The honored national artist Chulpan Khamatova who has become, to everybody’s disappointment, an active critic of Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine, has founded a commercial firm in Latvia. The firm is called “Chulpan”, business activities are not disclosed, but, according to indirect signs, the direction of the work includes education, consulting and couching. A legal person may be helpful for receiving advertising revenues, as well as for pumping up Western grants through it – Russian liberal ex-pats often do the same. The company in registered in an hour drive from the Latvian capital, in the picturesque villa community Amatciems. Incidentally, the website Prigovor.ru found a house in a pinewood belonging to Khamatova worth of at least 300 thousand euros. Yet, addressing Riga media outlets, Khamatova was complaining that her material situation had worsened after leaving Russia.
On January 26, 2023, the registry of legal persons in Latvia registered the Limited liability company “Chulpan”. The sole founder of the company became the Russian citizen Chulpan Khamatova. The nominal capital of the company is 2 800 euros, the duty for the opening – additional 250 euros.
In the charter documents a personal code of Khamatova is itemized – personas kods 011075-18XXX. The citizenship of the founder of “Chulpan”, according to the extract from the registry, continues to be Russian. In such a case, the Latvian “personas kods” says that Khamatova has a resident card in Latvia. In various news outlets, this information was mention in passing, but it was presented without any proving.
WHAT WILL THE FIRM DEAL WITH, AND WHY AMERICAN GRANTS ARE MENTIONED HERE
The date of company’s opening coincided with the declaration of the actress about her intention to end her artistic career. The phrases that she dropped during the interview with the YouTube channel “Techies of the Silicone Walley” (TEKIZ) give a clues as to what Chulpan Khamatova plans to do after ending her artistic career.
“I very much want to give up acting as soon as possible. I want to keep for the sole some radio programs, I want to recite pieces of poetry which I like myself”, said Khamatova in the interview with “The Techies”.
The 47-years old star of the Russian cinema already doesn’t feel herself capable to play in a theater, and even less so in movies.
“In general, to be an actor means that you are a great genius or you have to be young” declares Khamatova, “Acting, particularly acting in movies, is a privilege of the young”.
Instead, according to her words, she plans to teach acting or to promote, oversee and launch from scratch charitable projects.
“Apart from that, in a country where charity just started to develop itself, one can share experience that I have”, she says. “In order to get it started, to get it moved without wheels creaking”.
As a variant, through this firm money can be channeled for advertising contracts of the star.
Another potential scenario of using the new company could be transmitting currency grants through it, says one of Russian professional investigative journalists specializing in exposing facts of foreign interference. He preferred not to disclose his name.
“During the last decade, Western providers of grants have actively been keeping secret names of those whom they give grants. Have a look, until 2011, on the website of the NED**, a list of all receivers of grants was published”, says our interlocutor. “And after Navalny’s return from Yale, such a practice was abandoned almost all over, in order not to “blow the intelligence station”.
For the purpose of clandestine security, members of the opposition and liberal activists who fled Russia, now have taken a liking to open up their firms in Georgia, the Baltics, and, if possible, in the United States. It’s on accounts of these firms that they receive monetary means, continues this investigative journalist. This is really so – for instance, the TV Channel RT reported on its website about the opening a backup of the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” in the United States, as well as about numerous firms opened by Navalny’s associates in Latvia, Lithuania, and in other post-Soviet states. And the project “Progovor” already reported about this oppositional conglomerate that hates Russia for Western money. (See also the article Fifth column starts its last Drang nach Osten. Part II)
“Firms are opened not only for the sake of secrecy, but also for convenient receiving of grants, for formalizing the process”, explains the journalist. “For each grant, a report is needed of its use. And channeling it through a firm allows to create such reports making use of bookkeeping instruments”.
For a legal person it’s easier to cope with grants than for a physical person. It’s more difficult for a usual citizen to explain his expenses to a grant provider. The journalist we talked to was sure of that.
A PLACE UNDER PINES
As a legal address of the firm Chulpan Khamatova mentioned her own house. This is a mansion in an exclusive villa community Amatciems near Riga where the former Latvian president Raimonds Vejonis had tried to find a land parcel for himself (at that time he was an active president).
Russian news outlets time and again wrote about Khamatova’s real estate in Latvia, but they didn’t know about the house on this plot. We have found several references to this house in Latvian and Russia mass media, but without specifics and price. The website Prigovor.ru tells about the how many square meters are there in Khamatova’s house, where it stands, and where specifically is located the Baltic residence of the actress.
The house is on the shores of a natural lake and surrounded by a pine forest. It’s a solid two stories house (perhaps, it has three stories with an attic), a house with colorful insets in the façade. There is an approach road leading from the adjacent highway to the house. The landscape resembles the Tver Region – a calm forested area, with meadows, ponds, and lakes. Russian intelligentsia historically liked to pass the time in such surroundings – writers, poets, scientists.
Khamatova’s mansion is located in an premium eco-community Amatciems. It is situated at a distance of 80 kilometers from Riga and of 12 kilometers from the medieval little town Cesis. There are no house numbers there, only proper names, given by developers. The community was founded by the local topographer Aivars Zvirbulis, who was born there, and all local inhabitants call him Ciris. He was so excited by the nature of his home ground that he sold his typography and for the gained money bought, in 2000s, this plot of land. At first, there were only 3 hectares, then, thanks to his own incomes and credits he widened his land parcel. As of today, the whole space of the project comprises 271 hectares or 2.7 square kilometers. For understanding the scope – this is half of the space of Krasnoznamensk, a Moscow’s satellite town.
By 2013, the founder had invested in the development of the territory 20 million euros, and, in addition, part of the means had been provided by sponsors of the project.
Now, Amatciems has three main clusters: hotels with a SPA zone, villas on lease, and houses for sale. Today, there are more than 300 parcels of land.
The conception of the territory is to be close to nature. The natural topography of the place has been upgraded by Ciris architects, landscape designers did their job too, and now soft lines of the houses are naturally fitted into all bottom lands, ravines and hills. Curves and rounded edges of the architecture remind us of the Shire, the invented land of hobbits, described by J.R.R. Tolkien in this novel “The Lord of the Rings”. The inhabitants who have bought a land parcel there, are allowed to build houses only of wood, glass and stones, and paint them in neutral colors, close to natural ones.
During peak seasons, the shores are spangled with vacationers exposing their backs to the light Baltic sun. In autumn, quiet lakes are cut by yacht-cutters of local fishers. Still in autumn season, mushroom pickers start their hunt. If you see from the ground, it may seem, at first sight, that the territory is not well groomed: high wild grasses, barely visible footpaths between land parcels, no fences between them, habitual for a Russian eye. But if you look at it from a birds eye view, it becomes clear that it has been specially made so, and the whole territory is well zoned up.
A LITTLE HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY
The invested means and the designers’ work must be earned back, that is why prices here are only for affluent people, wrote our compatriots in a tourist review. To lease a villa in this community costs from 15 to 25 thousand rubles a day, staying in a hotel will cost you from 8 to 15 thousand rubles.
As to Chulpan Khamatova, she decided to acquire a house there. First, she bought an empty land parcel. The whole land area amounts to 0.74 hectares, or 74 “are”. According to the extract from the real estate registry, she bought the land there in June 2013 for 104 lats (euro substituted the Latvian national currency in 2014). It was about 11 million rubles.
The cadastral excerpt, which we had a chance to get acquainted with, confirmed the information that had been earlier published by Russian news media without any confirmation – Khamatova had bought the land parcel in fraction with her old friend and journalist Katerina Gordeyeva*. Each of them own a half of asset. It’s the buying of this land that allowed them both to get a residence permit in this Baltic country.
The house on the parcel was built only in 2017. Its floor space is not mentioned in the excerpt, that is why the website Prigovor.ru has measured it with the help of the instrument called “Measure distance” of the Google Maps having drawn the outline above the contour of the roof. It turned out that one floor takes about 260 square meters, two floors, correspondingly, 560 square meters.
By the way, the first big interview of Khamatova with her friend in the program “Tell it to Gorgeyeva”, was recorded in March 2022, perhaps, in the interior of the Latvian house – either of Khamatova herself, or of her friend. They are neighbors.
In this interview Khamatova herself, for the first time, tells about her Latvian house. And she is trying to present it as a humble lodging in a common Latvian village.
“As to tangible, material things – I have built a house. I have my own walls. But I don’t know yet how to keep them in order. As of today, I have no work and no perspectives for the future”, tells Chulpan Khamatova with a nervous smile. “This house is not in Jurmala, not in Riga, it stands in a village, and even to get there I need a help from other people. Because I didn’t have money to rent a car, like I had done it earlier. Now I have money – enough for 3-4 months”.
At least 5 years ago, Chulpan Khamatova had enough money for that. On the basis of similar propositions from the same community, we have counted what the price of such a house could be. Despite all efforts of the actress to present her mansion as a humble little house in a village, documents tell us that she could have spent on the building of the house from 50 to 322 (!) million rubles.
Depending on the nearness of water, floor space, houses of similar category are being sold at prices from 375 000 euros to 595 000 euros. Now the price of a land parcel of similar space in this sector of the community begins at 150 000 euros. Thus, the price of Khamatova’s house, taking into account its bigger floor space, could be from 300 000 to 420 000 euros. Not counting expenses on interior works and buying furniture.
An example of a price of a land parcel on the map of the community
Yet, it’s not a big sum of money for Russian stars, including singers, actors and actresses. All the more so as not all words that a person publicly says about himself and his financial standing can be regarded as the ultimate truth. The publicist Mikhail Shakhnazarov has a concept according to which Chulpan Khamatova went abroad with a decent money box – about 1 million dollars.
“According to my information, she managed to leave the country not empty, but with something on her. She managed to take with her one “long” million of dollars. Such amount of money will last rather long”, pointed out Shakhnazarov on the YouTube show “Total Debacle” (Полный абзац).
KHAMATOVA “NO TRAITOR”
After the begin of the military actions by Russia in Ukraine, the people’s artist of Russia Chulpan Khamatova, founder of the charitable foundation “Gift of Life” (Подари жизнь), to the bitter disappointment of her viewers and fans, took a sharp negative position towards her own country. In March 2022, she left Russia and went to Latvia.
“I knew exactly that I am no traitor. I love my motherland… In order to return to Russia, I have two options now – stop talking that this is a war and this is a tragedy”, she tried to rather clumsily and non-convincingly to justify herself in the same interview with Gordeyeva.
There is no hesitation that the military actions in Donbass is a tragedy. Moreover, it’s a tragedy that has been going on since 2014, from the moment when the new Ukrainian authorities didn’t give the freedom of self-determination to the Russian speaking population of Donbass and provoked first a political, and then a military conflict. But, having received information only from one side, one risks to become hostage of unverified facts. Khamatova “no traitor”, as she declares herself, prefers to receive information only from Ukrainian side, which is now an opponent of Russia. It’s obvious that there is no reason in this case to speak about objectivity of perception.
Without trying to belittle the merits of the actress in the field of charity, we would like to note that she has become more harsh in her statements not only about Russian authorities, but also about Russian citizens. After leaving Russia, certain side effects have emerged in the form of generalization and abjection of compatriots who remained in Russia. For instance, she told about impolite Russians in the province as opposed to cultivated Europe.
Recently, in an interview with Mikhail Zygar*, she once more told shat she was a victim of bullying and wished death to those who criticized her.
After moving to Latvia, which seemed more like running away, Khamatova interacts only with Western journalists. Last September, she rudely answered to a Russian woman-journalist who tried to interview her at the exit of a theatre.
Nowadays, Chulpan Khamatova works in the troop of the New Riga Theatre. She was acquainted with the artistic director of this theatre Alvis Hermanis from the time of the play “Gorbachev” which had been presented by this Latvian director in the Theatre of Nations in Moscow.
Simultaneously, Khamatova is acting together with another “no traitor” Artur Smolyaninov who also left Russia, in provocative video-clips deriding the mobilization in Russia and military men taking part in it. According to the screenplay, a husband and a wife are getting ready to celebrate the New Year, they watch patriotic channels and scold the “rotten West”.
For this clip a song was used of another “no traitor” and activist, namely of Maks Pokrovsky, the lead vocalist of the group “The Stiff Leg” (Ногу свело). Pokrovsky, by the way, is yet another opponent of the Special Military Operation who has taken root in the West. He bought a townhouse in New-York, but has not paid off yet a mortgage. Of course, one has to work hard in order to pay down mortgage in time. The portal “Oktagon” wrote about the real economic reasons why Pokrovsky, that has been not heard about in recent couple of years, from 2021, has been strenuously squeezing from himself one clip after another on political themes.
The public replies to Chulpan Khamatova in specie. The People’s Actress who deservedly carries this title, after 24 February 2022, has lost a considerable part of people’s support – it turned out that the majority of Russians support the military operation to defend Donbass. And, correspondingly, do not support the position of Chulpan Nailevna Khamatova. She was already called on financial troubles of her foundation, and they write irate commentaries in social media like “time has put everything in its proper place”.
Author: Alexey Velarov
Russian version at: «Пустила корни. Чулпан Хаматова открыла фирму в Латвии и построила дом»
** The National Endowment for Democracy – organization the activities of which was acknowledged as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation by the decision of the Office of the Prosecutor General from 28.07.2015.
* Ilya Ponomaryov, born 06.08.1975 – 21.10.2022 included by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation into the list of physical persons fulfilling functions of foreign agent with No 363. 25.01.2023 the Russian financial monitoring service Rosfinmonitoring included I.V. Ponomaryov in the list of terrorists and extremists.
* Alexey Navalny – included by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the list of physical persons involved in terrorism and extremist activity.
* Katerina Gordeyeva, born 23.03.1977 – included by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the list of physical persons fulfilling functions of a foreign agent with No 417.
* Mikhail Zygar, born 31.01.1977 – included by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the list of physical persons fulfilling functions of a foreign agent with No 457.