More than 24 hours after the story broke, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko has finally responded to allegations by opposition politician Alexey Navalny that he accepted bribes from the oligarch Oleg Deripaska and met aboard his yacht off the coast of Norway in August 2016, possibly to discuss Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.
Prikhodko told the magazine RBC that Navalny is a “political failure,” saying his corruption allegations are “just his latest attempt to stage a provocation and promote himself, indiscriminately confusing everything possible and impossible.” Prikhodko also denied knowing Paul Manafort personally.
Prikhodko, who acts as chief of staff for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, told RBC that he doesn’t plan to sue Navalny, and prefers to let “others” pursue the matter in courts. (Oleg Deripaska has already threatened to bring a defamation lawsuit.) “By and large, we ought to settle this like men,” Prikhodko said, implying that he would like to beat up Navalny, “but we’ll leave this within legal bounds,” he added.
On February 8, Navalny published allegations against Deripaska and Prikhodko, claiming that the two met aboard Deripaska’s yacht in August 2016 off the coast of Norway, possibly to discuss the oligarch’s relationship with Paul Manafort and his role in Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Navalny says bribery is the only rational explanation for Prikhodko’s luxurious property holdings, and he’s called on President Putin and federal law enforcement to investigate the matter.