Ukraine grants citizenship to Kremlin critics Maria Gaidar and Vladimir Fedorin

"Your example clearly demonstrates that one cannot be silent; that one has to be able at peace with one's conscience," said President Poroshenko.
By Jared M. Feldschreiber  |  Aug. 4, 2015 at 6:06 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Maria Gaidar, the daughter of Russia's first post-Soviet prime minister, Yegor Gaidar, and prominent journalist Vladimir Fedorin, were given Ukrainian passports by President Petro Poroshenko during a special ceremony Tuesday in Kiev.

Both are vocal critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Your example clearly demonstrates that one cannot be silent; that one has to be able at peace with one's conscience," Poroshenko said.

"Your neutral position, thoughts and information from Ukraine that you can provide as an alternative to Kremlin propaganda are very valuable for millions of Russians," Poroshenko said, as reported by Voice of America.

Gaidar was appointed in July to serve as deputy governor of Ukraine's Odessa region. Her appointment had caused consternation by Russians who still view her as betraying her homeland. Gaidar was selected by former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili -- another non-native Ukrainian and vocal Putin critic who has headed the Odessa region since May.

Ukraine's presidential press service said that President Poroshenko signed a decree granting citizenship to Gaidar before presenting her with a Ukrainian passport, Radio Free Europe reported. "I am here at a difficult time for Ukraine to share the destiny of the Ukrainian people," she told the president.

Gaidar has said that she hopes to institute social reforms to help fight corruption, largely among security and customs officials.

"We would like to open a citizen's office, where people would come discuss corruption, make suggestions or complaints so we could talk with them, analyze their situation, and work to effectively resolve their problems," she told Radio Free Europe's Ukrainian Service last month.

Fedorin, a former editor-in-chief of Forbes Ukraine, had been living in Ukraine for several years. Becoming a Ukrainian citizen is "likely the most pivotal decision in my life," he said.

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