Summer 2007

By Deborah K. Dietsch


The deal wasn’t initially well received by the locals who were worried about suspicious foreigners. “It was during the Cold War and people around here were afraid that the Russians would bring their battleships,” says (Russian Ambassador Yuri) Ushakov. “But then they realized that it wasn’t so bad because Russians started coming to the local shops to buy food and everything. They realized that there was no danger and saw that we took care of the house and property. Moreover, they realized that the Russians were friendly and hospitable.”

Yuri Ushakov, and his wife Svetlana, spend nearly every weekend and longer stretches during the summer (at Pioneer Point). “Because we have such a hectic life in Washington, we need a place to hide for a while,” says Ushakov. 

Pioneer Point is in a park-like setting, lushly planted with magnolias, cypress and boxwood, it’s easy to understand why these diplomats treasure their getaway. It is located right on the waterfront with all the amenities of a resort. Within a short walk from the main house are a swimming pool and a cabana, a tennis court and a waterfront dock.  Though the big house remains largely unchanged… its current occupants have added comfortable furniture reflective of their more laid-back style. Many of the spaces feature still life and landscape paintings by Russian artists and decorative Russian touches, including a samovar and porcelain figurines. True dacha living is best represented in the basement where recent upgrades have turned storage spaces into recreation rooms for playing table tennis, shooting pool and watching movies; the now stationary elevator may be turned into a bar. Down the hall is a lounge, where the ambassador and his buddies can share a glass of his favorite red wine after taking a sauna next door. “The steam of bania is the gift of God,” a sign over the doorway to the steam room proclaims in Russian.

The “hunting lodge” is where the Ushakovs host special visitors. “No one really hunts but that’s what we call it,” says Ushakov with a laugh. This shingled shed with its outdoor fireplace, one of many outbuildings on the property, is tucked off the tree-lined lane leading to the house. Inside, a long wooden table under timber ceiling beams and glass beer steins hanging from a rack create the feeling of a rustic pub. A colorful mural of Russian and American sailors clinking their beer glasses decorates the back wall; the Russian wears a naval hat inscribed with “Ushakov.”

“People can relax and open up in way that they never do in the city,” says Ushakova. “A dacha is not just about entertaining. It’s about uniting people in a very spiritual way because here you are in harmony with nature. That’s why the dacha is so powerful for Russians.”

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Federal officials are shutting down a Russian-owned compound on Maryland’s Eastern Shore amid sweeping U.S. sanctions in response to election-related hacking. 

President Barack Obama gave Russia until Friday at noon to leave the 45-acre property, which the Soviet government bought in 1972.

One of two Russian compounds that the U.S. plans to close is located in Centreville, Maryland, a State Department official confirmed to News4 Thursday afternoon. The other is in Glen Cove, New York.

Video shot from Chopper4 Thursday afternoon and again Friday morning shows a flurry of activity and multiple unmarked cars on the perimeter of the sprawling waterfront property in Centreville.

On Thursday, officials appeared to set up an antenna, plus lights at each entrance. A man in what looked to be a law enforcement boat appeared to watch the property by water.

White House officials said the facility is recreational but also used for intelligence activities.

Intelligence officials told NBC News the property was used for work to monitor the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and another NSA building on Kent Island.

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0000the-moscow-times-logo THE MOSCOW TIMES


A top cybersecurity specialist in Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was arrested on Wednesday reportedly on suspicion of leaking information to the U.S. intelligence community — a bombshell accusation that, if true, would mean Washington had a spy in the heart of Russia’s national defense infrastructure. 

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Ex-KGB general Oleg Erovinkin was found dead in his car in Moscow last month. He was a close associate of a former senior Kremlin official mentioned repeatedly in dossier.

The mysterious death last month of a former Russian spy chief may be linked to a dossier that reportedly implicates U.S President Donald Trump in misconduct, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday.

Oleg Erovinkin, a former general in the KGB intelligence agency and its successor the FSB, was found dead in the back of his car in Moscow in late December.

No cause of death has been announced, though the local media has reported that foul play is suspected. The FSB is continuing to investigate.

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By Rex Bowman

A tall, chain-link fence forms a horseshoe-shaped barrier to anyone attempting to get inside, and the water closes the end of the horseshoe. Video cameras monitor the gates.

Sitting on the court and wearing a headband and white tennis shorts, Oleg Sokolov. Embassy minister, looked like the quintessential country clubber inviting a visitor to become a member. He speaks fluent English and can smoothly turn from a conversation on Dostoevsky to a topic as mundane as the local weather, which he compared with that in southern Russia.

“We like it here,” Sokolov said. “You have a very nice area for fishing.” 

Vasily Shalyminol…one of the groundskeepers at Pioneer Point, agreed that the fishing is good. “Krabiruyu,” he also conceded, using a verb found not in Romanov’s paperback Russian-English dictionary but easily translated as: “I go crabbing.”


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