For years, Nataliya Garnaga lived with her mother, stepfather and half-brother. She wanted to associate herself more closely with her stepfamily by taking her stepfather’s surname and a patronymic name based on his given name. Nataliya’s stepfather is called Yuriy, so her patronymic would become Yuriyivna, according to the Ukrainian tradition.
But when Nataliya applied to her local registration office to change her patronymic name, the request was refused. Officials told her that she could only change her patronymic name in the event of her estranged birth father changing his name.
Nataliya’s appeals to the Ukrainian courts were rejected. She decided to take her case to Strasbourg.