Samsonnikov v Estonia (Summary): ECHR 3 Jul 2012

ECHR Article 8
Expulsion of long-term resident following series of criminal convictions: no violation
Facts – The applicant was born in Estonia in 1978 and lived there on the basis of a temporary residence permit practically all his life until his expulsion in 2011. He did not appear to have ever formally requested Estonian citizenship, but instead obtained Russian citizenship in 1998 after attending a Russian-speaking school in Tallinn. His father and brother both lived in Estonia with their respective families. From 1997 onwards the applicant received a series of convictions for criminal offences, some of which involved violence and/or drugs and was also found guilty of various misdemeanours. In 2008 he was convicted of aggravated drug smuggling in Sweden. Following his release from prison there in 2009 he was deported to Estonia, whose authorities had meanwhile refused to prolong his temporary residence permit owing to the nature and severity of the offences he had committed. He was expelled to Russia in 2011 with a three-year prohibition on re-entry.
Law – Article 8: There was no doubt that the applicant’s expulsion from Estonia had interfered with his right to respect for his private life. As for his family life, however, there was nothing to suggest that his relationship with his father or brother had extended beyond the usual ties existing between adult family members. Although the applicant had a partner in Estonia, the couple had only started cohabiting after the applicant’s expulsion from Sweden, so they should have been aware of his precarious residence status in Estonia. The applicant had never requested Estonian citizenship but had obtained Russian citizenship instead, thereby apparently identifying himself with that country. His social circle, including his relatives and partner, consisted mainly of persons of Russian origin and he also had family living in Russia. All these factors indicated that the applicant would not face insurmountable difficulties in settling in Russia. The Estonian authorities had rejected the applicant’s request for an extension of his residence permit, not just on the basis of his criminal conviction in Sweden, but following an assessment of all the circumstances including his criminal record in Estonia, which had seen him sentenced to a total of eight years’ imprisonment in the preceding twelve years. Given his age, the length of time he had been offending and the seriousness of offences his behaviour could not be regarded as mere ‘juvenile delinquency’. The Court noted further that Recommendation Rec2000)15 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe* stated that each State had the option to provide in its internal law that a long-term immigrant may be expelled if he or she constituted a serious threat to national security or public safety. Lastly, the three-year ban on his re-entering Estonia did not amount to a disproportionate interference with the applicant’s Convention rights.
Conclusion: no violation (five votes to two).


52178/10 – CLIN, [2012] ECHR 1999




European Convention on Human Rights


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SummarySamsonnikov v Estonia ECHR 3-Jul-2012
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Updated: 12 November 2022; Ref: scu.466989