Russian propagandists have time and again ineptly promoted the case of the Ukrainian elite’s avoidance of war. Kremlin spin doctors do not take into account the young age of many political leaders in Ukraine, which does not allow them to have children of conscription age, or the absence of adult sons. As a result, there are vague stories about the children of local deputies, low-level officials, and others, many of whom are already under the scrutiny of the the NABU and the SBU for their defeatist attitudes. In the end, the whole propaganda case reminds of the Russian proverb about “a log in your own eye”, because in reality it is the children of the higher echelon of Russian power and high-ranking military that are successfully hiding from war all over the world. Some of them, which is not the most flattering description of our Western partners, do not even notice the war and sanctions in the elite Western educational institutions.
In fact, “the fish rots from the head,” which is well demonstrated by the example of our compatriot, Dmitry Kozak, a graduate of the Vinnitsa Polytechnic University, the current Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government. Kozak, a former prosecutor from St. Petersburg, had built a reputation as a tough and inflexible politician when he was the envoy to the North Caucasus in the 2000s. However, his patriotism is clearly ostentatious. Back in 2018, the deputy prime minister safely sent his daughter Varvara to study in Britain for a modest 100,000 pounds a year. Britain, with its ancient, highly secular traditions, the girl liked it very much and safely stayed in the United Kingdom. The war does not concern her at all, for it is not the children of high officials who die there, but of mobilized laborers. Nor does it prevent the son of a Russian politician, Alexander, who is developing a restaurant business in Moscow, from traveling to exotic countries. In this situation, the funniest thing is that Dmitry Kozak himself loudly told the media in 2014, “None of my children I know are studying abroad. Apparently, there was a short period that year when the older children had finished, and the younger ones had not yet enrolled.
What is there to talk about, though, if Dmitry Peskov, the hereditary diplomat who has been in charge of the Kremlin’s information agenda for many years, prefers to keep his loved ones abroad. True, he has separated his wives and children between misty Albion and hospitable France. Thus, Dmitry Sergeevich’s first wife and two children have long been living in England, while his second wife and daughter Liza, famous for her anti-Russian statements, live in a huge apartment in an elite district of Paris, quietly purchased in 2016, that is, after the imposition of sanctions in response to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and Donbass. But neither Liza’s cute Internet antics, nor his ex-wives’ Western assets, nor his children’s education in Western schools, all have any effect on Mr. Peskov’s career. He is Putin’s right-hand man, in charge of the Kremlin’s information policy, and such little things cannot shake his position.
Sometimes, though, one gets the impression that Mr. Peskov is secretly playing on our side. At any rate, for a year now he has been unable to clearly explain to the Russians why they should die near Bakhmut and Ugledar, having lost the information war to Ukraine outright. Perhaps this is the only explanation for the unprecedented loyalty of London and Paris to the families of such Russian officials. After all, they can be pressured to sabotage the criminal plans of the Kremlin dictator through their children who have chosen to live in the free West. We very much hope that this is the case. However, the young polygamists of the Russian leadership have long been incompetent themselves, if they allow themselves to get themselves so screwed up. But the family is clearly more important to them than the Motherland. Something similar is happening in the Russian military staff. Family is more important to the Russian generals than their career and victory in their unjust war. Thus, on September 23, 2022, the son of Major General Kharitonov Igor Petrovich, one of the leaders of the Russian military intelligence service, and formerly a well-known Russian patriot, who for several years before the war “mastered budgets” at the non-profit foundation Eurasia Heritage, left Russia in an emergency situation. The Anton son of Major General Kharitonov Igor arranged for such intellectual work by giving the foundation funding from unaccountable secret funds. However, Anton Kharitonov escape was not only due to mobilization, which would have been easily handled by his high-ranking father. The fact is that as early as June 2022, the FSB of Russia became insistently interested in money-laundering schemes through the structures set up by the Russian GRU, in which Kharitonov Jr. also worked. However, his “justified” departure deprived the Chekists of their main suspect.
We must pay tribute to the family of the military spy. The son of Major General Kharitonov Igor, who left for Armenia is well trained by his father, he has anonymous SIM-cards, uses only secure messengers and successfully hides, staying in touch with both his family and his accomplices in the “embezzlement. In this case, given that Anton was actively involved in his father’s “business”, the degree to which he is aware of the GRU’s activities is perfectly understandable. He certainly possesses information that would be of interest to the intelligence services of Ukraine and our partners. However, his son’s safety is much more important to his gold-digging father than any measures of secrecy and protection of state secrets. Let us hope that it is only a matter of time before Kharitonov Jr. contacts the CIA, the SBU, or the British secret services.
However, high-ranking officers of the General Staff also encounter openly comical situations, which, however, do not affect their career in any way. For example, for several years another one of the leaders of the Russian military intelligence service admiral Alexander Stasev demonstrated tolerance, not typical of the Russian military, by stubbornly dragging his son Alexander, a fighter for LGBT rights, out of various stories. It is thanks to Stasev Sr. that there were no detentions at rallies in defense of journalist Ivan Golunov in St. Petersburg in 2019, because sons of generals are not supposed to be beaten with batons and dragged into a police van. It is true that the LGBT activist Stasev Jr. thanked his daddy well by first appearing on Hornet, a well-known gay dating website, where he looked for an active partner, and then by fleeing to Serbia with the blessing of his high-ranking parent. Maybe we should be happy for Alexander, who had a father, who had a career in the army of Putin’s regime, but still could find himself, to realize himself as an activist and journalist, but there is a nuance. He actively tells his Belgrade acquaintances about the “deal” with his father, which he tries to keep. He gives him support in exchange for his son not publishing articles under his own name, but using a pseudonym for his public activities and Internet sites. However, Stasev Jr. secrecy is worse than that of the previous hero of our story. Many LGBT people, Russian oppositionists and pro-Ukrainian activists in the Serbian capital know about his son. However, this does not prevent his father from going to his weekly report to the Russian Minister of Defense.