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Who is Dmitri Peskov, Putin's powerful “image bodyguard” with coronavirus

Peskov has been a spokesman for Putin since 2000. (Photo by Kommersant / Shutterstock)
Peskov has been a spokesman for Putin since 2000. (Photo by Kommersant / Shutterstock)

On the night of February 27, 2015, the Russian opposition politician and intellectual Boris Nemtsov he was assassinated in Moscow. He was 55 years old. He was walking hand in hand with his girlfriend, the Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya, across the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge when several men got out of a white car and shot at it. Four shots from Makarov in the back ended the life of Nemtsov, an annoying old enemy of Vladimir Putin. The photos shook the world: just a black plastic bag on the asphalt, with the spectacular cupolas of Saint Basil and the Kremlin as a backdrop. Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Putin since 2000, did not seem shocked the next morning, when local and international media sought to hear the opinion of the Russian government on the crime. Nemtsov was not a popular politician. He was just a little better known than the average citizen, "he told the press, making use of his traditional method of minimizing the figure of the murdered opponent, thereby releasing his boss from all suspicion.

He had done the same thing in October 2006, the afternoon in which the critical journalist Anna Politkovskaya She was gunned down in the elevator of her building on the same day of Putin's birthday and also the following year, when the former spy Alexander Litvinenko He died in a London hospital after appalling agony, the victim of poisoning with polonium 210, a radioactive substance. This, as a reminder of the cases that most transcended borders outside Russia. Peskov's appearances are always to reduce the impact on the figure of Putin, in any case, with any subject. Its task is not bureaucratic, it is not there to issue communiqués or express personal opinions. Their task is that of a kind of rhetorical bodyguard, a figure who protects the leader from anything that may damage his image or grind his power.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov arriving at a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Sochi, Russia. December 4, 2019. (REUTERS / Shamil Zhumatov)
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov arriving at a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Sochi, Russia. December 4, 2019. (REUTERS / Shamil Zhumatov)

These days, the name of Peskov and his third wife, the former dancer and ice skater Tatiana Navka, are bringing serious concerns to Putin, who has not moved from the Novo-Ogaryovo presidential residence for several weeks. His historical spokesman and his wife were hospitalized after the coronavirus test gave them both positive. Peskov personally announced to the media his hospitalization and sought to bring calm to the population when she said she hadn't seen the president in a month. The presidential spokesman is not the first high-ranking official infected. Weeks ago the Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin he gave positive and had to leave his functions and days later the same thing happened with the Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova and the Construction one, Vladimir Yakushev.

All this is happening is a key moment for Russia, the largest country in the world, which an average of about 10,000 infected daily carries more than 270 thousand positive cases of coronavirus - the second country in the world - and 2,500 deaths. These are the official figures, there are serious doubts about whether they are exact, since according to complaints from various organizations, many deaths are registered under collateral diagnoses of diabetes, heart disease or pneumonia, among other diseases.

Another reason to doubt the official figures is that it is hardly credible that the virus has arrived in Russia so late considering that it shares a 4,400-kilometer border with China., so it is inferred that, in reality, the government waited for the virus to reach Moscow and other major cities with intensity, only to begin reporting.

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Putin and Peskov, in a photo from 2018 (REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov)
Putin and Peskov, in a photo from 2018 (REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov)

Diplomat, translator and "image bodyguards"

Dmitri Peskov He was born in Moscow in 1967 and is exactly 15 years younger than Putin and, if the Russian President is believed, he is only five centimeters taller since Peskov is 1.75 meters. A career diplomat and the son of a diplomat, translator, and expert in Turkish history and culture, Peskov is fluent in several languages ​​including English, Turkish, and Arabic. He was at different times and in various positions at the Russian embassy in Ankara and, since Putin's arrival to his first presidency by elections in 2000, he is the person who always transmits to the local and foreign press the ideas and opinions of the President. That, as a public figure, but Peskov is for Putin much more than what is seen since everything indicates that he also transmits, in the right place, the ideas and will of the president.

Peskov's name figured prominently in the so-called Steele Report, the dossier compiled by the former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele about Donald Trump's interests and activities in Russia that seemed to confirm the joint operation during the 2016 U.S. election campaign between the now President of the United States and the Kremlin. In that report, which later ended up discredited but not completely denied, Steele accused Peskov of being in charge of the compromising material on Hillary Clinton that Russian FSB agents had been collecting for years.. According to the same Steele Report, Peskov was responsible for controlling this extremely delicate material on Putin's direct orders.

(Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)
(Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

Another news that had him as the main protagonist was the protest by the European Parliament in 2018, when it emerged that Peskov's eldest daughter, Elizaveta Peskova, who studied law and lived for many years in Paris, worked as an assistant to the former French far-right MEP and advisor to Marine Le Pen, Aymeric Chauprade. Several members of the European Parliament considered the entry of the daughter of Putin's spokesman as something alien to the body's security standards and feared the leak of confidential information.

Blonde with light eyes, elegant and very fast for answers also in English - you can see a video with a 2016 interview by YouTube on Christiane Amanpour- Peskov is an expert in showing an immutable face when it comes to protecting the President. It's more, at the beginning of the administration, he gave the impression of being a kind translator of Putin's expressions, in times when the Russian president could not or did not know how to control his manners. The loyal Peskov is the one who without hesitation can say in a documentary that his boss "is a man who not only loves children but who loves people, in general" and that he is "a very human being", a phrase in the one who was almost excited during the Rossia state channel program two years ago.

(REUTERS / Evgenia Novozhenina)
(REUTERS / Evgenia Novozhenina)

The news of the hospitalization of Peskov and his wife came a day after the videoconference in which Putin announced some relaxation of the restrictions due to the pandemic. For several weeks the President was almost absent: he had delegated to the Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin the leadership of the crisis cabinet and various analysts they even wondered if his absence was not because he had also been infected with the coronavirus. Others, on the other hand, preferred to think that the president sought to get away from the bad news, especially after the pandemic forced him to delay the April referendum with which he sought to legitimize the reform that could allow him to remain in power and to cancel the great Victory Day parade with which the Russians celebrate the triumph over the Nazis every year and that this time would also have great international visits. Very hard things were said to each other about his figure, they even compared him to an "old and sick wolf".

READ  Russia recorded 150 deaths from coronavirus, its new daily record
EFE
EFE

At 67 years old, Putin is away from everything these days and without the bodyguard of his image, the one that even covers it every time someone approaches to confirm if they do indeed have a new family with the retired and political gymnast Alina Kabayeva. Little is known about the personal relationship between the two men, although it is known that they live nearby, in an area of ​​large mansions on the outskirts of Moscow. Russian anti-corruption champions like opponent Alexey Navalny are always keeping their eyes on Peskov, who currently lives in a phenomenal house worth an estimated $ 7 million in Rubliovka, west of the Russian capital, that, supposedly, it had bought his present wife, a year before contracting marriage.

There are complaints about Peskov's alleged fortune, which is not consistent with his official salary (Pavel Golovkin / Pool via REUTERS)
There are complaints about Peskov's alleged fortune, which is not consistent with his official salary (Pavel Golovkin / Pool via REUTERS)

According to Navalny, Peskov's official income would not exceed $ 137 thousand a year, a figure that does not explain your assets. His wife, the former Olympic champion Tatiana Navka -who lived for ten years in the United States- would also be, according to Peskov, the person who gave him the exclusive $ 600,000 watch he wore in his 2015 wedding photos: an exclusive Richard Mille RM 52-01 of which only 30 copies would have been made worldwide and that it was the cause of a modest scandal at the time.

In these likes and obsessions, Peskov also seems to follow his boss, a huge fan of watches and a collector of unique pieces. Away from the shrillness -except when it comes to showing muscle and skill with weapons- Putin always appears publicly as an austere person, although many insist on attributing an excessive fortune to him that, if true, it would make him one of the richest men in the world.

Versions of his phenomenal personal fortune grew over the years and some were encouraged to put Putin on a list above Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon. According to the Swedish economist and expert in Russia Anders Aslund, Putin's fortune would range from $ 100 to $ 160 billion.This includes the possession of significant company shares in the three main Russian oil and gas companies: 37% of Surgutneftgaz, 4.5% of Gazprom - the key to post-debacle Russian economic growth: who controls this company , controls the country - and 75% of Gunvor, a suspicious company that was apparently created for the sole purpose of negotiating the sales of the colossal Gazprom from Switzerland.

Peskov, always in the footsteps of Putin. 2019 photo.
(Kommersant / Shutterstock)

Peskov, always in the footsteps of Putin. 2019 photo.
(Kommersant / Shutterstock)

Naturally, all complaints about the alleged fortune of the Russian strongman were always denied. In reality, Russian journalists do not ask about these issues, nor do they ask about the private life of any president, but every time someone dared to transgress that rule, they found a wall.

That wall is called Dmitri Peskov, the same one that today spends his days hospitalized by coronavirus.

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Sam Conley is new to online journalism but she is keen to learn. She is an MBA from a reputed university. She brings together relevant news pieces from various industries. She loves to share quick news updates. She is always in search of interesting news so that she can share them as well to Sunriseread's readers who could enjoy them with their morning coffee.

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