Secret Service Daughter: Swimming, Surfing, Bali
Mikhail Shubin researched what the daughter of the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia (SVR) does and how she built her career.
Sergey Naryshkin is a low-profile official. At various times, he occupied some of the most important posts in Russia. He was born and raised in St. Petersburg, in the family of ‘intelligent’ parents. Classmates believed that Sergey comes from the same Russian noble family, the Naryshkins, to which the mother of Peter I belonged. Naryshkin himself spoke of this only as a joke.
After graduating from the Leningrad Institute of Mechanics, for the next four years, Naryshkin studied at the 101st School of the First Main Directorate of the KGB, where he met with the future Russian President, Vladimir Putin. After graduation, Naryshkin became an assistant to the Vice-Rector for International Relations at the Polytechnic Institute. This post was considered traditional for KGB officers.
For Naryshkin, as well as for many current high-ranking officials, getting acquainted with Putin and working for the KGB became a ticket to the top echelons of power. In 2004, he became deputy head of the economic administration in the Presidential Administration (AP), then, head of the Russian Government’s Central Office. Until 2011, he headed the Presidential Administration, after which he was elected to the State Duma of the VI convocation and became its chairman. In 2016, when Russia's relations with Europe and the US were completely ruined because of the Crimea and the war in the South-East of Ukraine, Putin appointed Naryshkin as the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia. A month later, it became clear that the ‘chief intelligence officer’ was one of the co-founders of a secret elite settlement in the Leningrad Region. It has a poetic name: Forest Lubyanka.
SWIMMING AND VERONIKA
In 2006, Sergey Naryshkin was elected president of the All-Russian Swimming Federation (VFP). Why did the former KGB officer and official from the higher administrative apparatus need to supervise the given sphere? Perhaps, because Naryshkin himself is fond of swimming, and begins his every morning with a 300-500 meters swim. In 2008, at the opening of the Russian Swimming Championships in St. Petersburg, Naryshkin praised himself, saying that there had been positive changes in the Russian swimming. A year later, in 2009, Naryshkin resigned from the post, but until 2016 he was chairman of the Supreme Council of the VFP, later becoming the honorary president of the federation.
Naryshkin’s daughter, Veronika, was fascinated by swimming since childhood. The father came to all the competitions the daughter participated in. After graduating from a school, Naryshkina entered the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. At 21, she received a special presidential scholarship and managed to take part in privatization.
A standard scheme was used, as Novaya Gazeta writes. Naryshkin was the head of the Presidential Administration. Under a contract of social rent, he was given a four-room office apartment (224.1 sq. m.). Then, the apartment was privatized by his daughter Veronika, and in 2012, when Naryshkin left his post, housing was again transferred to the former chekist.
Veronika, unlike her father, did not try to build a career in the public sector, but fully devoted herself to sports and was awarded the title of Master of Sports in swimming. In 2010, at her 22nd birthday, Veronika became head of the Russian youth swimming team, which proved itself at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
After the competitions, the winners were hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
"The achievements of each of you and of the whole team, without exaggeration, can be called historical. I am happy to congratulate you on a good start – the team 'silver' – and a large number of gold medals. You are very happy people, because at the very beginning of your lives and sports careers, you experienced the joy of victory," said the President during the meeting with the juniors at the suburban residence Gorki-9.
In 2013, Naryshkina becomes head of the adult swimming team. She holds this position at least until the end of 2014, when she is awarded the VFP prize in the category “Co-author of Success.” After that, there are zero reports about Naryshkina, as the head of the national team. The phone number of the All-Russian Swimming Federation is not available, so it is impossible to find out for how long Naryshkina held her position. Since late 2016, the head of the Russian team for swimming is Sergey Zhilkin. Now, Veronika Naryshkina holds the post of vice-president of the Swimming Federation of Moscow.
Since 2014, on the Instagram of the official’s daughter, one can find photos and video tapes, on which she cuts through the waves on the board. The sportswoman’s new hobbies are surfing, skiing and traveling.
For skiing Veronika prefers to go to the ski resort of Sorochany near Moscow, but to catch a wave, she travels to Indonesia. From the end of March to the end of April 2015, Veronica surfed in Bali.
On the May holidays of the same year, she was in Amsterdam. And, after only nine days, on she ended up on the other end of the planet – in Las Vegas. In the next few weeks, Naryshkina traveled to California. In September, returned to Bali again to catch a wave.
Tracking the publication dates of her photos on the Instagram, one can see that Naryshkina travels to Bali every spring and fall.
Probably, the passion for surfing and the desire to promote it in Russia prompted Naryshkina to become a co-founder of the Regional Public Organization on Promoting Surfing “Surfing Federation” at the end of December 2016. Among other founders, there was another swimmer – the former captain of the Russian national synchronized swimming team, Anzhelika Timanina. She became the president of this organization.
The synchronist stopped swimming due to a wrist injury and suddenly fell in love with surfing, which she began to engage in the same way as Naryshkina, in Bali. In an interview for InStyle in April 2017, Timanina says that she is giving all her energy to promote surfing in Russia and plans to build an artificial wave in the country.
Since the registration, no news about the activities of this organization appeared in the media. It also does not have an official website. President of the Russian Surfing Federation Sergey Raszdaev in his comment for Russiangate said that his organization is ‘the only active’ and he knows nothing about the Regional Organization “Surfing Federation”. He added that he was familiar with Naryshkina, but did not know that she had become a co-founder of the federation.
According to the extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, the Surfing Federation has two telephone numbers. The call on the first was answered by an unknown lady. She said that this is not the organization's phone, "you made a mistake with the number" and hung up immediately. She did not answer for repeated calls.
With the second number, the situation is even more confusing. The same number is indicated by the cleaning agency Blesk, owned by Timanina’s friend (in May 2016, she wrote about it on her Facebook page). It belongs to Yuri Borisov, who also co-founded the Surfing Federation. No one answered the calls to this number.