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Scandal Rocks Kremlin Adviser's Family

Nationalist Russian politician and top Kremlin adviser Sergei Glazyev.

It has all the ingredients of a soap opera: an immigrant maid finds herself at the heart of jealousy, anger, and death threats when she falls in love with the son of her wealthy and Kremlin-connected employer.

This is the scandalous and unlikely love story of 31-year-old Firuza Savushkina and her 23-year-old fiance, Yury Glazyev, the son of top Kremlin adviser and well-known nationalist Sergei Glazyev.

Savushkina, a single mother from Tajikistan, was hired to clean the elder Glazyev's Moscow apartment. But a resulting love affair has made a mess of the Glazyev household.

Yury Glazyev was smitten upon meeting Savushkina, and eventually the two were engaged to marry despite the differences in their age and social status.

"Finding Firuza was the biggest achievement of my life," Yury Glazyev says in a homemade video that shows him dancing in the company of Savushkina, her daughter, and several women with Central Asian features.

Yury Glazyev describes Savushkina as his "happiness" and sunshine, and vows to spend the rest of his life with her and her daughter, Polina.

Photos published on Russian media show the pair strolling on the beach, lying in the park, and dining around a table laden with Central Asian food.

It remains unclear when the love affair began, but Yury Glazyev says Savushkina is expecting his child.

The pair's happiness, however, came to an abrupt end on September 24, when Savushkina was placed behind bars and accused of making death threats to fellow Tajik migrant Dilafruz Mirzoeva.

Mirzoeva, who also works for the Glazyev household, claims Savushkina attacked her with a knife, scratched her face, and threatened to kill her because she was seen as a potential rival.

Firuza Savushkina (right), 31, and her 23-year-old fiance, Yury Glazyev, the son of top Kremlin adviser and well-known nationalist Sergei Glazyev.
Firuza Savushkina (right), 31, and her 23-year-old fiance, Yury Glazyev, the son of top Kremlin adviser and well-known nationalist Sergei Glazyev.

Yury Glazyev, however, has a different version of events. He believes the court case is part of a plot by his influential parents to keep the vulnerable foreign maid away from him.

Yury Glazyev acknowledges that his parents -- especially his mother, whom he refers to as "Olga" -- were less than impressed by their love-struck son's choice of a bride.

Sergei Glazyev, after all, is a former cabinet minister and lawmaker, who for the past two years has served as an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Savushkina, on the other hand, belongs to the 1.2 million-strong contingent of Tajik labor migrants, many of whom eke out a living and often face racially motivated insults in Russia.

Yury Glazyev claims his mother strongly disapproves of Savushkina, dubbing her a gold-digger who intends to destroy son and obtain his fortune.

"From the very first day, my mother [exhibited] totally unfounded and baseless hatred toward her," Yury Glazyev told the Russian television channel RenTV.

"Firuza has always tried to help my mother and build a good relationship with her, but the relationship is getting worse and worse."

Yury Glazyev says his mother's feelings toward Savushkina "border on paranoia."

Pulling Strings?

According to Yury Glazyev, his parents first used their influence to get a court ruling that would deport Savushkina to Tajikistan for 10 years for failing to extend her Russian residence permit.

Savushkina, however, managed to overturn the ruling and secure a valid permit.

The parents have not publicly commented on their son's accusations, nor have they spoken about his love affair.

However, an apparent phone conversation between the father and son has been posted on YouTube that shows the pair discussing ways to secure Savushkina's release.

The voice -- purported to be Sergei Glazyev's -- advises his son to talk to a lawyer, and explains how to proceed.

After a lengthy discussion, the alleged voice of Yury Glazyev asks his father to involve his "connections" in the process:

"You could contact the judge and prosecutor through your channels and tell them to not to extend the detention period."

The voice goes on to say that the defense lawyer has been asking for money, but that he would pay only after the lawyer completes all the necessary documents.

"That is also an option," says the purported voice of the Kremlin adviser.

There is much of Glazyev's story that's still yet to unfold.

Yury Glazyev says he is determined to stand by his fiancee, and will defend her by "any possible method, any possible way if I have to."

And, as Savushkina sits behind bars, Yury Glazyev is doing what he can do to build family ties by taking care of her daughter and visiting her relatives.

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    Farangis Najibullah

    Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who has reported on a wide range of topics from Central Asia, including the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the region. She has extensively covered efforts by Central Asian states to repatriate and reintegrate their citizens who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.