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Russia's Mustachioed Corruption

The mustachioed Richard Mille RM 52-01. Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

The mustachioed Richard Mille RM 52-01. Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

Vladimir Putin’s mustachioed spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has tied the knot with his partner of five years, Tatiana Navka. Like Putin’s rumored love interest, Alina Kabaeva, Peskov’s new spouse is a former Olympic champion. This is Peskov’s third marriage, and the couple already has a child, born one year ago.

The wedding, which took place yesterday, on Saturday, August 1, was an extravagant affair hosted at the most expensive hotel in Sochi. According to the news website Gazeta.ru (a Kremlin-friendly publication, incidentally), the rooms at the Rodina Grand Hotel and Spa cost anywhere from 36,000-200,000 rubles ($580-$3,250) a night.

Yesterday, Gazeta.ru also published a rather controversial interview with Peskov’s 17-year-old daughter, Elizaveta, where she expressed ambivalence about her father’s new marriage, and explained her decision not to attend the wedding. At one point in the interview, Peskov’s daughter even said she feels more at home in Paris, where her mother lives, than in Moscow, though her father apparently insists that she remain in Russia to complete her education. “Europe is better adapted to the lives of ordinary people,” she explained, adding, “And I really like the mentality of Europeans my age—their lifestyle. I feel more at home in Europe.”

These revelations are particularly embarrassing for a high-ranking Kremlin official in today’s political climate, when much of the public rhetoric focuses on the West’s moral decadence and the injustice of sanctions over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

A day after the nuptials, Russia’s most famous anti-corruption activist, Alexey Navalny, has also joined the bandwagon of Peskov-bashing, publishing on his website evidence that Peskov wears a wristwatch worth at least $620,000. The Richard Mille RM 52-01, apparently photographed on Peskov’s arm, while clutching Navka for that fateful “you-may-kiss-the-bride” embrace, is worth four of his annual salaries. According to Peskov’s income and property declarations, he’s received no gifts worth this much money, and his earnings are simply too low to afford such an item.

Photo: Navalny.com.

Navalny points out that his discovery would mean the end of Peskov’s political career, if Russia were a more transparent country. In November 2013, in Poland, for instance, Transport Minister Slovomir Novak was forced to resign after it was revealed that he owned an undeclared wristwatch worth just $3,500—as much as 112 times less than Peskov’s alleged timepiece.

In May 2012, following a protest in Moscow that turned mildly violent, Peskov said “protesters who hurt riot police should have their livers smeared on the asphalt.” Navalny says Russians who oppose corruption should remember Peskov’s threat, and know that it’s directed at them.

23 comments

  • Alex

    What’s new? Russia’s current regime is a typical kleptocracy.

  • greg

    Russia has no future in it’s current form. It’s a mafia state.

  • Art Fl

    Just a press secretary. Imagine what the others Putin’s friends own in Russia, a country where average elderly live on 9000 rubles pension (150$) a month! If he gets in trouble in Russia one day his newly married wife is also a US citizen. Hopefully they both don’t end up in the USA having a lavish life on the money he stole from people in Russia.

  • guest

    It would be interesting to read what pro-kremlin trolls write on forums about this wedding. I guess something like: You should not be jealous, you should work harder and you’ll also be able to buy a 600K $ watch.
    Work harder, die younger, make a pleasure to the Fuhrer Putin.

    • Ilya Wazuhiru

      They wrote that the watch was ‘a wedding prank’, i.e. borrowed from one of the guests just to make people talk. Too bad there are photos from as early as 2014 where’s wearing it already.

      • another guest

        Exactly “they wrote” about a “prank” after bloggers began to put uncomfortable questions about how a modest functionary can afford a 600K watch; look, for example, the comment of Art Fi right here.

        I’d also like to use this occasion to tell to “wendoman” that he’s a cock-sucker.

    • wendoman

      Went to the skating school at 5 years old, train for 10 hours every day, win regional championship, win country championship, win Olympics, then go to showbiz and FINALLY! you get it!

      • another guest

        And you are a pro-putin cock-sucker, go to hell with your idol.

      • trisul

        You’re completely missing the point here. That is the official version, that she gave him the watch as a wedding present, because he really, really wanted it. As some have pointed out, he has been wearing it for a long time, so that cannot be true. But even if she gave it him, why does a public official want to have such an extreme luxury watch? Is that a healthy craving for a public official?

        It is obvious that the guy is surrounded by Putin-induced riches and no longer thinks of himself as a public official, in his mind, he is part of the new Russian aristocracy, and an aristocrat needs to have emblems of status, to distinguish himself from the serfs.

        But, I understand this is way too subtle for the mind of a Russian serf.

        • wendoman

          Peskov just a speaker. He have not any power to get bribes for decisions or state contracts. Ethics is another question.

          • trisul

            Don’t be naive, he’s a door opener, a connector, he doesn’t need power to coordinate.

             
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  • Tom

    Hi troll factory

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