The Belarusian authorities have taken the initiative to deprive those Belarusians who have left the country, commit "hostile acts" and work "in the interests of Western countries" of their citizenship, DW reports.
It is noted that from August 2021, naturalized Belarusians can be deprived of citizenship in the country. Now it is planned to deprive citizens of citizenship by birth. Given that the political crisis in Belarus after the 2020 presidential election has sparked a wave of mass emigration, this new measure could affect tens of thousands of people.
The proposal to deprive citizenship in this way came from the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK). According to the agency's spokesman Vyacheslav Orlovsky, those who have lost Belarusian citizenship will not be able to return to Belarus, participate in elections or referendums, and generally participate in socio-political life.
"People who fled our country, hate it and work in the interests of Western countries todayt, should not have the right to be called Belarusians," Orlovsky said.
A similar initiative is also being discussed in the Belarusian parliament. Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee on National Security of the House of Representatives Igor Martynov said that "a proposal to deprive citizenship of birth for actions that could harm the national security of Belarus is currently being discussed." However, before that, according to the deputy, these persons should be punished, and only then be removed from Belarus.
In addition, the director of the "Political Sphere" Institute Andrey Kazakevich notes that this idea has long been discussed in pro-government expert circles.
"I connect this initiative with the desire of Ministry of Internal Affairs officials to come up with something new - they have a task to constantly respond to the enemies of the state, they are forced to initiate new forms of pressure," Andrey Kazakevich said.
There is no procedure yet to deprive Belarusians of their citizenship by birth.
"In theory, the Constitution should be amended, but they can simply follow the scheme of the Constitutional Court, which recognizes the law as constitutional, and prescribe anything they want in it. Scenario two: deprivement of citizenship by a court decision or a presidential decree that considered a person a threat to national security. And this is a purely repressive measure," political scientist Andrey Kazakevich said.
Among the reasons for deprivation of citizenship of naturalized Belarusians - terrorism, incitement to national hatred, betrayal of the state, riots and the like. The Constitutional Court of Belarus has recognized Lukashenko's decree as legal and in accordance with the country's Constitution.