Wacky and all too brief What happened when the daughter of Vladimir Putin's spokesman took a job promoting ‘business-patriotism’
On July 2, 2017, Elizaveta Peskova, the daughter of Vladimir Putin’s long-time press secretary, became an advisor to Rakhman Yansukov, the president of “Avanti,” an organization created by Chechen entrepreneur and former Russian senator Umar Dzhabrailov. While on the job, Peskova traveled to Chechnya and to a shipyard in Sevastopol, Crimea. She also wrote a blog post that caused a stir in Tatarstan's government. Then, in late August, Peskova suddenly quit the job and returned to France, where she’s been studying for the past several years. Meduza reviews the all-too-brief Russian career of Dmitry Peskov’s very visible daughter.
On July 16, Elizaveta Peskova set off for Chechnya, where she attended the first soccer game of the season for the local “Akhmat” team. She also danced the traditional lezginka dance with Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov, and posed in workout clothes from the “Akhmat” boxing club. And she visited a mosque.
On August 1, Elizaveta Peskova joined a delegation from “Avanti” to the “Yuzhny” shipyard in Sevastopol, which belongs to Chechen entrepreneur Rakhmutdin Dadayev. The factory has been dealing with some problems: city officials want to break the lease due to non-payments on wharves, cranes, and other equipment. In Sevastopol, Peskova met with shipyard staff who could be laid off.
After the meeting, Peskova said in an awkward interview that young people today are interested in earning money, and she doesn’t know a single person who would have thought about “shipbuilding.” “You’ve got to be well informed for this. You need to develop a PR strategy for litigation and shippybuilding [sic]. For this, you’ve got to demonstrate confidence in the future, and show that this is prestigious work, and that this isn’t something to be ashamed of,” Peskova explained, dressed in an outfit designed by the fashion label created by Ramzan Kadyrov’s daughter.
When Internet users started ridiculing Peskova’s interview, Dmitry Peskov’s ex-wife, Ekaterina Solotsinskaya, came to her daughter’s defense, saying, “You’re all so amused that she doesn’t know the difference between litigation and shippybuilding, but how many of you knew the difference before yesterday? And how many of you could discuss this subject in front of a room full of journalists and cameras? Her job isn’t to understand why a big heavy iron ship floats on the water; it’s to draw attention to the problems of people who deal with these issues.”
But Peskova’s visit to the Sevastopol shipyard had no effect on negotiation with city officials, who are still demanding 32 million rubles in rent, which the shipyard is still refusing to pay.
On August 28, Peskova wrote on Instagram about her friend “Arthur,” who supposedly approached state officials in Tatarstan with an idea to create a database of young professionals’ résumés. According to Peskova, Tatarstan officials ultimately created the database themselves, stealing her friend’s idea.
Journalists contacted Tatarstan’s Economics Ministry, whose head supposedly took a special interest in the database concept, but officials deny that the minister has ever met Arthur, and Education Ministry officials stated that no one named Arthur participated in a single 2017 summer seminar at the Russian Academy of National Economy. Reporters later discovered that Peskova was referring to Arthur Akhmadullin, who participated in the school’s summer seminars in 2015. It also turns out that he’d never met Peskova, and merely described his story to her in messages on Instagram.
On August 30, journalists learned that Elizaveta Peskova no longer works at “Avanti.” Peskova’s spokesperson says she has returned to Paris to continue her education. Peskova has since deleted from her Instagram account all posts related to her work with Avanti, though the organization maintains that she is still an employee. In a rare comment on his family, Dmitry Peskov told reporters that his daughter “had no employers” and was merely “contributing” to Avanti’s work. “I’m wary of [my daughter’s public life], but I don’t want to discuss it with anyone.” Peskov said.
Elizaveta Peskova’s return to Paris coincided with police detaining Umar Dzhabrailov at a Moscow hotel for firing a gun into the ceiling, but these two events were not connected.