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“I think I just have a talent for media,” Akhmetshin told lawyers in a 2012 deposition as part of a civil defamation lawsuit that a third party had filed against one of his business partners.
Living in the United States, I observed political life, especially in Washington. And I think I understand this political system quite well. And news cycle, I understand it better, probably, than most Americans.”
Born in Kazan, Russia, the 50-ish Akhmetshin said he left his homeland at the age of 25 with a Ph.D. in “bio-organic chemistry.”
He said he entered the Soviet Army and monitored troop movements at a time when Russia was engaged in an offensive in Afghanistan. But Akhmetshin has insisted publicly that he was not a trained spy and that his military service is being overplayed.
In the deposition, Akhmetshin was asked about a book by Steve Levine called “Oil and Glory,” in which he is described as a “former Soviet Army counterintelligence officer.”
“It’s not accurate,” Akhmetshin said. But otherwise Levine’s portrayal of him was “flattering.”