Putin Awards Russian Citizenship to U.S. Boxer and Canadian Hockey Player

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.09 - 2024 3:29 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Putin Awards Russian Citizenship to U.S. Boxer and Canadian Hockey Player.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended Russian citizenship to U.S. heavyweight boxer Kevin Johnson and Canadian ice hockey player Brendan Leipsic.

This decision was formalized under a decree published on the Russian government's website.

According to Moscow Times, Kevin Johnson, an accomplished boxer from the United States, publicly expressed his admiration for Russia and specifically "Russian women" last year. Following a victory in a fight organized by state broadcaster Ren TV, Johnson appealed to Putin for Russian citizenship to further his career within the country.

In a gesture of respect and admiration, the boxer even altered his middle name to "Vladimirovich," honoring the Russian president. Interestingly, Putin's decree still mentions Johnson's original middle name, "Blue."

Brendan Leipsic, 29, a Canadian ice hockey player, has found a new sporting home in Russia after his contract with the Washington Capitals was terminated in 2020. Leipsic's departure from the Capitals followed controversial incidents, including the emergence of misogynistic comments and inappropriate remarks about fellow players, as reported by Reuters.

President Putin's decree also encompasses 44 other foreigners receiving Russian citizenship. Among them are U.S.-born Andrei Caralegorghi and Peter Lavelle. Caralegorghi, as per Russian state media, is a descendant of Catherine II and Prince Grigory Potemkin. Peter Lavelle is known for hosting a political talk show on RT, the Kremlin-funded English-language broadcaster.

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