At first glance, first daughter Ivanka Trump’s inaugural invitation to the wife of a Russian billionaire close to Russian leader Vladmir Putin provides additional proof for those who claim President Donald Trump has slavish ties to Russia.
But the invitee, Dasha Zhukova, made political contributions during the presidential campaign that run counter to the Russian narrative largely promoted by Democrats.
Zhukova, 35, the wife of Roman Abramovich, one of the richest men in Russia, gave $2,700 in 2015 to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Later in the year, she gave $33,400 to the Democratic National Committee when it was chaired by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz was forced to step down from her position with the DNC in July over leaked emails showing a bias for Clinton over her challenger in the primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Zhukova is a Russian-born business woman and art collector who founded an art museum in Russia housing modern and contemporary art.
Apart from her marriage to a Putin confidant, Zhukov has herself courted controversy in the past.
In January 2014, Zhukova was accused of racism when she posed during a photo-shoot for the Buro 24/7 website sitting on a bondage chair. Underneath the chair was a black mannequin designed for the chair.
The photo and the accompanying article profiling Zhukova was published on Martin Luther King Day.
The photo sparked a backlash, accusing Buro and Zhokova of racism. This prompted an apology from Buro’s editor and the cropping the photo.
Zhukova issued her own apology.
“I regret allowing an artwork with such charged meaning to be used in this context. I utterly abhor racism and would like to apologize to those offended by my participation in this shoot,” she said.
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