Shockingly, a Russian oligarch wrote an opinion article Thursday calling the investigation into Russian manipulation a false narrative.
Oleg Deripaska, a business leader with ties to President Trump and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, compared the Mueller probe into election interference to the 1997 Dustin Hoffman/Robert de Niro film Wag the Dog in the far-right pro-Trump publication The Daily Caller.
In the piece, Deripaska bemoaned how he, personally, has been victimized by the “deep state,” a favored conspiracy theory of the right-wing media. To hear Deripaska tell it, vast liberal media and political shadow cabals have regularly tried to discredit and defame him – he threatened to sue media outlets covering stories of his (alleged) attempts at bribery and secret meetings with government officials in February.
“I will severely suppress any attempts to create and disseminate false information flow using all legal measures and will defend my honor and dignity in court,” he said in an email to the Washington Post.
In the Daily Caller article, Deripaska spins an elaborate tale of “shadow players” and conspiracy to overturn the 2016 election by liberal elites that is part and parcel of the “deep state” conspiracy playbook.
Deripaska’s motivations are where the story takes a strange turn.
It could be that Deripaska is motivated to attack the Mueller investigation now because of a “seductress” in Thai prison. Anastasia Vashukevich was arrested in Thailand while giving a “sex and seduction” training session for violating the terms of her visa.
Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka, posted an Instagram video of herself and Deripaska with Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko on a yacht in 2016. This video was recently used as part of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s investigation into connections between Deripaska, the Russian government and election interference in the United States.
If Navalny is correct and Deripaska is connected to the Trump campaign, his attempts to oppose the investigation by Robert Mueller aren’t just protecting the President, but a naked attempt at self-preservation.
And perhaps, a hope that the investigation will be abandoned before Nastya Rybka gets her moment in the spotlight.
“I’m ready to give you all the missing puzzle pieces, support them with videos and audios, regarding the connections of our respected lawmakers with Trump, Manafort and the rest,” she said while being arrested. “I know a lot. I’m waiting for your offers and I’m waiting for you in a Thai prison.”
Perhaps tellingly, Wag the Dog was a movie about using global politics to distract from a sex scandal. Deripaska’s invocation of it and a well-known right-wing conspiracy theory as drama is unfolding about his past on a yacht with a woman who literally wrote the book on seducing millionaires is truly stranger than fiction.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.