Two Brothers Restore Canadian Canadian Citizenships After Parents Exposed As Russian Spies


Alex Vavilov, born and raised in Canada, restored Canadian citizenship of which he was deprived when his parents were exposed as Russian spies and arrested by the FBI in 2010.

Vavilov had entered a long legal battle with the Canadian government to restore the Canadian citizenship after he was deprived of it as his parents were pretending to be Canadian nationals.

Exposed And Arrested

Born as Alexander Foley in Toronto and grew up in France and the US, Vavilov though that his parents are originally Canadian. However, his parents were arrested by the FBI in 2010 with the arrest of 11 Russian spies

Alex and his older brother, Tim, were granted Russian citizenship as Alexander and Timofei Vavilov. However, the brothers opened up about how they never felt connected to Russia.

Alex and Tim were both deprived of their Canadian citizenship, because of a provision that “children of foreign government employees” cannot obtain Canada’s birthright citizenship.”

“I feel like I have been stripped of my own identity for something I had nothing to do with.” Alex Vavilov told the Guardian last year.

After Toronto considered the demand, they granted the Vavilov brothers the Canadian citizenship again.

After hearing the verdict, Alex wrote in an email, he felt “vindicated and happy that justice prevailed in the end”.


“If someone commits an offence we do not take away their citizenship,” said Hadayt Nazami, the lawyer for both brothers. “Rather, they can be prosecuted under a law intended for that purpose. But even then we apply legal standards and we do not punish children on the account of their parents’ conduct.”

“Alex and Tim have suffered a great deal of hardship, starting from when they were children, through no fault of their own.” said Nazami. ‘Hopefully, with this decision they can finally return to the only country they have rightfully known and considered to be their home so that they can begin their healing process and put their lives back in some order.”

The brothers opted to speak to the Guardian but refrained from speaking to any other newspaper about their life and their ordeal. Alex wrote that he is “eager to exit the spotlight and get on with [his] life.”