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A Russian Developer Helps Out the Kremlin on Occasion. Was He a Conduit to Trump?

Mr. Agalarov, 61, also worked on a project with a future president, Donald J. Trump. Last week, the Russian developer and his crooner son and heir, Emin, were thrust into the swirl of speculation about whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.Continue reading the main storyTheir names popped up in emails about arranging a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, but the president and his son have both insisted that nothing of value was provided.“This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin,” wrote Rob Goldstone, a music producer and publicist working for Emin.While there is no indication beyond what was said in the emails that the Agalarovs were serving as a conduit between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, wealthy and well-connected businessmen are often called on to do the bidding of the Russian government.Kremlin analysts stress that its red, crenelated walls conceal not a well-oiled machine but a hornet’s nest of interests and influences competing to dominate an Erector Set of ad hoc policies and sudden opportunities, many of them highly lucrative.When it comes to exploiting those opportunities, the Kremlin often ignores its own bureaucrats, diplomats and other agents in favor of someone it thinks will get the job done — a charmed group whose members rise and fall in status along with their usefulness to Mr. Putin and his top aides.In that context, analysts find it entirely plausible that the Kremlin would tap Mr. Agalarov, a construction tycoon with a web of contacts to Mr. […]