'Everything Putin Touches Dies': Businessman Leonid Nevzlin Renounces Russian Citizenship

'Russian citizenship in itself has turned into a mark moral turpitude that I no longer want to carry,' says Nevzlin, who left Russia for Israel two decades ago

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Leonid Nevzlin, in 2009.
Leonid Nevzlin, in 2009.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

Billionaire Leonid Nevzlin, an Israeli citizen and Haaretz shareholder, announced on Tuesday that he is renouncing his Russian citizenship in protest of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

“Everything that Putin touches dies,” Nevzlin wrote in a Facebook post, lamenting that "Russia has become too fascist."

Nevzlin, who own 25 percent of Haaretz's shares and sits on the Israeli publication's board of directors, added: "Russian citizenship in itself has turned into a mark moral turpitude that I no longer want to carry … I’m against the war. I’m against the occupation. I’m against the destruction of the Ukrainian people."

"I’m an Israeli citizen, and if I were to consider another citizenship, I would be proud to receive a Ukrainian passport,” he said.

According to Nevzlin, “I cannot allow myself to be the citizen of a country that kills the children of another country, and who tortures its own children that disagree with their acts.”

Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday that two million people — half of them children — have fled the country in the less than two weeks since Russia invaded.

Nevzlin, 62, was one of the earliest young entrepreneurs in Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union. He founded the Yukos oil company along with businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Nevzlin also served in a number of public positions, including as president of the Russian Jewish Congress.

In 2003, Nevzlin left Russia and made aliyah to Israel after Yukos and its senior executives were targeted by Vladimir Putin’s government. Later, he was tried in absentia for criminal conspiracy to murder and was convicted in 2008.

The Russian government asked Israel to extradite him, but the Justice Ministry opposed the extradition request, deciding that all the evidence was inadmissible. The Supreme Court, which ruled on an appeal to deport Nevzlin, backed the Justice Ministry’s opinion and ruled the evidence was unsubstantiated and “did not justify the filing of a petition to the court to order Nevzlin’s extradition.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op