Belarus Looking Into Russian Detention Of Former Model Who Claimed Kremlin Election Meddling
By RFE/RL January 18, 2019
The Belarusian Embassy in Moscow says it is looking into the case of a Belarusian model who was detained by Russian authorities after landing in Moscow following her deportation from Thailand.
Anastasia Vashukevich, who claimed last year to have evidence of alleged Kremlin efforts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election, was detained at Sheremetyevo Airport on January 17 along with three others who had also been deported.
Moscow police said in a statement that Vashukevich, also known on social media as Nastya Rybka, was held on prostitution-related charges along with the other three, including Aleksandr Kirillov, a self-styled sex guru also known as Alex Lesley.
A spokesperson for the Belarusian Embassy in Moscow said it was looking into the information about the detention of Vashukevich and Kirillov, also a Belarusian citizen.
"The embassy is studying this information," the spokesperson told Interfax on January 18.
A lawyer for Vashukevich rebuked Russian authorities for questioning his client without him present.
Dmitry Zatsarinsky said late on January 17 that any information gathered from such questioning would not be admissible in any possible court proceedings.
A video has emerged on social media appearing to show Vashukevich's arrest at Sheremetyevo airport. In it a woman yells "I don't want to go anywhere" as she struggles with a group of men, one of whom is dressed in a police uniform.
It was not immediately clear why she was put on a flight to Russia.
Vashukevich earlier claimed to have recordings of Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska talking about interference in the 2016 U.S. election, but never released them.
Deripaska is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and also had a working relationship with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager who was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller and convicted last year of tax and bank fraud.
In February 2018, Russian anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny published an exposé appearing to show a former deputy Russian prime minister off the coast of Norway on a yacht belonging to Deripaska.
Navalny's report, which drew on photographs and video that Vashukevich published on Instagram in 2016, appeared to show then-Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko being offered lavish treatment on Deripaska's yacht. The two also appear to discuss U.S. politics.
Vashukevich, who was pictured on the yacht, says she had an affair with Deripaska.
Vashukevich and Kirillov made international headlines again when they asked for asylum in the United States while detained in Thailand.
Vashukevich claimed that she could reveal details about Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. election.
Deripaska, one of several Russian tycoons hit by U.S. sanctions, was once an associate of Manafort.
Vashukevich has more than 120,000 followers on Instagram and authored a book about seducing oligarchs.
But she faces legal problems in Russia as Deripaska won an invasion of privacy lawsuit against her and Kirillov in July over a video that showed Deripaska vacationing with Prikhodko.
With reporting by AFP, Meduza, REN-TV, and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|