Nastya Rybka Seeks U.S. Asylum
The woman at the center of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s recent report about an alleged meeting between billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko has asked for political asylum from the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, where she and an associate were detained after a police raid on a “sex training” seminar.
Anastasia Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka, and her partner Aleksandr Kirillov — known as Alex Lesley — were detained by Thai police in the city of Pattaya on February 25 along with eight other Russian nationals and are expected to be deported to Russia within 48 hours, their representative, Ivan Yunko, told RFE/RL on February 28.
Yunko provided RFE/RL with photographs of the handwritten letter he said Vashukevich, Kirillov, and the others sent to the U.S. Embassy in Thailand. In the letter, scrawled in English and addressed to “USA Consul,” Kirillov says that he has been “repressed by Russia” because he provided material for Navalny’s report alleging a meeting on a yacht between Deripaska and Prikhodko, a longtime former senior foreign policy adviser to President Vladimir Putin.
“We ask you political asylim (sic) and help us and protect us as quickly as possible, because we have very important information for USA and we risk our lives very much,” the letter says.
In it, Kirillov claims to have photographed and taped evidence of “crymes of [the] Russian government,” and promises to give the evidence — which he does not describe in any detail — to the United States “if you help us.”
There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy.
Read more on rferl.org.