Kushner-Trump house exterior

The Secret Russian Backstory Behind Ivanka and Jared’s New House

Washington is a town of transient citizens living in timeless homes, with large swaths of the population turning over as one administration exits and another enters. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s new, but century-old, house holds one such story.

Ivanka Trump’s father, president-elect Donald Trump, has a long-running, if possibly one-sided, bromance with Russian president Vladimir Putin. His inauguration portends a new era of good feeling between the two countries. Indeed, his daughter and son-in-law are about to move into a house previously owned by a staunch Putin opponent who advised politicians like Mitt Romney on why they should distrust the Russian leader.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s new Washington home was owned, according to the New York Times by Dan Rapoport, who recently sold the house and moved to Ukraine.

Rapoport, who was born in Latvia when it was part of the Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States as a child, relocated to Moscow after the fall of communism to join a Russian-American oil business. He remained in Russia for two decades and became close to pro-democracy groups critical of Vladimir Putin’s increasing limitations on civil society institutions. Rapoport ended up leaving Russia, in part due to fear of Putin’s long arm, and settled in Washington, D.C. He advised Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the 2012 elections and was involved in shaping Romney’s strong criticism of Putin during his run against President Barack Obama.

Now, as the political pendulum swings once again, this time making Washington a more favorable place to Putin, Rapoport is leaving town to head a $100 million American private equity investment in Ukraine. In October, he gave up co-ownership of the house to his ex-wife, according to CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond. Now Kushner, Trump and their three children will live there, within a 7-minute walk to an Orthodox synagogue.

And so the walls of the 6-bedroom mansion in Washington’s stately Kalorama neighborhood, which until recently heard anti-Putin conversations, might now listen in on a very different type of conversation.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

Author

Nathan Guttman

Nathan Guttman

Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at guttman@forward.com, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman

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