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How Instagram Selfies Are Putting Russian Oligarchs At Risk

How Instagram Selfies Are Putting Russian Oligarchs At Risk

In the age of Instagram, it is only right that we use the power of social media to track down Russian Oligarchs

Whether we like it or not, we are living in the age of the Instagram selfie, where privacy is increasingly becoming a hot commodity. 

Privacy is something that Russian Oligarchs notoriously value, however, the crowds they party with do not necessarily hold those same values. 

As a wave of sanctions sweep across Russia targeting the richest and the wealthiest, social media posts are being used by these very people to provide evidence. 

A few weeks ago, a series of images of a Russian woman went viral on Twitter, in which she looks to be enjoying her time on a luxurious yacht, as well as playing a spot of Tennis, and even graduating from University in London.

The Russian woman in question is Polina Kovaleva, the suspected stepdaughter of Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. 

Maria Pevchick, head of investigations at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, posted the original Tweet, which stated: “I would like you to meet Polina Kovaleva. Polina is a 26-year-old glamorous Russian girl from London. 

“She lives in a huge apartment in Kensington and loves to party, her Instagram feed looks like a non-stop holiday.

“That’s not unheard of, but there is one small detail...” 

The next Tweet continued: “Polina is the stepdaughter of Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov. Yes, THAT Lavrov. 

“He is one of Putin's closest allies, his loyal talking head full of hot air and now also a war criminal.” 

According to the Financial Times, Kovaleva purchased a £4.4 million apartment in Kensington, London, in 2016 when she was just a 21-year-old student at Loughborough University in the UK. 

Using her lavish Instagram lifestyle as a basis for their investigation, a team of Russian anti-corruption activists set out in pursuit of forcing the UK government to sanction her and seize her London assets. 

Within days of her pictures going viral, Kovaleva was banned from entering the UK and all her assets were frozen. 

Alex Finley, a former CIA officer who now engages in her own public-facing efforts to track oligarchs’ yachts, told Vice: “To be an influencer, you have to show off. 

“They’re under a lot of social pressure to show off their wealth. They don’t understand the security rules that are in place, or all the things that people can figure out from a photo. 

“They think—‘Hey, cool shot!’ They’re a weak link.” 

Behold, the power of social media. 

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

Featured Image Credit: Instagram

Topics: Instagram, Social Media, Russia, World News