State Continuity and Nationality: The Baltic States and Russia : Past Present and Future as Defined by International Law
Upon the breakup of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the Russian Federation argued that all residents of the Baltic states should be granted immediate local nationality in order to protect them against discrimination and human rights abuses, a position that was disputed by the Baltic states, which argued that they had been occupied by the Soviet Union and therefore had no responsibilities vis-a-vis Russian-speaking residents residing in their borders. The International Law Commission subsequently took up the debate. This work analyzes the legal issues of territorial change and nationality in terms of this controversy, insisting that the two issues cannot be considered separately. After outlining the legal views of the four involved states in regards to their international positions and their domestic law and the views of the international community concerning the states' legal status, the author outlines the development of the normative concept of statehood. He then evaluates the relevant principles and rules of international law that have developed a normative framework for regulating nationality, attempting to establish whether and how the principle of continuity of nationality applies in different situations of state continuity. He argues that if a state as a subject of international law does not change, than nationality does not change and the principle of continuity of nationality should apply.
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