estonian citizens to go to fight for any foreign country, as the state cannot ensure the protection of Estonian citizens in areas of military conflict.

The bill was passed in the 101-seat chamber by votes of 52 to 17.