Russian man’s right to register Irish birth appealed

Sergey Chesnokov (74) says he was born in a house in Dublin on September 28th, 1940

Moscow resident Sergey Chesnokov (74), who applied to have his birth in Dublin officially registered by the State. Photograph: Courts Collins

Moscow resident Sergey Chesnokov (74), who applied to have his birth in Dublin officially registered by the State. Photograph: Courts Collins

 

A High Court ruling that a 74-year-old Russian man was born in Dublin and is entitled to have his Irish birth officially registered here is being appealed.

Sergey Chesnokov, from Moscow, claims he was born in a house on Dublin’s Henrietta Street on September 28th, 1940.

He brought proceedings against An tArd Chláraitheoir (the Registrar General), who is in charge of registering all births within the State, aimed at having his Irish birth officially registered.

In 2010, Mr Chesnokov had applied to have his birth registered in the State to allow him to spend more time in Ireland, where his son and grandchildren reside.

In his application he gave an undertaking not to apply for any social welfare payments from the State.

He submitted several documents supporting his claim, including testimony from family members.

However, the Registrar General refused the application on grounds that there was insufficient independent evidence to back up Mr Chesnokov’s claim that he was born here during the second World War.

That decision was contested before the High Court.

Mr Justice John Hedigan, who compared the case to something out of a Russian novel, said the probability was that Mr Chesnokov was born in Dublin.

The judge made an order that the Moscow resident’s birth be registered in the State.

Mr Justice Hedigan was later told the judgment was going to be appealed, and asked that a stay be put on the court’s decision pending the outcome of the appeal.

The judge was told any appeal should be heard as soon as possible, as Mr Chesnokov is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.

Mr Justice Hedigan said he was not prepared to put a stay unless he got assurances that Mr Chesnokov would have no difficulties freely entering the State between now and the determination of the appeal.

He adjourned a decision on a stay to later this month.

Judgment

In his judgment, he said 1940 was a time when the world seemed upside down.

“Vast armies swept across international boundaries bringing war, destruction and death on a scale almost unimaginable to the mind of western Europeans today,” he said.

The judge said that some months after Mr Chesnokov’s birth Nazi Germany invaded the USSR and “brought to that country a tidal wave of savagery, destruction and death, horror and destruction”.

Mr Chesnokov said he was born in Dublin in late September 1940 in a room at 5 Henrietta Street.

His aunt was the only person present with his mother Liubov at the time of the birth.

They had come to Ireland from England during the London Blitz. Shortly after Mr Chesnokov’s birth his mother and aunt returned to the then USSR.

His birth was registered with the Soviet authorities in October 1940, but was not registered with the Irish authorities because of his parent’s fears that that might be seen as anti-Soviet.

The judge said the fear of being indicted as being anti-Soviet was a very real one.

Those considered “contaminated by foreign influence” could have been exiled or imprisoned by the Stalinist authorities.

In such circumstances, the judge said that he did not find it surprising that there was little concrete evidence to support the application, but was satisfied from the evidence before him that Mr Chesnokov had been born in the State, and was entitled to have his birth registered here.