Timeline of Miss Universe Planning

The location of the 2013 Miss Universe — Crocus City Hall in Moscow — was announced in June of 2013 at the Miss USA pageant by Donald Trump, alongside the Agalarovs who were in town that weekend (the meeting has attracted some attention now). Some tellings of this process make it seem like Trump simply bumped into the Agalarovs that weekend, and as a last-minute decision selected Moscow. This is of course absurd.

One purpose in creating this timeline is to determine when the Russians may have actively pursued Trump as an asset. Part of the context of this timeline is the mid-December 2012 passage of the Magnitsky Act (sanctions), and Russia’s response — banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I can’t say that there’s a definite relationship, but if you think the Russians may have had some sort of plan afoot, this context may be critical for understanding when the Russians may have formed such a plan. And if I’m going back to Magnitsky, I might was well go back to the 2012 election, when Russian media mogul and alleged propagandist Konstantin Rykov has claimed he first became interested in helping Trump to become President.

11/6/2012 — Obama wins re-election. Konstantin Rykov will later claim that Trump tweets following the election tweaked is interest in promoting Trump. He says he replied to a Trump tweet, and Trump sent him this image as an answer.

Translation: “Donald Trump. America will be free.”

11/7 — Trump tweets “Make America Great Again”.

11/11 — U.S. House of Representatives passes the Magnitsky Act

11/19 — Russian Duma passes bill to ban U.S. adoptions.

11/19 — Trump gets “Make America Great Again” trademarked.

12/6 — U.S. Senate passes Magnitsky Act

12/14 — Obama signs Magnitsky Act

12/28 — Putin signs adoption ban

The Magnitsky Act and the ban on adoptions as an apparent reponse is seen by many as a turning point for Putin, the point in time where he became sure that the path of negotiations and agreements was finished.

This timeline won’t cover it, but there’s much to suggest that Russia’s relationship with Trump predates this timeline by years. He had already had a few aborted runs at the presidency. He was a perfect target for Putin, if for nothing else, then at least as a spoiler in our elections.

2/1 — Announced that Miss Universe would attend and Judge the 2013 Miss Russia, along with Miss World. [source is some sketchy tweets with broken facebook links]

2/1 — Emin posts to twitter and instagram that he’s just met Rudy Giuliani. They were both at Fox station WNYW in New York doing segments for Good Day New York.

2/11 — Bill Maher responds publicly to an absurd lawsuit by Donald Trump, to establish that Trump was not the son of an orangutan. It’s notable because the lawsuit was filed by Scott Balber, establishing that relationship by this time. Balber was also a lawyer for Miss Universe at least by mid-2012, when he handled a lawsuit for them.

2/27 — Miss Universe, and Miss Universe staff travel to Russia for the Miss Russia contest. The Miss Universe account was run by (or for) Olivia Culpo at the time, so she is one of the travelers. @muopres is a now-defunct account for Miss Universe president Paula Shugart. @Swanbird is Miss Universe Director of Talent Development, Esther Swan. Miss Universe herself only attends a handful of national-level contests during her tenure. I think Ms. Culpo attended less than five national pageants, and this was one of them. The business arrangements behind her attendance in Moscow would be an excellent topic for further research.

3/1–2/2012 — Miss Russia contest takes place. The location is Crocus City complex in Moscow, an important and new development of the Agalarovs. It’s nearly certain they were directly involved in planning to host Miss Russia in this location.

3/2 — Emin Agalarov heads to New York.

3/3 — Oliva Culpo heads to New York

3/7 — Emin Agalarov and Rob Goldstone at Miss Universe Organization headquarters in New York (two blocks away from Trump Tower). It seems likely that this was to work out the details of Miss Universe (Olivia Culpo) performing a song with Emin and creating a video. It’s also possible the Agalarovs were already pitching to host Miss Universe at this time.

3/8 — Emin returns to Russia. He’ll spend a lot of time in the next few months in New York City (NYC).

3/15—Emin back in NYC.

3/21 — Rob Goldstone announces on Facebook that he will be attending the Miss USA contest. He will serve as a judge in the preliminary competitions. He later deletes this posting. (All based on an NPR story.) In my mind this firmly establishes that Miss Universe negotiations were well under way.

3/22—Emin goes to Fisher Island in Florida

3/29—Emin back in NYC again.

4/6—Emin back in Moscow

5/2—Emin in NYC. Again.

5/13 — Emin in LA for photo and video shoots related to his AMOR single. Based on his twitter timeline, Emin seems to have spent most of May in the US, with stops in NY, NJ, Florida, and then LA, then back to NY, although many of the linked instagram photos are no longer available.

5/16–19 — Emin filming AMOR with Olivia Culpo. Los Angelos locations over the next few days include Ocean Studios, Jesse Street Warehouse, Downtown Rehearsal, and the Whittier bridge.

5/25 — Esther Swan and Olivia Culpo again travel to Russia, to promote the release of the AMOR video and the opening of Emin’s Rose Bar in Moscow.

5/27 — Swan and Culpo visit the Agalarov Estates.

5/27 — Culpo is also already buddy-buddy with Rob Goldstone

5/29 — Emin’s Rose Bar in Moscow has its grand opening, doubled up as Emin’s AMOR video release party. Emin performs, Olivia Culpo, Rob Goldstone attend. Video is published on Youtube.

5/30 — Culpo leaves Moscow

6/12—Miss USA preliminary competition. Rob Goldstone is one of the judges.

Goldstone appears at 17:57

6/13—Jack Hanick, who will later be hired to build Konstantin Malofeev’s new Russian “Tsargrad TV” channel, is hosted in Moscow by Malofeev to attend a roundtable on “traditional values”, i.e. an anti-homosexuality meeting. Some believe Hanick’s involvement in Tsargrad TV was a small piece of the plan to provide the Trump campaign with propaganda support.

6/15 or earlier—Emin poses in a Trump International Hotel shirt, with a Trump “You’re Fired” hat. At least the third outfit Emin appears in on this trip. This was taken in front of Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.

6/15 or earlier?—Donald Trump meets with Aras and Emin Agalarov, and Ike Kaveladze at the venue of Miss USA. Both Emin and Trump are wearing different clothes than in the later Dinner on the 15th. This is likely at a Miss USA rehearsal.

6/15 — Dinner and party in a private dining room at Wofgang Puck’s CUT restaurant at The Palazzo Las Vegas (based on Martin Schoeller portraits on the wall, and style of chairs.) Donald Trump attends the dinner, along with the entire Agalarov family (Aras and his wife Irina, son Emin, daughter Sheila), Rob Goldstone (Emin’s agent, and eventually Aras’ lackey), and Ike Kaveladze (long time Agalarov lawyer). Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen attends. Miss Universe representatives include Olivia Culpo, Paula Shugart, and Esther Swan. Other attendees include Keith Schiller (Trump’s bodyguard), Roman Beniaminov (a long-time friend of Emin’s), and two other Beniaminovs—Murad and Timur—who may be related to Roman.

Roman, Murad, and Timur have all been involved in some shady business dealings over the years, including some with Ike Kaveladze. They have no known connection with Miss Universe, but perhaps make more sense in terms of some sort of Trump Tower Moscow talks, as they all have various real estate interests, and interests in businesses tied to Russian infrastructure. For that matter, Michael Cohen as far as I can tell never had an significant connection to Miss Universe, with that link between Trump and Miss Universe being primarily through Scott Balber (who I have not found in attendance during Miss USA, although it seems possible he could have been there). This connection is likely how Balber came to do work for the Agalarovs. Note that Murad and Timur also had attended the AMOR video release party at the Rose Bar in Moscow.

Seated facing: Schiller, unknown, Cohen, Goldstone, Emin Agalarov, Trump, Culpo, Swan. Backs: Unknown (possibly Timur Beniaminov?), Murad Beniaminov, Aras Agalarov, Irina Agalarov.

Assumption: Scott Balber, who had been an attorney for Miss Universe and Trump for at least a year, was also likely present. Kaveladze and Balber likely met during the process of pitching Moscow as the location (this assumes they didn’t previously know each other, although Balber had previous Russian connections [Born there? Dad from there?]

6/15 — Meeting that appears to be some sort of contract signing related to Miss Universe, in a south-facing penthouse suite in Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Attendees include Aras and Emin Agalarov, Ike Kaveladze, Rob Goldstone, Paula Shugart, Larry Parra, and other unidentified persons. Trump does not appear in the available photos in this location.

Unkown cameraperson, unknown woman, back of Paula Shugart’s head, Ike Kaveladze, Emin and Aras Agalarov

6/15-evening — Trump, Emin, and Culpo (at least) attend a party at the ACT nightclub. Part of the purpose of this meeting is ostensibly Emin’s USA launch of his AMOR single.

In addition to these venues and sources, there is video from CNN at this time. We only have their edited version, not the original source. It shows some of the above and below venues related to Miss USA, as well as people in the lobby of Trump Tower Las Vegas. Based on attire, this lobby footage was the same day as the dinner and meeting on the 15th, though it appears to be daytime in the lobby, and includes Emin, Sheila, and Irina Agalarov along with Donald Trump, and others.

6/16 — Miss USA pageant at the AXIS in Las Vegas, Nevada.

6/17 — Yulya Alferova (Yulya Klyushina at the time) publishes a livejournal posting about the Las Vegas meeting. Alferova and her then-husband Artem Klyushin have unclear connections to these events, which seem to begin about now. Her blog is the only coverage I’ve found of these events. She was not there (as far as I can tell). Many of the photos here are from her posting, suggesting that someone who attended sent her the photos for publication on her livejournal account.

6/17—Emin back in NYC.

6/18 — Trump brings up Putin on Twitter, and Emin answers.

7/22 — Paula Shugart and other MU staff travel to Moscow. https://www.m24.ru/articles/chitat/22072013/21995

7/22—National Review publishes a story about Trump running for president. Bizarrely the story starts out “Donald Trump has long resisted calls for him to run for president. But now, at age 67, he tells me he’s considering a bid”. Given that he ran briefly for the 2012 election, this simply seems like the beginning of his public campaign, rather than a news piece.

8/14 — Jack Hanick interviewed in Russian magazine.

7/24—Yulya Alferova Tweets that she met Paula Shugart

8/14 — Jack Hanick interviewed in Russian magazine.

10/23? — Culpo back to Moscow (to stay through Miss Universe competition?)

10/29—Putin awards Aras Agalarov the “Order of Honor”. Ostensibly this great honor was bestowed because he completed a building on time.

Putin pins the Order of Honor on Agalarov.

10/31—Then president of the NRA David Keene gives a talk at a “Right to bear arms” meeting in Moscow. Maria Butina introduces him.

Update Log

2018/11/30 — added a few periphery events: Hanick visit, Aras medal, NRA visit.

For a timeline of events during Miss Universe, continue with this article:

2020/08/14—added July Alferova tweet

Just a guy with too many interests.