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In the 1990s, the company where Oleh worked experienced an economic downturn, wages were paid only partially, and there was barely enough money to buy food. The man began working informally at various private enterprises. While looking for a new job, he lost his passport, birth certificate, and employment record. Later, the man decided to return to Kreminna.

Oleh repeatedly applied to the local Department of the Migration Service for a new passport but was always denied due to lack of documents and inability to prove Ukrainian citizenship. He tried to get a birth certificate again, but could not do so without a passport. Each unsuccessful attempt disappointed him more and more.

One day, Oleh’s best friend offered him to turn to the specialists of the Kreminna Free Legal Aid Bureau. There, the man told his story to the specialists, who then redirected him to the office of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) in Severodonetsk.

Serhii Mikhailov, the lawyer of the R2P, took up the job. It was not easy to prove that the man lived in Ukraine as of August 24, 1991, as well as to collect all the required documents to support this fact. All because the enterprises where Oleh worked changed their names many times, created private cooperatives, and information about the periods of work was not passed to the labor archives. And the house where the man lived at that time became a property of the private enterprise, so the information from the archives of registered residents was lost forever.

Yet the perseverance and a desire to help can move mountains. Documents about the place of residence were found, our lawyer immediately applied to the Kreminna district court of the Luhansk region. The witness also further confirmed the fact that Oleh lived in Ukraine as of August 24, 1991. As a result, the court sided with our beneficiary.

Finally, after so many years of suffering and exile, Oleh received a passport of a citizen of Ukraine. Now the man is discovering new horizons of life. He has already received a tax identification number, opened a bank account, and plans to become officially employed. This is what he says about his new official legal status:

“A passport is when you exist and when everyone sees you!”