RIGA - Saeima has approved granting Latvian citizenship to the Riga-born dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov.
The vote in parliament on this matter was unanimous - with 84 votes in support of the proposal, meaning that 16 MPs did not participate in today's session.
Baryshnikov was himself in parliament today when the decision was made. After the vote, he was congratulated with flowers from parliament members.
A special ceremony will take place at 3:00 p.m. today, where Baryshnikov will receive his Latvian passport.
As reported, Saeima sent to the Citizenship, Migration and Social Cohesion Committee last year a proposal to grant the Latvian citizenship to Baryshnikov for special meritorious service for the benefit of Latvia.
A letter was then received from Baryshnikov, saying that he is honored that such a possibility is being considered, and that he would be glad to accept Latvian citizenship.
Baryshnikov is also a U.S. citizen, however, both the United States and Latvia permit dual citizenship.
Mikhail Baryshnikov was born in Riga, where he started attending ballet classes at the age of nine. Later he graduated from Leningrad Ballet School; in 1969 Baryshnikov became the leading soloist of Kirov Ballet. In 1974 he left Russia to pursue an international career in ballet and contemporary dance companies.
He has been the leading soloist also at the New York City Ballet and has participated in several projects in Riga as well in recent years, the latest his solo show called Letter to a Man at the Latvian National Opera and the acclaimed Alvis Hermanis-directed Brodsky-Baryshnikov performances at the new Riga Theater.