Israel gives 'fast track' citizenship to Putin-linked Russian mining oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov

Israel gives 'fast track' citizenship to Putin-linked Russian mining oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov
Israel has been criticised for its 'discriminatory' asylum policy during the Ukraine war.
2 min read
08 April, 2022
Mikhail Prokharov (centre) has been pictured several times alongside President Putin [Getty]

Israel has granted citizenship to Russian mining oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, a figure linked to President Vladimir Putin and known to be one of the world's richest men.

The Russian billionaire entered Israel on a visitor's visa in March and was soon granted Israeli citizenship on account of his Jewish ancestry, according to Ynet News.

Prokhorov, the world's 193rd richest person, passed eligibility tests conducted by a section of the Israeli prime minister's office which is responsible for judging citizenship applications for Jews born in former Soviet countries. 

According to the Israel's controversial Law of Return, "Jews, their children, grandchildren and spouses" are all eligible to visit Israel and claim Israeli citizenship. 

However, millions of Palestinian refugees are unable to return to the homes they and their forebears were expelled from in Israel and the occupied West Bank in 1948 and 1967.

Thousands of Ukrainian Jews have had their applications for 'right of return' visas accepted since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

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Prokhorov is a highly controversial figure who was granted the 'Order of Friendship’ by Putin in 2006, and France's highest state award, the Legion of Honour. 

He once owned NBA team the Brooklyn Nets but sold it for $2.3 billion after Putin reportedly told him he couldn't be "pro-Russian" and own a US team, according to The New York Post

Despite running against Putin in the 2012 Russian general election, Prokhorov is considered within the Kremlin's sphere of influence and has been pictured with Putin several times since. 

Prokhorov was not targeted by US sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russian oligarchs have been reportedly been rushing to find safe havens for their money and their family members, as sweeping Western sanctions threaten their personal fortunes.