He is primarily aiming at Ukrainians living in the U.S., while Ukrainians living in enemy countries will not gain citizenship. However, the Constitution stands in the way and it is unclear whether Zelensky will try to change it.
Since he took office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been voicing the need to introduce dual citizenship for Ukrainians living abroad. However, his efforts have been in vain so far, but the President is not ready to give up just yet.
“We must implement the idea of dual citizenship, in particular for Ukrainians in America. This cannot be done by everyone because some Ukrainians live in those countries that, to put it mildly, are not our friends,” said the President, according to Radio Liberty.
As it is now, Ukrainians cannot have dual citizenship, and Zelensky has also recently used that law to deprive Ukrainians, considered criminals, of their Ukrainian citizenship.
“We are 65 million. Yes, don’t be surprised – there are 65 million of us. Those who were born on Ukrainian soil. Ukrainians in Europe and Asia, in North and South America, in Australia, and in Africa. I appeal to all Ukrainians on the planet: we really need you. I will be happy to grant Ukrainian citizenship to all those who are ready to build a new, strong, and successful Ukraine,” said Zelensky back in 2020.
Unclear what will happen
Zelensky proposed a new law back in 2019 set to allow double citizenship, but it was opposed by the expert department in parliament, according to Radio Liberty, and denied. In another attempt in January 2021, three parliament members from Zelensky’s party ‘Servant of the People’ submitted three new bills related to dual citizenship.
These bills have, however, also met criticism from the expert department of parliament, which is looking at whether law proposals are in line with the Constitution.
“The draft law, in fact, provides for the introduction at the level of the ordinary law of the institution of dual/multiple citizenships of Ukraine bypassing the constitutional norms, which, in our opinion, should not be allowed given that the institution of citizenship is a constitutional institution and all issues legalization of dual/multiple citizenships should be decided, first of all, in the constitutional and legal plane,” said the expert department.
It is unclear what will happen with the new law, but Zelensky’s efforts to introduce dual citizenship seems to run into problems with the parliaments expert department again and again. It is argued that the Ukrainian Constitution will need amendments before allowing Ukrainians double citizenship. It is unclear whether Zelensky will try to do that.
“Amendments to the Constitution, which require 300 votes in the Verkhovna Rada, are very difficult to give to our parliamentarians. And in the end, we did not have so many changes in the Constitution all the time. Especially on such an irritating issue, I think it will be difficult to get 300 votes in parliament,” said the founder of the Center for Political and Legal Reforms Igor Koliushko, according to Radio Liberty.