Anna Vasilyevna Chapman (Russian: А́нна Васи́льевна Ча́пман; born Anna Vasilyevna Kushchenko, 23 February 1982) is a Russian intelligence agent, media personality, and model who was arrested in the United States on 27 June 2010 as part of the Illegals Program, a Russian spy ring. At the time of her arrest, she was accused of espionage on behalf of the Russian Federation's external intelligence agency, the Sluzhba vneshney razvedki (SVR).[2][5][6] She had previously gained British citizenship through marriage, which she used to gain residency in the U.S..

Anna Chapman
Анна Чапман
Chapman in 2019
Anna Vasilyevna Kushchenko

(1982-02-23) 23 February 1982 (age 42)
Other namesAnna Kushchenko
Anya Kuschenko
Anya Chapman
British (revoked)[1]
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, television host, and agent of the Russian Federation
Known forInvolvement with Russian Illegals Program
Criminal chargeConspiracy to act as an unlawful agent of a foreign government[2]
Alex Chapman
(m. 2002; div. 2006)
Brooklyn Denaro
(m. 2017, current)
ParentVasily Kushchenko
  • Katya Kushchenko (sister)[4]

Chapman pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. She and the other Russians were deported to Russia on 8 July 2010, as part of the 2010 Russia–U.S. prisoner swap. Learning that Chapman had wanted to return to the United Kingdom, the UK government revoked her British citizenship and excluded her from the country.

Since her return to Russia, Chapman has worked in a variety of fields, including for the government as head of a youth council, a catwalk model in Russian fashion shows, and running a television series.

Early life edit

Chapman was born Anna Vasilyevna Kushchenko (Russian: А́нна Васи́льевна Кущенко) in Kharkiv on 23 February 1982.[7]

Her father, Vasily Kushchenko, was reportedly a senior KGB official who once served as the Russian ambassador to Kenya, and currently occupies a senior position at the ministry known by its Russian initials MID (foreign affairs).[8][9][10][11]

According to her ex-husband, Anna earned a master's degree in economics with first class honours from Moscow State University.[12] According to other sources, she got her degree from Peoples' Friendship University of Russia.[13][14]

London: 2001–2006 edit

Anna Kushchenko met Alex Chapman at a London Docklands rave party in 2001. They married shortly thereafter in Moscow,[15] and she gained British citizenship, in addition to her native Russian one, and a British passport.[16]

In 2003, or 2004, Anna Chapman moved to London where she worked at NetJets and Barclays.[17]

Anna and Alex Chapman divorced in 2006.[15] In March 2018, it was reported that Alex Chapman had died in May 2015, aged 36, from a drug overdose.[18][19]

New York: 2009–2010 edit

Chapman's 2010 mugshot

In 2009, Chapman moved to New York, taking up residence at 20 Exchange Place, one block from Wall Street in Manhattan.[20][21][22] Her LinkedIn social networking site profile identified her as CEO of PropertyFinder LLC, a website selling real estate internationally.[23][22][24] Her husband Alex stated that Anna told him the enterprise was continually in debt for the first couple of years. But suddenly in 2009, she had as many as 50 employees and a successful business.[15]

Chapman was reportedly in a relationship with Michel Bittan, a divorced Israeli-Moroccan restaurant owner, while she was living in New York.[25][26] Around this time, she had allegedly attempted to purchase ecstasy tablets.[27] She later described her time in the United States with the Charles Dickens quote, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times".[28]

After Anna was arrested in New York on charges of spying, Alex hired media publicist Max Clifford, and sold her story to The Daily Telegraph.[15][29][30] She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General. In 2010 she was deported to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia.[31]

Russia: 2010–present edit

In late December 2010, Chapman was appointed to the public council of Young Guard of United Russia.[32][33] According to the organization, she would "be engaged in educating young people".[34][35]

On 21 January 2011, Chapman began hosting a weekly TV show in Russia called Secrets of the World for REN TV.[5][36] In June 2011, Chapman was appointed as editor of Venture Business News magazine, according to Bloomberg News.[37][38]

Chapman testified to the closed trial in absentia of Col. Alexander Poteyev, an ex-KGB soldier, which took place in Moscow in May and June 2011.[39] Chapman testified that only Poteyev could have provided the U.S. authorities with the information that led to her arrest in 2010;[40] 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 would have known.[40]

Chapman wrote a column for Komsomolskaya Pravda. In October 2011, she was accused of plagiarizing material on Alexander Pushkin from a book by Kremlin spin doctor Oleg Matveychev.[41] The Guardian reported that this incident added to general negative opinions of her in certain sections of Russian society; it said that in September 2011, she had been "heckled during a speech on leadership at 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!"[41]

In 2012, FBI counter-intelligence chief Frank Figliuzzi said that Chapman almost caught a senior member of President Barack Obama's cabinet in a honey trap operation.[42] Subsequent reporting suggested that these initial reports were inaccurate; officials from the US Department of Justice claimed that the FBI's concern was that another of the alleged spies, Cynthia Murphy, "had been in contact with a fundraiser and 'personal friend' of Hillary Clinton".[43]

Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh: 2013–present edit

Tsitsernakaberd memorial and the museum

Chapman had been sighted in the Armenian breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh in August 2013. She arrived with a group of Russian officials to discuss issues with the Republic of Artsakh to resolve their conflict with Azerbaijan over the territory. She reportedly was also working on her television show, Mysteries of the World. Her visit caused an outcry in Azerbaijan; its foreign ministry declared that Chapman and the other Russian visitors would be classified as personae-non-gratae in Azerbaijan.[44]

Chapman later visited Tsitsernakaberd, a memorial in Armenia dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide. She said in an interview that her visit to Armenia taught her the importance of family relationships, and that her best friends were Armenians. She said that she was impressed by the family values expressed in Armenian society, saying that Russian society lacked that, and she was learning a lot from Armenia.[45]

Illegals Program and arrest edit

Chapman is one of only two of the Illegals Program Russians arrested in June 2010 who did not use an assumed name.[5]

Recruitment edit

Chapman is believed to have been recruited by the SVR in or around 2000.[46]

Communications issues edit

In April 2010, Chapman reportedly began to experience communication failures that were later attributed to U.S. interference.[47]

Arrest edit

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.[5][48] The FBI agent offered Chapman a fake passport, with instructions to forward it to another spy. He asked, "Are you ready for this step?" to which Chapman replied, "Of course." She accepted the passport.[49][50] But, after making a series of phone calls to her father Vasily Kushchenko in Moscow, Chapman took his advice and handed the passport in at a local police station. She was arrested shortly after.[5][50][51]

International exchange edit

After being formally charged, Chapman and nine other detainees became part of a spy swap deal between the United States and Russia, the biggest of its kind since 1986.[52] The ten Russian agents returned to Russia via a chartered jet that landed at Vienna International Airport in Austria, where the swap occurred on the morning of 8 July 2010.[53] The Russian jet returned to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport where, after landing, the ten spies were kept away from local and international press.

Revocation of UK citizenship edit

According to a statement from her US lawyer Robert Baum and media reports, Chapman had wanted to move to the UK.[54] The Home Office exercised special powers via the British Home Secretary to revoke Chapman's British citizenship to prevent her return to the UK. This was done under section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981,[55] introduced as part of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 and Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. This power had at that point only been used against a dozen people since its introduction.[16][56] The Home Office issued legal papers revoking her citizenship on 13 July 2010.[1] Steps were taken to exclude Chapman, meaning she could not travel to the UK.[16] After Chapman's departure 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.[57][58]

Media coverage and popular reaction edit

After her arrest by the FBI for her part in 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.[59] Her affiliation with the Russian Federation led at least one media outlet to refer to her as "the Red under the bed."[60]

FundserviceBank, a Moscow bank that handles payments on behalf of state- and private-sector enterprises in the Russian aerospace industry has employed Chapman as an adviser on investment and innovation issues to the President.[61]

Magazines and blogs detailed Chapman's fashion style and dress sense, while tabloids displayed her action figure dolls.[29][62][63][64] Chapman was described by local media in New York as "stunning" and a regular of exclusive bars and restaurants.[62][63][65] 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 jokingly, "Let me be clear. It was not my idea to send her back."[66]

As a model, Chapman posed on the cover of Russian version of Maxim magazine in Agent Provocateur lingerie. The magazine included Chapman in its list of "Russia's 100 sexiest women."[67][68] Chapman has also made an appearance as a runway model for Moscow Fashion Week at the Shiyan & Rudkovskaya show in 2011,[citation needed] and for Antalya at the Dosso Dossi in 2012.[69]

Chapman has parlayed her media capital through Twitter, where she asked Edward Snowden to marry her,[70][71] and on Instagram, which she has used to voice her political opinions.[72]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Russian spy UK citizenship revoked". Press Association. 13 July 2010. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Suspected Russian spies charged in US". BBC News. 29 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  3. ^ Kuznetsova, Ksenia (4 May 2021). "Where did Russian spy Anna Chapman go?". They also say that about six years ago, Anna Chapman became the mother of a boy. True, this information is completely unconfirmed and nothing is known about the father of the child.
  4. ^ Rayner, Gordon (2 July 2010). "FBI investigated family of Anna Chapman ten years ago". The Daily Telegraph.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The Russian Spy Ring of 2010, The Use of Ciphers and Radio Messages". The NSRIC. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  6. ^ "10 alleged Russian secret agents arrested in US". Associated Press. 28 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  7. ^ Abcarian, Robin; Baum, Geraldine (30 June 2010). "Sultry red-head sensationalizes spy story". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Tom Parfitt (1 July 2010). "Russian spy ring: Anna Chapman's father still works at foreign ministry". The Guardian. I can't believe [Anna Chapman is] a spy. It must be some kind of political intrigue, maybe because her father was a senior diplomat. He worked as ambassador to Kenya.
  9. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard; Syal, Rajeev; Hill, Amelia (2 July 2010). "Anna Chapman: spotlight on London years of Russian spy accused". The Guardian. Born in 1982 to Irina and Vasily Kushchenko, a diplomat who served as Russian ambassador in Kenya, Chapman seemed to have learned none of her father's urbanity by the time she first came to London.
  10. ^ Osborn, Andrew (10 July 2010). "Anna Chapman's father may have had 'serious Kremlin connections". Anna Chapman's father worked as a diplomat in Kenya alongside Mr Ivanov, Russia's first deputy prime minister, a career spy and a friend of Vladimir Putin's, it was claimed on Saturday. [...] In an article citing Russian intelligence sources, Russian daily newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on Saturday that Mr Kushchenko worked in Nairobi as a Russian diplomat at the same time as Sergei Ivanov, Russia's first deputy prime minister. It did not give dates.
  11. ^ Lukas I. Alpert (5 July 2010). "Russian spy babe's hot affair: Anna Chapman was kinky and 'great in bed,' says ex husband Alex". New York Daily News. New York City. Archived from the original on 8 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010. Chapman says his bride told him that her father, Vasily Kushchenko, 53, was a senior KGB agent.
  12. ^ Rayner, Gordon; Bloxham, Andy (2 July 2010). "'Russia spy' Anna Chapman's husband: I thought I knew her". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  13. ^ Naumchik Alyona. "Анна Чапман – дочь экс-посла в Кении". LifeNews. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Anna Chapman". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  15. ^ a b c d Gordon Rayner and Andy Bloxham (2 July 2010). "'Russia spy' Anna Chapman's husband: I thought I knew her". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  16. ^ a b c "Russian spy Anna Chapman is stripped of UK citizenship". BBC News. 13 July 2010. Archived from the original on 13 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  17. ^ Weaver, Matthew; Ward, Luke (30 June 2010). "Anna Chapman: Barclays reveals alleged spy was London employee". The Guardian.
  18. ^ Davidson, Tom (14 March 2018). "British ex-husband of Russian secret agent Anna Chapman died aged just 36". Mirror. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  19. ^ Tamplin, Harley (14 March 2018). "Family insist death of Russian spy Anna Chapman's husband, 36, was not suspicious". Metro. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  20. ^ "FBI Multimedia". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 30 March 2023. When Anna Chapman moved to Manhattan in 2009, she told her new friends she worked as a realtor. A few months later, an FBI investigation revealed Chapman's secret—she was a Russian spy.
  21. ^ Olivier O'Mahony (9 July 2010). "Anna: le visage d'ange du nouveau KGB" [Anna: the angel face of the new KGB]. Paris Match (in French). Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010. Elle avait jeté son dévolu sur la tour résidentielle la plus haute de Manhattan. Le 20 Exchange Place. Cinquante-neuf étages sur 226 mètres de haut, construits en 1931 pour abriter le siège de la City Bank-Farmers Trust Company, ancêtre de Citigroup. Récemment reconverti en appartements, ce bijou d'Art déco a servi de décor à une scène de « Wall Street », le film d'Oliver Stone. Son hall d'entrée, aux plafonds voûtés recouverts de fresques, ressemble à la nef vertigineuse d'une cathédrale façon Gotham City. Situé en plein quartier financier de New York, l'endroit est idéal pour qui veut conquérir l'Amérique.
  22. ^ a b Cristian Salazar and Tom Hays (30 June 2010). "Anna Chapman dubbed femme fatale of Russian spy case". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  23. ^ "Anna Chapman's father worked for the KGB, claims her ex-husband". 2 July 2010. After the divorce, Anna returned to Russia, from where she moved to the United States in 2007, where she founded the online property search agency PropertyFinder.
  24. ^ "Retrieved 16 July 2010". 18 January 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2011.[unreliable source?]
  25. ^ Russian Spy Ring's Jewish Connection 2 July 2010, Foreword by Michael Kaminer
  26. ^ Veronika Belenkaya, Sandra Ifraimova and Alison Gendar (1 July 2010). "Accused Russian spy Anna Chapman was dating 60-year-old divorced dad Michel Bittan, friends say". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  27. ^ "Retrieved 4 June 2019" (PDF). Judicial Watch. Retrieved 4 June 2019.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "Retrieved 20 July 2010". CBS News. Archived from the original on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  29. ^ a b "Anna Chapman's Ex-Husband Speaks About Her Past". HuffPost. 3 July 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010. Chapman, who is English and was married to Anna for four years, from 2002 to 2006, told the Telegraph: 'Whether or not she's a spy, who can say, but when I read about her being arrested it wasn't that much of a surprise to be honest.'
  30. ^ "Briton speaks about Russian spy suspect wife". BBC News. 2 July 2010. Archived from the original on 17 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  31. ^ "Spies swapped by US and Russia at Vienna airport". BBC News. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  32. ^ [1] Archived 24 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "Russia spy Anna Chapman given pro-Kremlin youth role", BBC News (22 December 2010)
  34. ^ (in Ukrainian) Шпигунка-невдаха Анна Чапман займеться політикою Archived 25 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Ukrinform (22 December 2010)
  35. ^ "Russian spy Anna Chapman gets TV hosting gig – CTV News". 12 January 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  36. ^ Walker, Shaun (23 January 2011). "And now, viewers, it's the Anna Chapman Show". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022.
  37. ^ Jim Kavanagh, 10 June 2011, "Beauty and the geek: Russian femme fatale pushing investment in tech" Archived 17 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine, CNN News blog
  38. ^ Henry Meyer, Ilya Arkhipov and Lyubov Pronina, 7 June 2011, "Russian Spy Chapman Lures Investment Into Venture Capital", Bloomberg
  39. ^ Osborn, Andrew (18 November 2010). "Ex-KGB soldier named as double agent who exposed Anna Chapman spy ring". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  40. ^ a b "Alexander Poteyev, Russian Intelligence Officer, Convicted of Betraying U.S. Spy Ring Including Anna Chapman". HuffPost. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
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  42. ^ Owen, Jonathan (31 March 2012). "Man whose WMD lies led to 100,000 deaths confesses all". The Independent. Another revelation in the series is the real reason why the FBI swooped on Russian spy Anna Chapman in 2010. Top officials feared the glamorous Russian agent wanted to seduce one of US President Barack Obama's inner circle. Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI's head of counterintelligence, reveals how she got "closer and closer to higher and higher ranking leadership... she got close enough to disturb us". The fear that Chapman would compromise a senior US official in a "honey trap" was a key reason for the arrest and deportation of the Russian spy ring of 10 people, of which she was a part, in 2010. "We were becoming very concerned," he says. "They were getting close enough to a sitting US cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue." Mr Figliuzzi refuses to name the individual who was being targeted.
  43. ^ Ryan, Jason; Thomas, Pierre; Ross, Brian (3 April 2012). "Russian Fem Spy Spooked US, But It Wasn't Anna Chapman". ABC News. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  44. ^ "Anna Chapman's New Mission: Karabakh". EurasiaNet. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  45. ^ "Anna Chapman: Armenians taught me to appreciate importance of family relationship". 29 August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  46. ^ Sheridan, Peter (3 July 2010). "Inside Russia's spy schools". Daily Express. Prof Haynes, author of Spies: The Rise And Fall of The KGB In America, says: "The SVR recruits people with characteristics they want, particularly college students with talent in foreign languages – personable and gregarious. They have far more intensive language training, aiming for the minimal amount of Russian accent. Their studies emphasise American culture and habits so they don't walk or act like a Russian but learn the habits of an American. For Chapman, a Soviet ambassador's daughter believed to have been recruited at 18, that meant learning to be a social butterfly.
  47. ^ "Anna Chapman said that Poteyev handed her over to the Americans". Vesti (VGTRK). 27 June 2011. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Speaking in court, Anna Chapman noted that she carried out intelligence activities in favor of Russia in the United States. The first months of her stay in the United States were very calm for her. However, since April 2010, communication failures began. At that time, according to her statement, she did not yet know that they were the result of the activities of American agents.
  48. ^ Edecio Martinez (30 June 2010). "Who is the Russian 'Femme Fatale'?". CBS News. Archived from the original on 3 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  49. ^ Amit Kachhia-Patel (27 June 2010). "Sealed complaint: Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371" (PDF). BBC News. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
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  52. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (12 November 2010). "New York Times, 9 July 2010, "Russian Spy Ring 2010"". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
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  55. ^ Spilius, Alex; Gammell, Caroline; Gardham, Duncan (9 July 2010). "Home Office to stop Russian spy Anna Chapman from returning to UK". The Telegraph. London.
  56. ^ Cobain, Ian (15 August 2011). "Home Office stripping more dual-nationality Britons of citizenship". The Guardian. London.
  57. ^ "Lawyer: Russian Spy Unhappy England Rejected Her". Associated Press. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.[dead link]
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  59. ^ Stein, Jeff (29 June 2010). "Retrieved 18 July 2010". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  60. ^ "Spy swap Russian: I'll go home but only if it's safe". Evening Standard. London. 18 August 2010.
  61. ^ "Фондсервисбанк" подтвердил, что устроил Анну Чапман "советником президента по инвестициям и инновациям" dateline 11 October 2010 12:42.
  62. ^ a b "Anna Chapman is a sexy Russian spy". FHM. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  63. ^ a b "Inspired by Anna Chapman: What to Wear if You're a Sexy Russian Spy". Retrieved 9 July 2013.
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  66. ^ "Biden jokes about 'hot' Russian spy with Jay Leno". BBC. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  67. ^ "Russia's "sexy spy" in provocative photoshoot". Reuters. 19 October 2010. Archived from the original on 22 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  68. ^ "Russian spy Anna Chapman blows her cover for men's magazine". 19 October 2010. Archived from the original on 20 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  69. ^ "Antalya'da Kızıl Ajan Rüzgarı". 9 June 2012. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  70. ^ Kolyandr, Alexander (4 July 2013). "Edward Snowden's Secret (Agent) Admirer: Spy Anna Chapman". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
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External links edit