How is it possible that a person born in Russia, with parents that were indeed born in Russia, is not born as a Russian citizen?

Tip: This riddle is a little tricky, but when you think about it should come.

  • $\begingroup$ Without knowledge of the Russian law, it's hard to be sure, but there are several legal ways. I guess if both parents lost their citizenship (for instance by adopting another nationality), the simple fact of being born in Russia might not be enough to grant the child Russian citizenship. $\endgroup$ – oerkelens Nov 27 '14 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ This seems to be impossible to answer without detailed knowledge of Russian citizenship law. For example, if you'd instead asked the same question for the USA, the answer would be "Because the parents were foreign diplomats or enemy aliens during wartime; anybody else who is born within the territory of the USA is born a US citizen." $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 27 '14 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Crimea $\endgroup$ – A E Nov 27 '14 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ Because in Soviet Russia, baby delivers you! $\endgroup$ – tjbtech Nov 27 '14 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is either a question about the technicalities of Russian citizenship, or a request to read the asker's mind to figure out which implausible alternate interpretation of the puzzle's statement is to be taken as granted. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 27 '14 at 21:16

Simple really,

Because they were all born in Russia, Ohio.


It is possible if that person is Smirnov.

Smirnov was born on RSFSR territory in 1950. In 1979, he married and moved his permanent residence to the Lithuanian SSR. He divorced in 1992 and returned to the RSFSR on December 8, 1992. He then applied for a notice of Russian citizenship in his passport, but this was rejected by executive officers. His claim was also rejected by common jurisdiction courts, including the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

The position of the executive officers and the courts was that Smirnov, in accordance with Article 13 of the Citizenship Act, was a former citizen of the Russian Federation, but not a citizen of the Russian Federation since February 6, 1992.

Source: Wikipedia

  • $\begingroup$ Smirnov was either born a Russian citizen or not born in Russia, depending on how "Russia" is defined for these purposes. It seems you're splitting hairs and suggesting he was not born a Russian citizen since it was the RSFSR at the time, but by that logic, neither was he born in Russia. You can't consider it "Russia" but only in a single context. Far as I can tell, this is the only answer given which is entirely incorrect (possibly aside from the one mentioning being born in Soviet-era Kazakhstan). So I'm personally glad the Russia, OH answer at least edged out this one. $\endgroup$ – tjbtech Nov 30 '14 at 0:19

Both parents were born

in Russia, but not to Russian citizens,

and are therefore

not Russian citizens themselves.

Their child is consequently not a Russian citizen either.

I know, it's an amazing coincidence, but you see, Carol and Jack were both

embassy-kids, born to expats -- American diplomats. So they were both Americans in Moscow. They met in Washington, married, and moved to Moscow

when Jack followed in his father's footsteps. Their daughter Rose was born in Moscow like her parents.

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    $\begingroup$ Answers should not be completely masked in spoilers. Future visitors should have an idea what's behind the spoiler markup. $\endgroup$ – warspyking Nov 27 '14 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @rand: Please note that the "in Russia" part is contained in the puzzle itself -- it is one of the conditions of the riddle. Leaving it visible does not reveal anything that is not already public information. $\endgroup$ – jscs Nov 27 '14 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @JoshCaswell - But the italicisation of 'in' tells readers something about the solution. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 27 '14 at 20:21

Both parents were born in places that were then in Russia but are now in e.g. Finland or Kazakhstan?

  • $\begingroup$ Many countries recognize children of their citizens as citizens automatically, and some recognize any born on their soil as citizens, you should check whether Russia does this. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Nov 27 '14 at 17:54

Parents were born before February 6, 1992 to Russian residents, who themselves were born prior to December 30, 1922, and moved elsewhere before returning to visit and giving birth. (Not sure, though. Would the parents have any citizenship?)

...Or the parents denounced their citizenship but delivered on a vacation to Siberia.


The kid was born on a plane above Russia but the parents (who decided to do this is the bathroom) both passed out. The mother because of the pain, and father who had been frightened to death for his wife. They weren't found until they arrived at their destination, then they were found in the bathroom, so the baby was given [Destination] citizen ship?


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