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Latvia grants citizenship to dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/27/2017

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Latvia has granted citizenship to ballet dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov in honor of the U.S. citizen who was born in the Baltic nation when it was part of the Soviet Union.

The unanimous decision by Latvia's lawmakers on Thursday was made in recognition of Baryshnikov's civic involvement and his "voicing of political beliefs in support of democratic values and human rights."

He was born in the current Latvian capital of Riga in 1948 to ethnic Russian parents just four years after Moscow reoccupied the small nation, and spent 16 years there while starting ballet lessons in 1960.

Baryshnikov, 69, defected to Canada in 1974 while on a tour with the Soviet state ballet and moved to the United States a year later.

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