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persons without citizenship, that is, not possessing the rights of citizenship in any state. The condition of statelessness arises, in general, as a result of a divergence in the laws of different countries regarding citizenship. In some bourgeois states, women find themselves in such a situation, for example, as a result of marriage to a foreigner in the case when the state of which the woman was a citizen prior to her marriage recognizes the principle of “the wife takes her citizenship from her husband,” and the state of which the husband is a citizen does not automatically grant her citizenship on the basis of the marriage. The most widespread type of statelessness is the relinquishing of citizenship or exclusion of a person from citizenship when he does not obtain citizenship in another state—for example, the deprivation of citizenship of a political emigrant.
Stateless persons are subject to the laws of their country of residence; however, their legal rights are limited. They usually do not have the right to vote and other rights that are granted only to citizens. On the other hand, stateless persons do not have those rights that a state grants to foreigners as a result of international treaties: they do not have the right of diplomatic immunity.
In Soviet law the concept of persons without citizenship was introduced by the law on citizenship of the USSR dated Aug. 19, 1938, according to which persons living within the territory of the USSR without being citizens of the USSR and not possessing proof of their citizenship in another state are considered to be stateless persons. In the USSR people without citizenship do not have the right to vote or to be elected to the soviets of workers’ deputies, but they do enjoy all other rights and freedoms established by the Constitution of the USSR, among them the right to work, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. They also possess civil legal rights except in specific instances, which are directly indicated in the law.