Champion pentathlete approved for Latvian citizenship

On Thursday, February 1, the Saeima supported the decision to grant Latvia citizenship to Oleksandr Pinchuk, a promising modern pentathlete sportsman, "for special merit in favor of Latvia." 

22 year-old Pinchuk was a multiple junior pentathlon champion in Ukraine from 2009 to 2016, when he was granted a residence permit in Latvia. 

In his confirmation letter to the Saeima Pinchuk expressed his desire to continue competing, representing Latvia in modern pentathlon competitions in the international arena. 

The President of the Latvian Modern Pentathlon Federation, Janis Liepins, in a letter to the Saeima, has appreciated the willingness of the athlete to represent Latvia and pointed out that the federation supported Pinchuk's application and saw him as a likely candidate to represent Latvia in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.

Though gaining Latvian citizenship is usually a matter requiring long-term residence, the passing of a language exam and a few other conditions, the Saeima has the ability to bestow citizenship on individuals deemed to have performed or be likely to perform services of "special merit".

The highest-profile recent example was dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was born in Riga and was granted citizenship in 2017. 

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