Angry protesters have gathered outside the London flat of the step-daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Polina Kovaleva, living a life of luxury at her £4.4million Kensington estate, much to the disdain of those protesting her father’s involvement in the war in Ukraine.
The 26-year-old is said to be the daughter of Lavrov’s mistress, activists say, benefiting from her stepfather’s influence.
A crowd had gathered outside his address yesterday, in which Polina Kovaleva, the daughter of Russian war criminal Sergei Lavrov, stole her money here.
Others carried signs with a picture of her face and the words ‘daughter of a war criminal’ below, a reference to her stepfather’s role in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
Protesters outside Polina Kovaleva’s flat in Kensington, with signs calling her ‘the daughter of a war criminal’. His stepfather Sergei Lavrov is one of the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin
Kovaleva (pictured) is the stepdaughter of Foreign Minister Lavrov, who has reportedly been in a relationship with his 51-year-old mother, Svetlana Polyakova, for two decades.
Lavrov has made several statements in recent weeks, blaming Ukraine for the Russian aggression, before defiantly claiming last week that Russia had not attacked its neighbour.
Last week lawmakers called on Kovaleva, who, at the age of 21, paid flat millions of pounds without mortgage, was one of hundreds admitted to having ties to the Putin regime.
Polina’s mother is said to be 51-year-old Svetlana Polyakova, with whom Lavrov has had an affair since the early 2000s and is said to be his unofficial wife.
Polyakova has an apartment in Moscow worth 5 million pounds. She accompanies Lavrov on every foreign trip and has been on an official plane more than 60 times, according to FBK, the anti-corruption foundation run by jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
She is a powerful member of the Russian Foreign Ministry, described as ‘no ordinary bureaucrat’ in an investigation last year by the respected Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
Polina (pictured) enjoys a gilded lifestyle in London, described by one observer as a ‘non-stop holiday’. She went to a private boarding school in Bristol before earning a first-class degree in economics with politics at Loughborough University.
Documents from the Land Registry show that Polina bought an apartment (pictured above) in Kensington, west London, without a mortgage in 2016, when she was just 21.
Lavrov, one of Putin’s most trusted aides appointed in 2004, refused to approve a ceasefire in Ukraine and made the extraordinary claim that Russia did not invade Ukraine.
The 71-year-old diplomat – so admired by his boss that Putin refused to allow him to retire – scorned the ‘pathetic outrage’ over the Mariupol hospital bombing in Turkey over the failure of peace talks yesterday.
He has been sanctioned by Britain and the European Union and is seen as apologetic for Putin’s bloody aggression.
Polina attended a private boarding school in Bristol before earning a first-class degree in economics with politics at Loughborough University and later completing a master’s degree in economics and strategy for business at Imperial College London.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (above) is a trusted ally of Vladimir Putin
She went on to work for the Russian energy giant Gazprom, where she helped with mergers and acquisitions, and later worked at the mining company Glencore.
Before buying her home, she lived in an apartment in a townhouse in Holland Park, west London, which is owned by the Russian Embassy.
Records show that the nearby Ukrainian embassy alleged that Russia had falsely claimed ownership of the property.
Polina now lives in an apartment, which Land Registry documents say she bought in 2016 for £4.4 million without a mortgage, when she was 21, on a block off Kensington High Street.
It is still unknown who paid for Polina’s flat and her mother, who is independently wealthy, has not been approved.
She shares the apartment with a person who is supposed to be her partner, who also has a 10 percent stake in the investment company she now runs.
The property is part of an award-winning development that features a swimming pool, gym, spa, cinema, golf simulator, games room and views of Kensington and Holland Park.
Lavrov (centre) is said to have been in a relationship with Svetlana Polyakova (right) for the past two decades. Polyakova is a powerful member of the Russian Foreign Ministry and has been described as Lavrov’s unofficial wife. She accompanies him on foreign trips
Maria Pevchikh, the head of investigation at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said Lavrov and Polyakova had been together for “nearly two decades”.
Asked where Polina got the money to buy her apartment, Ms Pevchikh said: ‘Polina’s biological father is not superrich. She has no noble husband. Yet at the age of 21, she bought a coveted apartment on Kensington High Street for £4.4 million, and her lifestyle is more of a ‘non-stop holiday’.
Polina’s mother also has ‘substantial assets’ which a foreign ministry expert ‘almost certainly will not be able to afford’.
Property records show that he and his family have real estate worth about 1 billion rubles in Russia and Great Britain.
At the time it was worth $13.6 million, although the ruble has fallen due to the debilitating war in Ukraine.
MPs and campaigners want Polina and her mother to be included in Britain’s sanctions list
Lavrov is married to linguist wife Maria, and the couple has a 40-year-old daughter, Ekaterina, who was raised mainly in America, where he was posted as a diplomat.
Despite this, Lavrov has been seen on foreign trips with Polyakova, who sometimes uses the female form of her surname Lavrova.
Ms Pevchikh said Polyakova and her daughter should confiscate their assets as well as oligarchs such as Chelsea bosses Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska, who were added to the sanctions list on Thursday. MP Kris Bryant supported his call.
Lawmakers questioned why the government’s list of hundreds of individuals and entities approved by the European Union and the US still dwarfs it.
Laila Moran MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Development, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The government is still lagging behind the EU and the US. The law hasn’t been passed yet, so if they can take action against Abramovich, why not others?’
Moran called for action in the House of Commons last month against 35 “key supporters” of Putin, many of whom have been ratified in the EU or the US but not in the UK.
Polina went to a private boarding school in Bristol before completing her master’s degree in economics and strategy for business at Imperial College London (pictured above upon her graduation)
This includes the head of Russia’s National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, whose family is one of the richest people in Russia in the real estate sector; Anton Vano, Putin’s Chief of Staff; and Mikhail Mishustin, Russian Prime Minister.
Moran said officials should also look to the “family and friends” of Putin’s aides, as “one way to get around the sanctions is to transfer money and property to family members”.
“They should be included in the list and ideally it should be automatic,” she said.
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