“Sex huntress” who claims to have insight into Russia’s election meddling detained in Moscow
The self-styled “sex huntress” who claimed to have secret audio tapes about Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election was arrested in Moscow by Russian authorities following her release from Thai prison hours earlier, one of her associates told VICE News on Thursday.
Anastasia Vashukevich, who goes by the name “Nastya Rybka,” was detained in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport along with her mentor in seduction, Alex Kirillov, and two other people on suspicion of involvement in prostitution, according to Gregory Kogan, a friend and associate of both Vashukevich and Kirillov.
Vashukevich had spent almost a year in Thai prison, where she was fighting charges related to her role running a class on sexual seduction in the Southeast Asian country. Vashukevich’s friends and supporters have said the case was designed to silence her, after she sparked an international controversy by flaunting her alleged relationship to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and her supposed knowledge of high-level conversations related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.
Kirillov himself repeated that view when he, Vashukevich and six others who’d been detained in Thailand appeared in court on Tuesday, prior to their release.
“I think somebody ordered (our arrest)... for money,” Kirillov said, according to Agence France-Presse.
The group was released on Tuesday by a Thai judge after pleading guilty to three charges, including solicitation and membership in a “secret society,” according to reporters who were present at the hearing.
On Thursday, Kogan said that Vashukevich, Kirillov and two more members of the group who’d returned to Moscow were detained shortly after disembarking from the plane, and that their whereabouts are now unknown. Russian-language media outlets including The Bell and Interfax reported Vashukevich's arrest in Moscow Thursday.
Vashukevich has worried openly that she could be harmed if she were sent back to Russia, and, in the past, has appealed to U.S. authorities for help.
“This is very serious,” she wrote last February on her Instagram account shortly after she was first arrested in Thailand. “Please USA help us not to die from Russians!”
FBI investigators had tried to speak with Vashukevich during the first half of 2018, only to be rebuffed by Thai authorities, a person familiar with the failed outreach told VICE News last year.
Vashukevich has claimed to have been the “mistress” of powerful Russian oligarch and Kremlin ally Deripaska, and to have used her access to make audio recordings that shed light on Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential race. The details of those recordings, however, have remained obscure.
Her friends and associates have told VICE News that she began taping the billionaire’s conversations as an exercise aimed at enhancing her seductive powers, in an attempt to learn what he said about her to other people when she was out of the room.
Deripaska has denied any wrongdoing, saying that the “false allegations” are “the result of a planned campaign aimed to damage my reputation.” And he’s dismissed Vashukevich’s claims about their relationship: “There have been endless fictitious stories told by her,” a representative for Deripaska told CNN last year.
After her arrest in Thailand, Vashukevich at first appeared to be reaching out to U.S. authorities for help — but in July, she told VICE News that she would only give the tapes to Deripaska.
“I will give the tapes only to Oleg Deripaska,” she told VICE News in comments relayed by an intermediary out of Thai prison. “I’m not going to blackmail anyone, and I wasn’t planning to.”
Cover: Model Anastasia Vashukevich (known as Nastya Rybka), of Belarus, waits for her departure to Moscow at the Suwarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok, Thailand. (Evgeniy Belenkiy / Sputnik via AP)