Christo Grozev Profile picture
Feb 26, 2018 28 tweets 10 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The airplane number of cocaine plane busted by Argentinian police belongs to Russia's AirForce One (seen here, @ru_rbc discovered and reported.
This comes literlally on the day Russia's Foreign Ministry said "the drug operation did not use diplomatic post channels".
Breaking: President Putin's office denies that RU Airforce One plane was used to transport drugs. Says Argentinian police photo shows "just some luggage loaded into a plane"
This despite fact that Argentinian police point to suitcases being loaded on RU plane IL-86 #96023 as the same cocaine-stuffed suitcases being opened in subsequent photos.
And despite fact RU AirForce One plane #96023 was in Buenos Aires on December 6. The Argentina bust took place in December.
Reminds me of something I investigated a few years ago...
Kremlin spokesperson: "You have made conclusions based on a photo. But photos can be photoshopped easily. Journalists should base their opinions only on information from official institutions"
[Note: that photo was from the official Argentinian police @gendarmeria ]
Kremlin spokesperson: "Our [Airforce One] airplane flies to Italy. And in Italy it snowed today. This does not mean we transported the snow to Italy. You should not take things to the absurd"
And now this:
I wonder if all sites that ever published proud stories of the new AirForce One plane will spontaneously self-destruct ..…
Latest: Kremlin spokesperson says photograph [released by Argentinean police] showing presidential plane ID "may have been photoshopped". Here's another video/still shot from @gendarmeria
My son: "It's like they're trolling us. They know it's bullshit; they know we know it's bullshit; but they are still saying it..."
Here's a good summary of a thoroughly sourced analysis of Russian blogger (professor of finance at IE Business School in Madrid) whose children attend RU Embassy School in Buenos Aires. His conclusion: implausible that cocaine trade NOT an FSB project.…
I know this is just terrible optics and a misfortune coincidence, but same AirForce One Plane flew to Thailand ...where Nastya Rybka & Co were expected to be released on bail yesterday. Remember Nastya - who asked Putin for a 4-eyes meeting to avoid public scandals?
What makes it even worse optics is that Rybka appealed to the US to help her get out of Thai jail, promising to provide "the missing puzzles in the US election meddling"..…
But seriously, why is that plane going to Thailand????
This week has started like a season finale...
Remember that OTHER RU diplomat (in charge of Latin American Department) who accidentally shot himself twice in the head? (I mentioned him in my Erovinkin story). Well, Russian Foreign Ministry JUST denied that his death was linked to the cocaine bust story.
And then deleted it.
Update: RU Airforce One carried FSB chief and National Security Counsel Chief Nikolai Patrushev to Thailand this morning. He arrived to discuss "safety of Russian tourists in Thailand".
Patrushev claims his trip is "planned" and has nothing to do with the coincidental arrest of [out-spoken] Russian tourists the day before he arrived.
Reminds me of how he arrived in Belgrade on a "scheduled visit" in 2016, and 2 arrested Russian spies "vanished" from Serbia.
I mean...if THIS was in an episode of #TheAmericans or #McMafia, I would literally switch it off and claim they've jumped the shark. But then, fiction must make sense...
Update: Argentinean police confirmed to me that the photo of the Russian plane (a) has not been doctored and (b) indeed is of the plane that carried the flour that police placed in 12 suitcases in lieu of the cocaine originally stored in them.
I feel this tweet somehow belongs in this thread
For the more sophisticated Kremlin-watchers among you: remember, there's also another plot line: the ongoing turf-war between GRU and FSB. This might explain why certain things are visible that otherwise wouldn't be.
And for those puzzling how Nastya Rybka was able to instagram from her detention cell: see my tweet from 2 weeks ago . It's possible from detention cell; NOT possible from jail where she would go tomorrow (if not deported)
UPDATE: After denying that "cocaine plane" on @gendarmeria photo was from Kremlin fleet, now Foreign Ministry says "Not true that Patrushev was in Buenos Aires to solve cocaine crisis; it was a scheduled visit", indirectly confirming RU Airforce One plane was there on that date.
In new denial posted after deleting initial denial, @mfa_russia says "Fake news that Argentina started cocaine bust and Russia joined later: we found cocaine and informed @gendarmeria"
This seems untrue, given Argentina leaked intercepted RU calls from long before bust.
Wow. Remember the analysis from the RU finance professor whose kids study at the Embassy school?
Now @mfa_russia had published an ugly ad hominem against him and his wife ("we know this family..of certain political convictions...scandalous wife..")…
So Rybka and "Alex Lesley" filed a formal request for political asylum in the US, promising in turn "audio and video proof of the crimes of the Russian government", alluding obviously to election meddling.
Question is, who in the USG will dare grant them one?

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More from @christogrozev

Oct 4, 2018
Breaking! Important press conference of the Dutch Defense ministry relating to "Russian Espionage Activities" half hour..
Understood to disclose new info on GRU espionage related to both Spietz lab and ...maybe...MH17
Here's a place you can watch it:…
Read 31 tweets
Jul 11, 2018
Now this is unexpected. Greek media report 4 Russian diplomats are being expelled over "meddling in domestic affairs" and bribing politicians and Orthodox church officials.
"The Russian diplomats ate accused of efforts to extract and circulate information"...noooo. particular Athens names unacceptable activities by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. As I wrote back in 2014, this SVR front is headed by former FSB chief Stepashin, and Malofeev is on its board of trustees.
Read 11 tweets
May 30, 2018
Arkadiy Babchenko is alive. This is mind-boggling
Even within the SBU this was a highly compartmentalized operation, a couple of people only knew details .
Splainer: SBU/ Babchenko say RU services recruited a Ukrainian citizen to hire a contract killer. He hired a military veteran for 30k. The vet informed Ukraine's secret service & collaborated to fool "broker" that murder went thru. This permitted SIGNIT to track source of order.
Read 12 tweets

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