The children of the Kremlin grew up in the countries whose societies their parents claim to reject

Estimated 22,000 deaths in Mariupol from Russian incursion 0:53 (CNN) — Theirs is a world of private jets, posh Parisian apartments, ski vacations in Austria and education at elite universities in London and New York. His parents own first class properties in the most exclusive avenues of European capitals. His social media profiles are filled with designer gowns and red carpet events. A young woman posted photos from her 22nd birthday of herself poolside at the Adriatic Sea villa of one of Putin’s oligarchs. She knows the children of the Kremlin. While her parents publicly criticize the West, her children grow up in the very countries whose societies they claim to reject. “It’s obviously extreme hypocrisy,” said Daniel Treisman, a professor specializing in Russian politics at the University of California, Los Angeles. “They may not even see a contradiction,” Treisman said. “They think there is this competition between the United States and Russia, but why should that affect their daughter’s educational plans? Or where do they have their castles?” Putin himself criticized Russians who may align themselves “mentally” with the West in a speech last month, accusing them of thinking they are part of a “master race” and of working with the “collective West” toward one goal: “the destruction of From Russia”. “The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and simply spit them out like a mosquito that accidentally flew into their mouths,” Putin said. The United States recently sanctioned Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, his wife and his two adult children, saying they live “lavish lifestyles that are inconsistent with Peskov’s civil service salary.” One of the first families of alleged Russian corruption and hypocrisy is that of Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff and chief spokesman, a role that makes him Putin’s loudest megaphone, one who almost daily dispenses line insults tough of the Russian president against the West. The United States recently sanctioned Peskov, his wife and two adult children (from two previous marriages), saying the family lives “lavish lifestyles that are inconsistent with Peskov’s civil servant salary and are likely based on ill-gotten wealth.” of Peskov’s connections with Putin”. At least two of his children were raised largely in Western Europe before returning to Moscow as adults. While the US Treasury did not explain the questionable excesses, Peskov, who held his position for nearly a decade and reportedly earned $173,000 in 2020, was seen wearing a $600,000 designer watch and went on a honeymoon that included a roughly $430,000-per-week yacht off the coast of Sardinia, according to an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Based on property records, social media posts and traffic violation databases, the Anti-Corruption Foundation also revealed that Peskov’s wife, ex-wife and children own luxury vehicles and multi-million dollar homes around the world, including in Russia. and France, a display of wealth in stark contrast to the nearly 20 million Russians who live in poverty. The staggering, if seemingly inexplicable, wealth of such families in Putin’s world, experts say, boils down to a single concept: kleptocracy. “A kleptocracy is simply a government run by crooks,” said Jodi Vittori, a Georgetown University professor and expert on corruption and global politics, “where policies and decisions are made on behalf of those crooks.” A complicated web of shell companies, offshore banks and hidden transactions often obscures their wealth, with accounts hidden within each other, making it difficult to trace where the funds come from. The wealth accumulated by Russian kleptocrats is frequently spent in Western economies. “They want to live in the West because the richest countries in the world are in the West. The amazing cultural centers are in the West,” Treisman said. “But also, Western countries have much more secure rule of law than Russia. So if they can get a lot of their money into the West, they can feel more secure.” The hypocrisy of Russian officials and their families enjoying Western largesse has been an open secret in Russia for years. In 2016, a bill was introduced to the State Duma banning the education of the minor children of most Russian officials at foreign universities, claiming that domestic education would be key to becoming true patriots. The bill did not pass. Peskov’s 24-year-old daughter from his second marriage, Elizaveta Peskova—whose risqué social media posts have often become the focus of Russian and European tabloids—has not shied away from being the center of attention or the controversy, such as when he allegedly told a Russian TV channel that he feels “better in the European environment” and called Russia’s education system a “real hell”. More recently, she contradicted her father’s public statements by posting “no war” on her Instagram stories, the slogan used by Russians who oppose the war in Ukraine. The post was captured and shared by Russian outlet TV Rain, but was quickly removed. As a child, Peskova reportedly attended the Ecole des Roches on the outskirts of Paris, where annual tuition is about a quarter of her father’s salary and extracurricular activities include aviation classes. Peskova continued her Parisian education with an internship at Louis Vuitton and a marketing degree from a French business school. She even interned for the European Parliament. Peskov’s 24-year-old daughter, Elizaveta Peskova, grew up in Paris, where she owns a multimillion-dollar apartment with her mother in one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods. Peskova, seen here in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris in a 2019 Instagram post, describes her love of French cinema. According to the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Peskova and her mother bought a nearly $2 million, 180-square-meter apartment in 2016 in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Paris, on Avenue Victor Hugo, between the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the lush Bois de Boulogne. CNN has not confirmed the purchase. Peskova’s extravagance in France parallels that of her half-brother in Russia. A 2017 investigation by Navalny’s anti-corruption group found that Nikolay Choles — Peskov’s eldest son who grew up in England — traveled the world in private planes, owned prime real estate in Moscow and raced his fleet of luxury vehicles. luxury around town racking up as many as 116 traffic violations while reportedly unemployed. “He certainly represents a high level of at least cynicism, if not outright hypocrisy,” said Vittori, the Georgetown professor. Peskova criticized the sanctions, calling the idea that she is somehow influencing the war “totally unfair and unfounded,” and told Business Insider she’s “upset” the restrictions prevent her from traveling. In a statement on Telegram, Peskova wrote that she is “proud” to be Russian and that penalizing adult children and “especially a girl” is “insane.” “There is hardly a fair trial,” she added, “during a witch hunt and frenzied hatred of all things Russian.” Peskova — who, when contacted by CNN, would not commit to the details of this story at the time of publication — is not the only Kremlin-connected daughter enjoying continental high society. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who called for a “post-Western” world order in 2017, sent her daughter to prestigious universities in London and New York. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who called for a “post-Western” world order in 2017, sent his daughter to prestigious universities in London and New York. Even the daughter of Lavrov’s alleged girlfriend apparently benefits from her influential position: She posted photos of herself on a wealthy oligarch’s yacht, ski resort and beachside villa, according to the Anti-Corruption Foundation. . Polina Kovaleva — referred to by the UK government as Lavrov’s “stepdaughter” though not officially married to her mother — owns a $5.8 million apartment in one of London’s most expensive neighborhoods, according to recent sanctions imposed against him. The Anti-Corruption Foundation revealed that Kovaleva bought the Kensington apartment when she was 21 years old. The flat is within walking distance of Imperial College, which she also attended. Lavrov’s much less visible daughter, Ekaterina Vinokurova, now 39, attended Columbia University in New York, where she lived for 17 years, before earning her graduate degree from the London School of Economics. Both Kovaleva and Vinokurova were recently sanctioned by the UK. “This sends a strong signal that those who profit from the association of those responsible for Russian aggression are within the reach of our sanctions,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wrote in a press release announcing sanctions against Kovaleva. The daughter of Lavrov’s alleged girlfriend, Polina Kovaleva, pictured here at oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s villa in Montenegro, according to the Anti-Corruption Foundation, appears to benefit from Lavrov’s Kremlin connections. Putin himself is no exception to the hypocrisy of harsh anti-Western rhetoric towards members of his family, or those close to him, who take advantage of what the West has to offer. One of his alleged partners, who allegedly bore him a daughter, became the owner of a $4.1 million apartment in Monaco just weeks after the girl’s birth, according to an investigation by Russian independent media outlet Proekt, based on in the so-called Pandora Papers. According to reports, his eldest daughter, Maria, married a Dutch businessman; The couple is said to have lived in a $3.3 million apartment in the Netherlands. An eight-bedroom villa in Biarritz, France, linked to his youngest daughter, Katerina — the multimillion-dollar mansion was bought by her ex-husband, Kirill Shamalov, from Putin’s longtime friend and billionaire Gennady Timchenko — was recently raided by activists and offered as a safe house for Ukrainian refugees. Putin’s two daughters were sanctioned by the UK and the US last week. Peskov called the new moves a “frantic trend” by Washington to impose sanctions on Moscow. “Russia will respond without fail and will do so as it sees fit,” he added. Putin is rumored to have more children out of wedlock, all of whom appear to have lived in Western countries. These reports have always been denied by the Kremlin. Despite his own family members’ connections to the West, Putin recently took aim at other Russians with “villas in Miami or the French Riviera, who can’t do without foie gras, oysters, or gender freedom as they call it.” “. The problem with such people, Putin said on March 16, is that they are “there in their minds and not here with our people and with Russia.” Why are Putin’s daughters one of the Kremlin’s best secrets? 3:05 Yahya Abou-Ghazala, Drew Griffin, and Jeffrey Winter contributed reporting.

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