HC Deb 09 August 1911 vol 29 cc1309-11W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can give further particulars of the reply received from the Russian Government in regard to the case of Miss Malecka?


The Russian Government point out that it is laid down in Article 325 of the Russian Criminal Code that "any person absenting himself from his native country, and entering foreign service without the sanction of the Government, or becoming the subject of a foreign country, shall be liable for this violation of his duty and oath of loyalty to a deprivation of all rights and perpetual banishment from the country or, in the event of his subsequent voluntary return to Russia, to banishment to Siberia." It is clear from the above-quoted article that adoption of foreign nationality without due permission of the Russian authorities cannot be considered of itself as renunciation of Russian nationality, as were a Russian subject to be deemed a foreigner from the moment of his adoption of the nationality of a foreign country it would entail recognition of the liability of a foreigner residing outside the limits of Russia to the enactments of a Russian court of law and to punishment for being of such nationality. For this reason and in the absence of any regulations in the existing legislation of the Russian Empire, providing for renunciation of Russian nationality, it is evident that persons of this nationality can only be regarded in Russia as foreigners when they have been released from their obligations as Russian subjects, and exempted from the provisions of the law by Imperial sanction obtained in accordance with procedure, by the Minister of the Interior through the Council of Ministers. The enactment above quoted can be fully applied to natives of the provinces of Poland. Although in point 1 of Article 17 of the-Civil Code in force in these provinces it is enacted that native citizenship ceases consequent to naturalisation in a foreign country, nevertheless, by the Imperial Ukase of 25th April, 1850, the action of Articles 340 and 341 of the Criminal Code (now Articles 325 and 326) was extended to the provinces of Poland, and, in accordance with this Ukase, in cases provided for by the above-mentioned articles, the competent provincial administration, and in Warsaw the chief of the police, upon receipt of information respecting the voluntary absence of persons formerly of Poland or their residence abroad for a period exceeding that granted by the Government—is bound immediately to publish in the newspapers a notification calling upon the persons specified to appear at the nearest police office within six weeks' time. Upon expiry of this term the estate of the person absent abroad is confiscated, and the procurator of the court gives instructions for the institution of a criminal prosecution. The method and conditions are also laid down for the granting to residents in the Polish provinces of emigration passports for settlement abroad. From the above it is clear that the naturalisation in a foreign country mentioned in Article 17 of the Civil Code for Poland involves loss of Russian nationality only when the person in question has renounced his Russian nationality with the permission of the Government authorities.

The Russian Government state that John Malecka and his daughter, never received permission to renounce their Russian nationality, and must therefore be regarded in Russia as being at the present time of Russian nationality notwithstanding the naturalisation of the former in Great Britain, and quite apart from the question of whether John Malecka was a native of one of the interior provinces of the Empire or of a Polish province. It is further pointed out that it is clearly laid down by the British Naturalization Law of 12th May, 1870, that naturalization does not hold good as regards the former country of a foreigner if, in accordance with its laws, the naturalization cannot be recog- nized as valid. The Russian Government, therefore, find it impossible to take any steps to comply with the representation of His Majesty's Government on behalf of Miss Malecka; but owing to the friendly relations existing between the two Governments they will expedite the course of the matter as much as possible. The Russian Government add that the arrest of Miss Malecka was the outcome of her political relations with members of the Polish socialistic party.