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Monday, June 23, 2008

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Russia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink could be offered Russian citizenship after he guided the national side into the Euro 2008 semifinals, according to Russia president Dmitri Medvedev on Sunday

The 61-year-old Dutchman propelled the Russians into the last four at the expense of his compatriots on Saturday, and Medvedev said that should he want to he could become Russian.

Medvedev was replying to a question from a World War II veteran, who congratulated the Russian president on Russia's success but wondered whether it would be safe for Hiddink to return to his country of birth.

"He doesn't need to go back, we can bestow on him Russian citizenship," replied Medvedev, who succeeded Vladimir Putin earlier this year.

Medvedev was meeting with his Belarus counterpart, authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, and to attend a ceremony marking the 67th anniversary of the Nazi invasion.

The city of Brest was on the frontline of the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, by the German Nazi army.

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