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Russian national jailed in Belarus asks Putin to revoke his citizenship

Russian national Dmitry Popov, who is facing up to 15 years in prison in Belarus, has asked President Vladimir Putin to revoke his Russian citizenship. The appeal was included in a letter Popov sent to his sister from jail, and was published online by blogger Anton Motolko and RFE/RL’s Belarusian service. 

“For more than a year I’ve expected that Russia doesn’t abandon its own, as V.V. Putin has said repeatedly. Upon inspection it turned out that this isn’t at all true. Russia has selective blindness toward its own,” Popov wrote in the letter.

Popov also wrote that he has only had one consular visit while in custody in Belarus. “I refuse to understand why for a whole year the Russian consulate asked about my person once. I refuse to understand why this dialogue took place after the torture against me in the presence of a KGB officer,” he said.

Regarding his Russian citizenship, Popov wrote that he doesn’t want to hold a passport from a state, “which is ready to sacrifice its citizens in the interests of another country.” “For me this is a vile and cruel betrayal. I don’t want and will not be a citizen of a traitorous country,” he wrote. “Summarizing all of the above, I ask the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin to deprive me of Russian citizenship.”

Dmitry Popov is one of the defendants in the criminal case against popular blogger and former presidential hopeful Sergey Tikhanovsky (Siarhei Tsikhanousky), the husband of Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya). Tikhanovsky was arrested along with a number of his supporters in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election in Belarus.

Popov was a moderator for the social media accounts linked to Tikhanovsky’s popular YouTube channel, “Country for Live.” He was arrested in early June 2020 and is facing four criminal charges, including organizing riots and incitement to hatred. Popov’s trial began in Homel in late June.

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