Compromising material appears frequently in Russian politics
MOSCOW — Blurry video of highly placed men engaging in sexual acts, audio recordings of influential figures profanely insulting their nominal allies — in Russia these appear enough that a special word has evolved: “kompromat,” or “compromising material.”
In the wake of unsubstantiated allegations that Russia has gathered kompromat against President-elect Donald Trump, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov brushed them off as an attempt to undermine potentially improved U.S.-Russia ties once Trump takes office.
“The Kremlin does not engage in collecting compromising information,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
But such material has shown up in Russia for decades. Recent examples of kompromat often support Kremlin interests or appear via media believed to have close ties to President Vladimir Putin’s administration.
Some notable examples:
As demonstrations against Ukraine’s Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych spiraled in February 2014, an audio recording emerged apparently of Nuland, an assistant U.S. secretary of state, and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing which opposition leaders Washington would like to see as prime minister.
The recording’s initial release was presented as evidence of open American instigation in the turmoil. But what attracted much of the attention was Nuland’s obscene dismissal of the European Union, whose envoys the U.S. regarded as indecisive and slowmoving in the crisis.
The recording was widely believed to have been made by Russia. Nuland herself called it “impressive tradecraft.”
Kasyanov was Putin’s first prime minister before becoming one of the more prominent figures in Russia’s beleaguered and fragmented opposition. His party was running in last year’s parliamentary election and he also has been seen as a possible dark horse challenger to Putin in the 2018 presidential election.
In March 2016, grainy video was broadcast that appeared to show Kasyanov and a woman identified as an opposition activist having sex and speaking dismissively of other opposition figures.