Russian Oligarchs

Viktor Medvedchuk Demands Ukrainian Citizenship Taken Back in 2023

Viktor Medvedchuk Demands Ukrainian Citizenship

Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian businessman and prominent pro-Russian politician, who has been charged with high treason in Ukraine and is known for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has made a demand for the restoration of his Ukrainian citizenship and parliamentary mandate. Additionally, he is seeking the lifting of sanctions imposed by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC).

Zelenskyy Terminated Ukrainian Citizenship Of Medvedchuk

Viktor Medvedchuk, who left Ukraine after being accused of treason and subsequently exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners held in Russia in September 2022, is now pursuing legal action from Russia. He has filed lawsuits against the President of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada, and the National Security Council.

In January 2023, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revoked the citizenship of former deputies from the banned “Opposition Platform — For Life,” including Taras Kozak, Renat Kuzmin, Viktor Medvedchuk, and Andrii Derkach. This decision was based on materials provided by the Security Service of Ukraine and the State Migration Service of Ukraine.

As per the Constitution, deprivation of citizenship also results in the termination of parliamentary powers. Consequently, the Verkhovna Rada revoked the mandates of these parliamentarians the following day.

Medvedchuk Appeals Supreme Court

One month later, on February 20, 2023, Viktor Medvedchuk appealed to the Supreme Court, demanding the restoration of citizenship for himself and his former colleagues. Medvedchuk argued that the presidential decree revoking his citizenship was “illegal, baseless, arbitrary, and in violation of the norms of the Constitution of Ukraine.”

In March 2023, the Supreme Court accepted the lawsuit and initiated proceedings, which are ongoing.

Medvedchuk’s lawyers, Oleksiy Kalinnikov and Svitlana Savchenko, declined to comment on his demands during the legal process, citing their professional obligations.

According to the decisions recorded in the court register, Medvedchuk initially appealed to President Volodymyr Zelensky, and later the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the State Migration Service were involved as third parties in the case.

On January 25, 2024, the SBU requested the closure of the proceedings, labeling his lawsuit as artificial.

Sources indicate that the SBU’s decision may have been influenced by Medvedchuk’s possession of a Russian passport and his status as a prisoner of war during the exchange with Russia.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) argued to the court that Viktor had disassociated himself from Ukraine, aligned with the aggressor state, identified as part of the Russian people, echoed Putin’s justifications for the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, and utilized all available political opportunities to undermine Ukraine’s efforts to maintain independence.

The SBU informed the court that on September 5, 2023, they had already submitted written explanations, providing “proper and admissible evidence” for the termination of Medvedchuk’s citizenship.

However, on January 25, 2024, the Supreme Court rejected the SBU’s request to close the case. Instead, during the same session, the court opted to request copies of the materials regarding Viktor Medvedchuk’s loss of Ukrainian citizenship from the SBU.

Constitutional law expert Bohdan Bondarenko suggests that this indicates the court’s interest in understanding the grounds for terminating Medvedchuk’s citizenship. While it is likely related to his possession of another state’s citizenship, the challenge lies in whether the SBU can substantiate this in court.

Who Are The Judges ?

Nataliya Martyniuk presides over the case of restoring Medvedchuk’s citizenship, alongside judges Andriy Zhuk, Olena Gubska, Andriy Zagorodnyuk, and Lyudmila Yeresko. Notably, three of them were previously involved in a case regarding the dismissal of judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, including Oleksandr Kasminin.

Andriy Zahorodniuk, a member of the panel, was the founder of the NGO “Association for the Development of Judicial Self-Government of Ukraine.” He was also implicated in sabotaging the creation of a competitive commission for the election of members of the High Council of Justice.

Olena Gubska, another panel member, participated in decisions to ban peaceful assemblies during the Revolution of Dignity and was known for passing court decisions without being present at the workplace.

Ihor Dashutin, also part of the panel, faced criticism for restricting access to information about individuals who own prize weapons and was recognized as dishonest during a competition for the Supreme Court.

Constitutional law expert Bohdan Bondarenko acknowledges concerns about the judges’ reputations but emphasizes that this does not inherently affect the case’s outcome.

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