On December 18, 2018, Smolny district court of St. Petersburg ruled to terminate legal proceedings in the case of O., a native of Lugansk region of Ukraine, who had earlier received a ban on entry to the Russian Federation issued by the Directorate for Migration Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for traffic rule violations.
O. is a singer of the State Academic Capella of St. Petersburg, his wife and children are citizens of the Russian Federation, and he has earlier received a residence permit in Russia. Returning from an international tour in September 2018, O. was detained by the border control service of Pulkovo Airport due to unpaid fines for traffic offenses in Russia. O. was denied entry into Russia and was banned from entering the country for a period of 5 years. He was informed that his residence permit in the Russian Federation would be automatically canceled. Not being able to return to Russia to join his family and, moreover, not being able to return to Lugansk, which is currently a military conflict zone, O. was forced to go to a third country, where he remained until the termination of his court case.
In its decision to ban O. from entering the Russian Federation, the Directorate for Migration Affairs of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation did not take into account the fact that O. had lived in Russia with his wife and two children, who were citizens of the Russian Federation, thereby violating O.’s right to family life, which was guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The decision of the immigration authorities to ban O.’s from entering Russia was appealed with the Smolny district court of St. Petersburg by lawyer Serov in cooperation with the Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial”. During the court session, a representative of the Chief Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs provided documents confirming the cancellation of the earlier decision to ban entry to the Russian Federation for O. It was also confirmed that O.’s residence permit had not been annulled and was still valid. On December 18, 2018, the proceedings in this case were terminated at the request of the lawyer based on the restoration of O.’s right to respect for family life and the lifting of the ban on entry into the Russian Federation.
Same as many other foreigners, O. has become the victim of arbitrariness and violation of human rights. His life plans have been violated, he was forced to spend several months in a foreign country, where he does not have a permanent place of residence and work, away from his family. While welcoming the positive resolution of the case by the Directorate for Migration Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding O., ADC “Memorial” urged to immediately stop the widespread practice of illegal bans on entry to Russia and the use of expulsion from the country for the citizens of Ukraine, natives of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, who had close relatives in the Russian Federation.