Russia backs bill to strip 'terrorists' of citizenship

Moscow (AFP) - Russian MPs on Wednesday passed a law to strip naturalised citizens of passports for offences classed as "terrorism" following a deadly April suicide bombing in the Saint Petersburg metro.

The lower house of parliament passed the bill in its final third reading. It now goes through the senate and to President Vladimir Putin for a final signature.

Putin called for such a law after the April 3 attack in the second city of Saint Petersburg by a bomber who was born in Kyrgyzstan but then gained Russian citizenship.

The bomber and 15 others died in the attack.

Putin said authorities should have the power to revoke the passports of naturalised citizens on terror grounds, citing large numbers of Russian nationals joining the Islamic State group to fight in Syria.

The new legislation introduces an oath for those who acquire Russian citizenship to observe the laws and constitution and "to be true to Russia, to respect its culture, history and traditions."

The new legislation says anyone who is convicted of committing or preparing to commit a crime "involving terrorist activity" can be stripped of naturalised citizenship.

Those convicted of such offences will be treated legally as if they lied when they swore the oath of allegiance.

Courts would be obliged to inform the immigration authorities within five days of such a verdict entering force.

The new legislation also makes it easier for Ukrainians to gain Russian citizenship.

If signed into law, it will enter force on September 1 this year.