Former Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko has secured North Macedonian citizenship, competing under the latter country’s flag at a horse jumping competition in St Tropez, France.
Last month, Onyshchenko posted a video of the match to his Instagram account. On the same account are photos appearing to testify to the glamorous life of the recent North Macedonian citizenship, Onyshchenko apparently travelling frequently to Monte Carlo, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other famous tourist hot spots.
The former Ukrainian politician is also often seen in the company of global celebrities. In one photo, he embraces Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal and congratulates him on his victory at Roland Garros. In another, a photo of himself with the Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria and her ex-husband, NBA basketball player Tony Parker, is captioned “times to remember.”
Other posts show his having met soccer player Yuriy Dzhorkaeff, Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab, and socialite Paris Hilton.
Even so, Onyshchenko’s social life is only one side of the story. On the other side, his rap sheet takes quite a different tone. In Ukraine, he was the deputy of the party of the former pro-Russian Prime Minister and President Viktor Yanukovych; his business career earned him a litany of criminal charges in 2016, and landed him on the US sanctions list.
Onyshchenko was put on a US list of sanctioned persons in January 2021 for allegedly being a “member of the Russian network meddling in the US presidential election.
Despite this, North Macedonian authorities have appeared more than willing to grant him citizenship on 31 May 2022, after Onyshchenko used his Russian citizenship to apply for a North Macedonian passport.
That month, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski opened a cabinet session in which farmers’ subsidy beneficiaries were discussed. According to the cabinet minutes, the issue of Onyshchenko’s application was also addressed.
“The government reviewed the request of Oleksandr Onyshchenko for admission to the citizenship of the Republic of North Macedonia”, and “determined a positive opinion on the request, taking into account the positive opinion of the Agency for Youth and Sports.”
According to the session, Onyshchenko had a “clean file” after being investigated by the National Security Agency.
Ukraine has an open arrest warrant against Onyshchenko, citing his alleged involvement in gas embezzling scheme. Earlier this year, he was also charged with gold smuggling in parts of Africa and South Asia.
Image via Wikimedia