Nice try, America, but Russia is on to you.
According to Igor Ananskikh, a senior Russian parliamentarian, the arrest Wednesday night of Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov on charges of assault and kidnapping was merely a plot to prevent Russia from winning the gold medal in hockey at the Sochi Olympics.
Ananskikh was the first to figure out the thinly veiled scheme.
“I’m confident of Semyon’s innocence,” Ananskikh said. “I think it is a sports and political move, as Varlamov is a candidate for the Russian national team. The main goal is to suspend him from training and games so that he loses practice and misses the Olympics.”
R-Sport, a Russian newspaper, described Ananskikh as a member of Russia's most outspoken nationalist party, the LDPR. He apparently believes the arrest shows a complete absence of the presumption of innocence.
"As far as we know, his girlfriend complained to the police and on the basis of her complaints to arrest a man . . . I think this is totally wrong and incorrect," he said, clearly spoiled by Russia's legendarily high standards for prosecution of criminal behavior.
Ananskikh also said that the parliament's physical training and sports committee that he heads would do everything possible to follow and influence the situation.
Note to Jonathan Quick: avoid travel to Russia before February.
Earlier, Varlamov’s father Alexander told R-Sport that he was sure the goalie hadn’t committed any crime and the issue would be resolved soon.
"There will be a hearing, and only afterwards will we be able to give some kind of comment," Alexander Varlamov said. "I can only say one thing with complete responsibility: No crime has been committed whatsoever . . . The media have simply blown the situation out of proportion. There was no kidnapping, even less any kind of acts of violence. I can't say any more, because the lawyer won't be too happy."
The elder Varlamov felt confident that this would be cleared up well before it affected his son's ability to participate in the Sochi Games.
"Is there any point in worrying about it? No, none at all. If they [Russian coaches] call him up, all will be OK," Alexander Varlamov said.
Mr. Varlamov might not be so confident once he hears the details of what led to the arrest of his son.
According to a piece this morning in the Denver Westword, Varlamov was busted for allegedly throwing his girlfriend into a wall and then stomping on her.
"As the evidence was presented to me, he threw her into the wall, she went to the floor, and he was stomping on her, and that's what caused the bruising and the damage in this area," said Robert Abrams, the attorney for Varlamov's girlfriend who he identified only as "Evie." She has since been confirmed as Russian model Eugenia Vavrinyuk and was reportedly hospitalized for her injuries.
Disturbingly, Abrams also said that this wasn't the first time something like this had happened with Varlamov, but after this latest incident, the woman decided it was time to "go lock him up."
Vavrinyuk addressed the incident on the Russian social media site VKontakte. She quickly deleted her post, but not before a screen capture was made.
"If a man has raised his hand once, he will do it again," she wrote. "And no amount of persuasion and promises should dissuade women [from leaving]. Part with these men, and don't feel sorry for them! Giving men one more chance means you're allowing them to do it all over again."
Varlamov's agent says his client will be cleared when the facts come out regarding his arrest. "My client is completely innocent of these charges," Paul Theofanous told Adrian Dater of The Denver Post.