Who is Victor Medvedchuk, Putin’s friend captured by Ukraine

The leader of the pro-Russian Ukrainian party Opposition Platform for Life, Victor Medvedchuk, is considered a “loyal person” to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, with whom he has a friendly relationship for about 20 years. The president is the godfather of one of his daughters and they have spent their holidays together.

The Ukrainian politician and businessman, accused by Ukraine of high treason more than a year ago, has been detained by the Ukrainian government, as announced by Volodímir Zelenski himself through a photograph in which the politician appears handcuffed. Ukraine’s president has proposed exchanging him for boys and girls captured by Russia, but Moscow has indicated that Medvedchuk is a Ukrainian citizen and a foreign politician.

A close relationship with Putin

Medvedchuk’s friendship with the Russian president goes back about 20 years, when in 2003 the then head of the Kremlin Administration, Alexander Voloshin, introduced them. Vladimir Putin is the godfather of one of the daughters of the Ukrainian politician and both they have gone on vacation together and even attended Formula One races.

If Russian troops end up succeeding in occupying Ukraine, Medvedchuk’s Opposition Platform for Life party could serve the Kremlin to form in kyiv a government related to Moscow.

Ukrainian political scientist Víktor Savkiv told RTVE.es that if Putin achieves a military victory, Russia could overthrow the current government and impose a puppet regime in kyiv with people with “personal and family ties” with the president, like Medvedchuk. “They are connected by family ties and have always had contact. In Ukraine he is considered (Medvedchuk) as a person loyal to PutinSavkiv assured.

Medvedchuk has denied that his party is pro-Russian, but is in favor of maintaining closer political and economic ties with Moscow and several of its members support the ideas of the Kremlin. has always defended Granting Donbas a status of autonomy and even presented a peace plan backed by Moscow that included the granting of high levels of self-government to the areas controlled by the pro-Russian separatists, as well as their own police.

Accused of high treason

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the US government imposed sanctions against Medvedchuk for “contribute to the current situation in Ukraine” and for leading an organization that had engaged in “actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine.” The United States that year also accused two members of his party of help Russia undermine Ukraine’s leadership.

When tensions arose in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists, the Ukrainian politician presented himself as a Necessary emissary between Moscow and kyiv officialsassisting in the negotiations of prisoner exchanges. “I know I’m the only one who can do it. Others have tried and failed,” he told the newspaper. ‘The Post’ in 2018.

In February 2021, Zelensky signed a decree accusing the politician of financing terrorism by funneling money from a Russia-based refinery to separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk. The Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine accused Medvedchuk of high treason and put the politician under house arresta measure described by the Kremlin as a “witch hunt”.

Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, it was announced that Medvedchuk he had escaped from house arrest.

Medvedchuk can offer “interesting information”

Zelensky announced Medvedchuk’s arrest on Tuesday with a photo on his social networks in which the pro-Russian leader appears seated, handcuffed and dressed in military clothing. The Kremlin spokesman, Dimitri Peskov, has stressed that it is necessary to wait for check the veracity of the photograph.

The Ukrainian president has proposed to Moscow exchanging the Ukrainian politician for boys and girls captured by the Russian Army. “I propose to the Russian Federation that the exchange of this type of yours for our boys and girls who are in Russian hands. Therefore, it is important that our law enforcement and military forces also consider this possibility,” the Ukrainian president said. However, the Kremlin has pointed out that Medvedchuk is a Ukrainian citizen and a foreign politician, although he has assured that he will continue his case.

President Zelensky’s adviser, Oleksii Arestovich, has reported that the Ukrainian government expects Medvedchuk offer “interesting and detailed information”, due to his status as a “friend” of Putin. “He knows a lot about Russia’s preparations for war,” he said.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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