Anna Chapman, June 2010
Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko|
23 February 1982
Volgograd, Soviet Union
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, television host, and agent of the Russian Federation|
|Known for||Involvement with Russian Illegals Program|
|Criminal charge||Conspiracy to act as an unlawful agent of a foreign government|
|Criminal status||Deported to Russia|
|Spouse(s)||Alex Chapman (divorced)|
Anna Vasil’yevna Chapman (Template:Lang-rus; born Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko Template:Lang-rus; 23 February 1982) is a Russian national, who was residing in New York when she was arrested along with nine others on 27 June 2010, on suspicion of working for the Illegals Program spy ring under the Russian Federation's external intelligence agency, the SVR (Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki). Chapman pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General, and was deported back to Russia on 8 July 2010, as part of a prisoner swap.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Chapman was born Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko in Volgograd, according to U.S. authorities, and her father was employed in the Soviet embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. According to Chapman's British ex-husband, her father, Vasily Kushchenko, was also a senior KGB official, although this is unsubstantiated. According to her husband, Anna Chapman Kushchyenko earned a Masters degree in economics with first class honours from Moscow University. According to other sources she got her degree from Peoples' Friendship University of Russia.
London: 2001–2006[edit | edit source]
She met Alex Chapman at a London Docklands rave party in 2001 and they married shortly thereafter in Moscow; as a result she gained dual Russian-British citizenship, and a British passport. After Anna was arrested in New York, Alex engaged media publicist Max Clifford, and sold his story to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
New York: 2009–2010[edit | edit source]
She took up residence at 20 Exchange Place, one block from Wall Street in Manhattan. Her LinkedIn social networking site profile identified her as CEO of PropertyFinder LLC, a website selling real estate internationally. Alex has stated that Anna told him the enterprise was continually in debt for the first couple of years, and then suddenly in 2009, she had as many as 50 employees and a successful business.
She is reported to have been dating Michel Bittan, a prominent New York restaurant owner. She later described her time in the US with the Charles Dickens quote, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times".
Russia: 2010–present[edit | edit source]
She testified to the closed trial in absentia of Col. Alexander Poteyev that took place in Moscow in May and June 2011. Chapman testified that it was only Poteyev who could have provided the US authorities with the information that led to her arrest in 2010; she also alleged that she was arrested shortly after an undercover U.S. agent contacted her using a code that only Poteyev and her personal handler could know.
Chapman writes a column for Komsomolskaya Pravda. In October 2011 she was accused of plagiarising material on Alexander Pushkin from a book by Kremlin spin-doctor Oleg Matveychev. The Guardian newspaper reported that this incident added to a general negative trend toward her in certain sections of Russian society, saying that in September 2011, she had been "heckled during a speech on leadership at a St Petersburg University." Students had, it said, displayed signs stating: "Chapman, get out of the university!" and "The Kremlin and the porn studio are in the other direction!"
Chapman's foundation supported 2nd International Сonference «The Genetics of Aging and Longevity» in Moscow, where the top world aging scientists will present their speeches, including researchers who developed the mice, which lived more than 2 times longer than regular mice, extended life of nematodes more than 10 times, study animals that do not age and develop innovative anti-aging drugs.
Illegals Program and arrest[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Illegals Program
Chapman is one of only two of the Illegals Program Russians arrested in June 2010 who did not use an assumed name.
Arrest[edit | edit source]
Officials claimed Chapman worked with a network of others, until an undercover FBI agent attempted to draw her into a trap at a Manhattan coffee shop. The FBI agent offered Chapman a fake passport at Starbucks, with the instructions to forward it to another spy. He asked, "are you ready for this step?", to which Chapman unequivocally replied, "Of course." She accepted the passport. However, after making a series of phone calls to her father, Vasily Kushchenko, in Moscow, Chapman ended up heeding her father's advice and handed the passport in at a local police station, but was arrested shortly after.
International exchange[edit | edit source]
After being formally charged, Chapman and nine other detainees became part of a spy swap deal between the US and Russia, the biggest of its kind since 1986. The 10 Russian agents returned to Russia via a chartered jet that landed at Vienna International Airport, where the swap occurred on the morning of 8 July. The Russian jet returned to Moscow's Domodedovo airport, where after landing the 10 spies were kept away from local and international press.
Revocation of UK citizenship[edit | edit source]
According to a statement from her US lawyer Robert Baum and media reports, Chapman wished to move to the UK. As a result, the Home Office exercised the special powers by the British Home Secretary to deprive Chapman of her British citizenship, only used against six people since their introduction in 2002, in part to make it easier to deport radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al Masri, which, in the event, never occurred and whose British citizenship has been reaffirmed judicially. The Home Office issued legal papers revoking her citizenship on 13 July 2010. Steps are also being taken to exclude Chapman, meaning she could not travel to the UK. After her deportation to Russia, Baum reiterated that his client had wished to stay in the UK; he also said that she was "particularly upset" by the revocation of her UK citizenship and exclusion from the country.
Media coverage and popular reaction[edit | edit source]
After her arrest by the FBI for her involvement with the Illegals Program, Chapman gained celebrity status. Photos of Chapman taken from her Facebook profile appeared on the web, and several videos of her were uploaded to YouTube. Her red hair color led at least one media outlet to refer to her as "the red under the bed."
Magazines and blogs detailed her fashion style and dress sense, while tabloids displayed her action figure dolls.  Chapman was described by local media in New York as a regular of exclusive bars and restaurants. US Vice-President Joe Biden, when jokingly asked by Jay Leno on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, "Do we have any spies that hot?", replied in a mock serious tone, "Let me be clear. It was not my idea to send her back."
According to the news agency Interfax, effective 1 October 2010 Chapman is employed as an adviser on investment and innovation issues to the President of FundserviceBank, a Moscow bank that handles payments on behalf of state- and private-sector enterprises in the Russian aerospace industry.
In June 2012, Chapman was on the runway as a catwalk model for Antalya at the Dosso Dossi.
References[edit | edit source]
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- [dead link]
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[edit | edit source]
- Plea agreement, United States v. Anna Chapman, no. 10 Cr. 598, (S.D.N.Y 8 July 2010)
- US vs Anna Chapman Complaint
- Anna Chapman video and Russian news
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