U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said this to ABC regarding why President Trump is not going to demand that Putin extradite the 25 Russians indicted by Special Counsel Mueller:

It’s pretty silly for the president to demand something that he can’t get legally. And this is a very serious matter. The Russians take the position, you can like it or not like it, that their constitution forbids them to extradite Russian citizens. They have an agreement with the Europeans that looks a lot like an extradition treaty. Europeans, frequently, tried to use that to get the Russians to extradite their nationals and they flat out refused to do it.

I’m interested in the part in bold. My question is, is Bolton right that the Russian government takes the position that under the Russian constitution it cannot extradite its citizens for trial in other countries?

2 Answers 2


Yes, the Russian constitution prevents deportation and extradition of Russian citizens from Russia.

This protection can be found in Chapter 2, Article 61 of the Russian constitution:

Article 61

  1. A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another State.

  2. The Russian Federation shall guarantee its citizens protection and patronage abroad.

Several other sources(1, 2, 3) give the same translation for that article, so the translations is probably accurate.

That article, plus the fact that the US and Russia have no extradition treaties, means it's pretty definite that Russian citizens are entirely protected from being extradited from Russia.

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    Not that Russia doesn't (allegedly) understand how to find loopholes. It's Parliament can probably pass exemptions; citizenship can be questioned and revoked, so that the person can then be extradited normally; and citizens have allegedly been secretly abducted and brought to other countries to stand trial. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 8:23
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    @zibadawatimmy: Yeah, there are definitely ways around it: revoking citizenship or secretly deporting them as you said, making amendments to change it altogether, etc., but I'm sure they like having this article for this exact situation too much to change it.
    – Giter
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 12:46

It is generally harder to get a country to extradite its own citizens; extradition is usually done when a citizen of the requesting country has fled to the requested country. It is not uncommon for a country to outright bar its citizens from being extradited:

Some countries, such as Austria,[16] Brazil,[17] the Czech Republic,[18] France,[19][20] Germany,[21] Japan,[22] Norway,[23] the People's Republic of China,[24] the Republic of China (Taiwan),[25] Russia,[26] Switzerland[27] and Syria[28] forbid extradition of their own citizens.


Note that Russia is on that list.

And since extradition treaties are generally bilateral, a country refusing to extradite its citizens may induce other countries to refuse to extradite their own citizens to that country.

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