Who is Victor Medvedchuk? The 67-year-old oligarch is certainly not the first. For 20 years he has been seen as an ally – or pawn – of Russian President Putin, not only politically and commercially, but also in the family. Putin is said to be the godfather of Daria, the apple of Medvedchuk’s eye, and they spend their vacations together on the Black Sea.
Medvedchuk has been working for years as a pro-Russian politician from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. He leads the opposition in Parliament. Medvedchuk was always “allowed” in Ukraine, because it was through him that it was possible to communicate with Moscow. This now appears to be the case again with the attempted prisoner exchange.
But Kyiv’s patience ran out last year. Then Medvedchuk was placed under house arrest on charges of high treason and attempted plunder of resources in the Crimea. A few days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he suddenly appeared without a trace.
Medvedchuk was arrested after a “special operation” by the SBU of Ukraine. Then the SBU released an unmistakable message. “You can wear a Ukrainian uniform as a camouflage, but will that help you avoid punishment? Not at all. The same goes for other traitors,” the warning read. The presidential palace then released a photo of a disheveled, handcuffed Medvedchuk:
“Lifelong food practitioner. Zombie geek. Explorer. Reader. Subtly charming gamer. Entrepreneur. Devoted analyst.”