Son of Putin Aide Racked up Parking Fines While Supposedly Fighting in Ukraine

  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says his son fought in Ukraine. 
  • Peskov’s son, Nikolai Choles, said he joined the Wagner mercenary group. 
  • But reports say at the same time his luxury car was racking up parking fines in Moscow. 

The son of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has been accused of falsely claiming to have been fighting in Ukraine, when he was actually driving his luxury Tesla around Moscow, reports say. 

Peskov’s son, Nikolai Choles, told Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in an interview published on Saturday that he had fought in the Wagner Group.

The Russian mercenary outfit has played a key role in some of the most ferocious fighting in Ukraine, and the newspaper claims Choles was decorated while serving as an artilleryman for six months under an assumed name. 

“It was on my initiative,” Nikolai said in an interview. “I considered it my duty,” claiming that his father was proud of him for having served. 

Peskov backed his son’s claim in remarks Monday to Russian state media agency TASS, saying his son had “reached that decision, he’s an adult.”

But an influential military blogger on Telegram blew holes in that claim, publishing pictures and information apparently showing that Choles’ luxury Tesla X was fined for traffic violations in Moscow between July and November 2022, the time he claimed to have been on the front line, independent Russian news outlet Meduza reported. 

According to the report, former Wagner members and acquaintances of Choles expressed doubt that he’d fought in Ukraine in the period that it had been claimed. 

Insider was unable to verify the claim that Choles served with Wagner or was driving his Tesla in Moscow.

The Russian embassy in the UK did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Insider attempted to reach Choles via a Facebook account. 

Top Kremlin officials such as Peskov have aggressively promoted Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. 

However, critics say their wealth and connections have enabled them to shield their families from the impact the war has had on ordinary Russians, such as the mass conscriptions that have seen thousands of civilians sent to the front line. 

Last year pranksters called Choles claiming to be Russian military officials inquiring why he hadn’t answered a conscription notice. Choles replied that it’d be “not right for me to be there” given his family connections and he’d “resolve this on a different level.”

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader if the Wagner Group, in a Telegram post said that Peskov had approached him about his son serving. 

“Of all my acquaintances, just one person, Dmitry Sergeyvich Peskov, who at one time was reputed to be an absolute liberal, sent his son. He came to me and said: ‘Take him on as a simple artilleryman’,” Prigozhin said.

Choles reportedly grew up in the UK and, and took his stepfather’s surname.  He worked briefly for Russian state media organisation RT, reports say. 

According to a report by jailed Russian dissident Alexander Navalny in 2017, Choles ran into trouble when he was young, serving time at a young offender’s institution over a violent mobile phone theft. On moving to Moscow he enjoyed a luxury lifestyle, despite only holding temporary jobs, and racked up hundreds of parking fines, the report claimed. 

Both Choles and his father have been sanctioned by the US.

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