European Court of Human Rights turns down a complaint against Latvia by a former member of the Soviet armed forces

The European Court of Human Rights has turned down the complaint filed by Alexander Ivanov against Latvia for a possible breach of Article 8 (right to respect for an individual’s private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Ivanov’s complaint stemmed from his expulsion from Latvia that was based on his having been a member of the military forces to whom the Treaty between the Republic of Latvia and the Russian Federation on the Withdrawal of Russian Armed Forces (signed in 1994) was applicable.

Declining Ivanov’s complaint, the Court acknowledged that in the decision adopted by the Latvian institutions a fair balance had been observed between right of the state to protect its national security interests and Ivanov’s right to private live as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention. The Court based its decision on the conclusions made in the suit Slivenko and others against Latvia and Kolosovskis against Latvia with respect to the application of the Treaty between the Republic of Latvia and the Russian Federation on the Withdrawal of Russian Armed Forces (signed in 1994) in accordance with the Convention.

The Court indicated that Alexander Ivanov had been a soldier of the USSR (later Russian) active military service deployed in Latvia for almost twelve years and recognized that he had retired from the Russian military service eight months before the Latvian-Russian Treaty came into effect. Nonetheless, the Court recognized that the Treaty can justify the deportation of Ivanov and the resultant interference in his private life. Although the Court took into account that Ivanov had established private relationships in Latvia, it pointed out that he had spent much of his life at Soviet and Russian military bases and that he had not mentioned any obstacles to his visiting his parents in Latvia nor to their visiting him in Russia. The Court said there were no conditions proving that Latvia was the only place where Ivanov could exercise his right to respect for private and family life. Taking into account that Ivanov is a Russian national and Russian is his native tongue, the Cou! Rt concluded that he could not experience social and cultural adaptation problems in Russia.

The Court, pointing out that Alexander Ivanov was not married, had no children in Latvia and did not depend on his parents who resided in Latvia, also turned down Ivanov’s argument that his right to a family life had been infringed.