Ex-Miss Belarus turned MP indicates Minsk could revoke citizenship from Belarusians it labels ‘extremists,’ as protests continue

MP Maria Vasilevich, a former Miss Belarus, has revealed that the country’s parliament will soon consider depriving Belarusians of their citizenship if they cause “serious harm” to the national interest.

Vasilevich, a member of Minsk’s Standing Commission on Human Rights, National Relations, and the Mass Media, said on Friday that the House of Representatives would debate a wide range of amendments to Belarus’s citizenship law, not only simplifying the process to become a citizen, but also making it easier for the government to deprive a Belarusian of their passport.

“The institution of citizenship in Belarus is quite developed, and has a certain history, which began with our independence,” Vasilevich said, according to state media outlet BelTA.

“[The proposal includes] the possibility of losing Belarusian citizenship, due to participation in terrorist and other extremist activities, or causing serious harm to the interests of Belarus.”

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In October, Belarus’s State Security Committee warned protesters that their actions might be interpreted as acts of terrorism. If the citizenship law is passed, anti-government demonstrators could risk having their passport revoked. 

The bill would also lower residency requirements for foreigners who want to obtain citizenship from seven years to five years.

“In our opinion, the adoption of the law … will help to increase the attractiveness of migrating to our country,” Vasilevich concluded.

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