Column 17:23 30 Jul 2021

The Soviet "residence permit" instead of declaring the place of residence: "can't cancel and can't refuse"?

Recently, the Ukrainian parliament supported a draft law in the first reading on changing the place of registration online. At first glance, this seems to be a significant simplification of the complex bureaucratic procedure that millions of Ukrainians face when they change their address. However, a totalitarian atavism hides even behind a convenient digitalized format; Soviet "registration," which no ruling cadence has managed to abolish.

"The Ghost of Communism"

It has been 20 years since Ukraine allegedly abandoned the remnants of "Stalinism"; the so-called residence permit, which essentially tied citizens to a certain place of residence, making them "serfs" of the state. De jure, this anachronism was abolished in 2001 by a decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, which declared the legal institution of "registration" unconstitutional.

And in 2004, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law "On Freedom of Movement and Free Choice of Residence in Ukraine," introducing the alleged voluntary "registration of residence." At the same time, the law established that "registration of residence or a person's place of stay or its absence may not be a condition for the exercise of rights and freedoms provided by the Constitution, laws or international treaties of Ukraine, or grounds for their restriction."

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