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Independent Belarusian journalist Paval Sharamet says he has been stripped of his Belarusian citizenship, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Sharamet, who is permanently living in Moscow, told RFE/RL that he has received official notification from the Belarusian Embassy in Moscow that his citizenship has been annulled.

Sharamet said that, according to the letter, he is losing his Belarusian citizenship because he also has a Russian passport.

"They knew very well 10 years ago that I have dual citizenship; I do not understand why they are doing this now," Sharamet said.

According to Belarusian law, a Belarusian national can be deprived of his/her citizenship in the event that he/she serves in the armed forces, police, security agencies, justice system, or any other state bodies of another country.

But Sharamet told RFE/RL that during his long-term residence in Russia he has never served in any Russian government agency.

He added that his lawyers have told him that there are no legal reasons for him to be stripped of his citizenship.

"The situation reminds me of the Soviet period," Sharamet said, "when dissidents were deprived of Soviet citizenship without any court decision and kicked out of the country."

He added that the decision to strip him of his citizenship is politically motivated and may be a part of broader crackdown on journalists in Belarus.

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