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President Gitanas Nausėda urges lawmakers to amend legislation on citizenship that would enable foreign nationals to be stripped of Lithuanian citizenship. The move comes after Lithuania’s figure skaters Povilas Vanagas and Margarita Drobiazko performed in Sochi in spite of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The show was organised by Tatiana Navka, the wife of the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov. Drobiazko, born in Moscow in 1971, was granted Lithuanian citizenship in 1992.
Nausėda says legislation on citizenship must be amended
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Nausėda wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that now the decision to grant citizenship to Drobiazko looks like “a pathetic farce”. He stressed that currently, a person cannot lose citizenship that was granted as an exception, therefore, amendments were needed in order to defend democracy.

Nausėda also signed a decree striking off the figure skaters from the list of award bearers for degrading the name of awardees. In 2000, Vanagas and Drobiazko have bestowed the Knight’s Crosses of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

“I have no doubt that the figure skater couple were great athletes, but by cynically participating in a commercial event in Sochi, at the time when the blood of innocent people is shed in Ukraine, they erased all the merits to Lithuania they were recognised for in 2000,” stated Nausėda.

In turn, Parliament Speaker Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen agreed that it was the right decision to withdraw the figure skaters’ awards. According to her, the couple has clearly chosen the side of the aggressor by taking part in the show in Russia during its invasion of Ukraine. The speaker said it was impossible to morally justify or rationalise the actions of the figure skaters.

Moreover, the speaker has no doubt that parliament will consider amendments that would allow stripping a foreigner of Lithuanian citizenship in specific cases.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of the Interior Arnoldas Abramavičius announced Wednesday that discussions are already ongoing with law experts over amendments to the Law on Citizenship.

He said the goal is to create legislation that would revoke citizenship of an individual who acts against Lithuania or clearly takes part in propaganda activities against Lithuania or in activities aimed against the standards of international law.

This would apply solely to individuals that have dual or multiple citizenship because from the legal standpoint a person cannot lose the only citizenship he or she has.

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