The famous figure skater is going to be deprived of citizenship due to Navka’s show. What’s happening?
Anastasia Matrosova June 21, 2023, 17:15 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
They have already taken away the Lithuanian state awards from Margarita Drobyazko, and now they are going to take away her passport.
The famous figure skater Margarita Drobyazko, a 13-time Lithuanian champion and a world championship medalist along with Povilas Vanagas, could soon lose her citizenship of this country. The fact is that skaters continue to skate at the show of the Olympic champion Tatyana Navka, and since the summer of 2022 she has been under EU sanctions.
The Drobyazko/Vanagas pair are the most titled figure skaters in Lithuania, they have one World Championship bronze medal, two European Championship bronze medals, three Grand Prix Final bronze medals.
In Russia, Margarita and Povilas are also very famous and in demand: by the end of their careers, they performed mainly in our country, taking part in the Ice Age and touring with Ilya Averbukh’s ice shows. In recent years, Drobyazko/Vanagas have played roles in Tatiana Navka’s fairy tales.
Drobyazko and Vanagas spoke about the unusual spectacle:
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Why is Drobyazko going to be deprived of Lithuanian passports?
For the first time, Lithuanian sanctions against Drobyazko and Vanagas were discussed in August 2022. Then the President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda deprived the skaters of state awards due to their participation in the Tatiana Navka show. In 2000, Drobyazko and Vanagas were awarded the Knight’s Crosses of the Order of Gediminas for the World Championship bronze.
At the same time, Nausėda said that it was necessary to review the legislative acts to consider the issue of depriving Drobiazko of Lithuanian citizenship. Povilas Vanagas was born in the Lithuanian SSR, but Margarita was born in Moscow, she received citizenship as an exception. For performances in international starts under the auspices of the ISU, one of the partners needs citizenship of the country, but in order to get to the Olympic Games, both skaters need a passport of the country.
Povilas Vanagas and Margarita Drobiazko
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship
In the summer of 2023, immediately after the premiere of Tatyana Navka’s Sleeping Beauty in Sochi, they already began to talk about the process of depriving Drobyazko of Lithuanian citizenship. The president of the Seimas of Lithuania, Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, said this in an interview with LRT. “This has been talked about for a long time. It seems that we have reached the final phase. The decision will most likely be made,” Cmilyte-Nielsen said.
How did the skater herself react to the news? “Am I being deprived of citizenship? I can’t say anything because I’m not aware of this situation. Does this topic bother me? I cannot influence such decisions. What I can do? It’s your business. Basically, I’m fine with my life. I have no further comment,” Drobyazko said in a comment to Match TV.
Getting Lithuanian citizenship is not so easy for a skateboarder
Situations with citizenship issues have shaken Lithuanian figure skating more than once.
In the Lithuanian national team, such a situation happened more than once when a local skater found a partner abroad. American Isabella Tobias skated in a duet with Deividas Stagniunas in the early 2010s. The duo represented Lithuania several times at the World and European Championships, but Isabella needed a Lithuanian passport to perform at the Olympics. And to get it, I had to suffer.
In January 2013, the Lithuanian Citizenship Commission recommended that Tobias’ application be rejected. The wording of the refusal is that the skater did not have great merits for the country and was not integrated into society. At the same time, Isabella passed the Lithuanian language test, but the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite rejected the application. Only in December 2013, the American received a Lithuanian passport, and in February 2014 she went to the only Olympic Games of her career. After that, the couple broke up, and Tobias went to another team – to partner Ilya Tkachenko in Israel.
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American Allison Reed, paired with Saulius Ambrulevicius, failed to become a Lithuanian citizen a few years later. The same commission did not find any special merit in Allison for the country, and even an open letter from the Lithuanian Figure Skating Federation did not help. Then Drobyazko and Vanagas signed it.
“In Lithuania, this issue is taken very seriously. I also had many problems. But in the end, the president personally gave me citizenship, as an exception. I wouldn’t compare myself to Reid, another precedent, another moment. They gave it to me, they gave it to Isabella. Allison didn’t. Different circumstances,” Margarita commented on the situation in an interview with SE.
As a result, Paulina Ramanauskaite and Deividas Kizala went to the Beijing Olympics from Lithuania, ranking 23rd. Reed/Ambrulevicius claimed at least the top 15 at the Games, and at the post-Olympic World Cup, without Russian duos, they managed to break into the top 10. After the failure at the Olympics, the duo continued their career, won two slots for Lithuania for the next World Cup and European Championship, and the next European Championship will be at the home of Reed and Ambrulevičius , so the pair is aiming for the medals. This may help Allison gain citizenship before the next Olympics, if the skaters decide to skate until 2026.