Last Friday, the offices of Robert Mueller’s special counsel filed new indictments against Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his contact inside Russian intelligence, Konstantin Kilimnik, for the mafia-style charge of witness tampering. If you haven’t seen the details of those indictments, we covered them extensively here.
Today, thanks to the significant sleuthing of Radio Free Europe’s Ukraine correspondent Christopher Miller, we are seeing the first images of Mr. Kilimnik that have surfaced online since the charges against him were announced.
Kilimnik is, of course, intensely private — the agency that he works for in Russia, the GRU, is Vladimir Putin’s equivalent of the CIA.
Miller has actually interviewed Kilimnik in person, although he has never personally snapped a picture of him, and to the best of his knowledge, no pictures of Kilimnik have ever been made public online, until now. Miller found the two photos that he published exclusively for Vice after finding them on an old social media account belonging to Kilimnik’s wife, and they depict the two vacationing in Turkey eleven years ago this month.
Miller’s meetings with “Kostya,” the nickname for Konstantin, are the basis for his confirmation of Kilimnik’s identity in the photos. During one of the meetings with the Russian spy last year in Ukraine’s capital, an acquaintance of Kilimnik’s “casually snapped a photo” of him, and he responded by “joking” that the friend should keep it a secret:
“Don’t show that picture. If you show that picture, I will kill you, the KGB will kill you…the GRU will kill you as well.”
Although Konstantin Kilimnik has denied any supposed connections to Russian intelligence, he did serve as Manafort’s translator during the long period in which Manafort was a lobbyist for the strenuously pro-Russian former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. After Yanukovych’s control of Ukraine disintegrated, the disgraced leader fled to Moscow into the arms of a waiting Putin.
Here are the photos of Kilimnik, courtesy of Christopher Miller and Vice News:
The secret lives of even spies are, it seems, impossible to maintain forever in the age of the internet — although it would have been impossible for Kilimnik (or anyone) to predict 11 years ago that these pictures would someday surface.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery