Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order to grant the Australia-born Olympic bronze medallist Shane Perkins Russian citizenship.
The cyclist represented Australia and won individual sprint bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games, but announced earlier this year that he wanted to switch sides.
It followed him being dropped from the 2016 Rio Olympics - and raises his chances of being selected for Tokyo 2020.
“I’m very grateful and I’d particularly like to thank the Russian Cycling Federation, president Vladimir Putin, my coach Vladimir Khozov and the strong team of people behind me that have made this transition possible,” Perkins told the Guardian.
“I’m ready to race for Russia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, I am working very hard to continually raise the bar in my performances both at training and in racing and will continue to do so every step of the way in the lead up to and at the Games.”
He was encouraged to make the change by his Russian friend Denis Dmitriev, and has no ties to the country.
But he says when it was made clear that he would not be attending World Cups under the auspices of Cycling Australia - even when he said he would fund himself - he began looking for other avenues.
“I have a clean slate to prove myself to Russia,” Perkins said. “There is no history like there was with the Australian team.”
Last year we reported how three Russian track cyclists were barred from competing at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The trio – Dmitry Sokolov, Kirill Sveshnikov and Dmitry Strakhov – had all been selected initially for Russia’s men’s team pursuit squad in Rio.
But the three riders were dropped after being linked to EPO use in the McLaren report into doping in Russia, which found that positive anti-doping test results had been covered up.