SYLVESTER Stallone’s long-lost cousin has last night been tragically burned alive in a horrific fireball car crash in Ukraine.
Viktoria Kravchenko, 33, was a passenger in a BMW X6 involved in a high speed accident collision with a parked car before exploding in a fireball when it hit a pylon carrying a power cable.
Viktoria Kravchenko was a passenger in a BMW X6 involved in a high speed accident collision before exploding in a fireball[/caption]
The 33-year-old was Sylvester Stallone’s long-lost cousin[/caption]
The driver of the car Shamil Gajdzhiev, 22, was also killed.
The tragic woman was the daughter of Ukrainian businessman Valery Kravchenko, 66, who was found by the actor’s mum, Jackie Stallone, 97, when traced the family’s roots to the former Soviet Union.
Back in the Soviet era, Jackie was helped in tracing Viktoria’s father by last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s during a trip to Moscow on the back of her son’s success in Rocky IV.
When Gorbachev introduced limited market reforms, Kravchenko had set up the first privately owned petrol filling station in the entire Soviet Union.
I am very proud to discover that we are related to Sylvester Stallone
Viktoria Kravchenko in 2009
On Gorbachev’s direct orders, his Soviet-era KGB were deployed to trace her roots after she had met the political at his official residence.
The secret service had then established a remarkable family connection.
Kravchenko’s paternal grandmother, Yevdokia, was a blood relative of Sylvester Stallone’s maternal great-grandmother who had changed her name to Rose Labofish – an Anglicised version of her original Russian name – when she arrived in the US in 1888.
Kravchenko was summoned to the KGB offices in Odessa where he was introduced to Jackie.
He later introduced the actor’s mum to his daughter Viktoria who tragically died on Sunday night.
In 2009, Viktoria said: “I am very proud to discover that we are related to Sylvester Stallone.
“When I first found out, I was in shock and my friends couldn’t believe it either.
“Years ago I noticed how my dad looks similar to Sylvester, especially his eyes.
“I remember saying it to Dad at the time, but he just laughed. Jackie was such fun to meet in person.”
Kravchenko, a multi-millionaire, admitted a decade ago: “I thought it was a joke at first (about the family link to Stallone).
“The last thought in my mind was that I would be meeting Sylvester Stallone’s mum.
“But then I realised that she and the man from the secret services were perfectly serious. I couldn’t take it in all at once.
“We went out on to the street together and I kept chatting to her. I understood from her that I was a long lost nephew or cousin.”
Reports in Ukraine said that the BMW and a Porsche were “street racing” ahead of the accident.
A spokesman for the former Soviet leader said: “Mrs Stallone and Mr Gorbachev have met before and Mr Gorbachev has assisted in her efforts to trace her family.”
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The Hollywood actor had previously said: “I am intrigued about my Russian roots and I look forward to travelling to Odessa.
“My mother has told me all about what she has discovered and the people she has met.
“My character, all my genes, I feel them coming from my mother’s side, rather than from my Italian father.
“So thanks to Odessa.”
The Hollywood actor had previously said: ‘I am intrigued about my Russian roots and I look forward to travelling to Odessa’[/caption]
Valery Kravchenko pictured with daughter Viktoria, who was killed in the crash[/caption]
Jacqueline Stallone (right) across the table from her nephew Valery Kravchenko (first from left) on her visit to Odessa[/caption]
Jacqueline Stallone with her distant nephew Valery Kravchenko on her visit to Odessa[/caption]
The driver of the car Shamil Gajdzhiev, 22, was also killed[/caption]
Kravchenko was summoned to the KGB offices in Odessa where he was introduced to Jackie[/caption]
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