Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Dual citizenships may play dirty tricks on their holders

In addition to many advantages, dual citizenships have a downside too. Many people think that it is enough to just pay taxes, although, as experience shows, it is far from being that simple. The head of Nevsky Syndicate Corporation, Andrei Baklanov, was detained in Greece for evading compulsory military service.

Andrei Baklanov is the owner of the St. Petersburg-based construction company Nevsky Syndicate. The entrepreneur is also known for his multi-million-dollar investments in the development of volleyball. He used to be a volleyball player, and he still shares a great passion for this game.

Mr. Baklanov transferred a part of Nevsky Syndicate’s business to Greece, to the Cassandra Peninsula. The company currently advertises its cottages on the shore of the Aegean Sea. The businessman obtained his second, Greek citizenship a year to be legally allowed to conduct construction works on more beneficial conditions.

The entrepreneur was arrested on June 18 at the airport of Saloniki. The Greek police said that Mr. Baklanov, as a legal citizen of Greece, was evading compulsory military service. The businessman tried to explain that he was not aware of the law. He said that he had already served in the army of the Soviet Union many years ago, but the police simply said that it could not change anything.

As it turns out, the conscription age in Greece ends when a person turns 45. The Russian entrepreneur was only 44.

“I started to talk about Law No. 400 of the Russian Defense Ministry, which said that a person who served in the army of one country shall be relieved of the military service in another country. A spokesperson for the Greek Defense Ministry told me that he totally agreed with the Russian law, but he did not see any papers about my service in Russia,” Andrei Baklanov said.

Andrei Baklanov has been placed under home arrest. He may have to undergo a three-month military service in the Greek army as a private.

Dual citizenship has many advantages. It makes it easier to run business, to purchase and register property, real estate, to access education, etc. A person holding dual citizenship may cross borders without visas.

On the other hand, those holding two passports may face problems of dual taxation, a need to serve in two armies at once. In case a person trespasses against the law or becomes subjected to political persecution, the other country will not be able to defend its national, because it may lead to accusations of interference into internal affairs of a sovereign state.