23 APRIL 2023
Fines were issued on a Tesla car belonging to Nikolai Choles, son of Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary, at a time when he was allegedly fighting in Ukraine.
Source: Meduza with reference to Russian Telegram channels
Details: Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group, claimed that Peskov’s son had fought in Ukraine. Prigozhin did not name the person, but specified that he had spent part of his life in the United States or England. Dmitry Peskov’s eldest son, 33-year-old Nikolai Choles, who lived in the UK for 10 years and returned to Russia in 2011-2012, fits this description, Meduza writes.
Prigozhin said he had admitted Peskov’s son to the private military company “using forged documents, changing his last name, first name and patronymic”. He was trained, served six months under a contract, and went on leave.
In an interview he gave to Komsomolskaya Pravda, Nikolai Choles said that his father had helped him join the Wagner Group at the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine.
According to him, he joined the Wagner Group under a false name (which he did not reveal, saying that it might “still be needed”). Peskov’s son claims that he received a medal “for valour” for “a certain combat feat” in Ukraine.
Several media outlets doubted that Peskov’s son went to war, due to the fact that fines continued to be issued on his Tesla in Moscow.
According to the anonymous Telegram channel VChK-OGPU [the name comes from the political punitive body of Soviet Russia], the Tesla Model X owned by Nikolai Choles until the end of March 2023 violated traffic laws on 24 July and 6 November 2022, at the same time as he was supposedly in Ukraine. The Telegram channel posted screenshots from surveillance cameras that recorded the Tesla exceeding the speed limit.
As the media outlet Sota notes, the car was known to have also been used by Dmitry Peskov in addition to Nikolai Choles. Despite having sold the car, Choles continues to hold one of two compulsory civil liability insurance policies issued for the electric car, Sota claims.
Current and former gunners from the Wagner Group have commented on the VCHK-OGPU Telegram channel that Choles had not been seen “either on the Soledar or Bakhmut fronts”. Friends of Peskov’s son told VCHK-OGPU that he had not disappeared for a prolonged period of time. Other sources did not confirm this information.
Another Telegram channel, Agentstvo, notes that Peskov’s son may have committed a crime, since according to Prigozhin he got into the Wagner Group “using forged documents”. According to Yevgeny Smirnov, a lawyer in the “First Department” [a unit in the special services of post-Soviet countries that exercises control over secret office work and ensures the secrecy and security of classified documents – ed.], the very existence of the Wagner Group is not regulated, so it is unclear what documents could be needed. But if Peskov’s son used a fake passport to join the Group, then he should be looking at up to a year in prison.
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