Crime Justice

Documentary spotlights Putin's billion-dollar Black Sea 'bribery' palace

By Salaam Times and AFP

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A aerial view of Russian President Vladimir Putin's 'palace' on the Black Sea is shown on opposition leader Alexei Navalny's blog. [Navalny.com]

MOSCOW -- An investigation published earlier this week into a Black Sea property owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin is once again putting the spotlight on the Russian leader's ties to rampant corruption.

The investigation, published on opposition leader Alexei Navalny's blog with an accompanying two-hour YouTube video recorded before his return to Russia, claims the property cost $1.35 billion and was paid for "with the largest bribe ever".

The report alleges that the property, situated along Russia's Black Sea, is 39 times the size of Monaco and features a casino inside a 17,691-square-metre mansion, along with an ice rink and vineyards.

The video investigation can be seen here on YouTube, and as of Monday (January 25) has been viewed over 86 million times since it was released last Tuesday.

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Another view of Putin's palace. [Navalny.com]

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) owns about 7,000 hectares of land surrounding the property and the complex was financed by Putin's close allies, including Igor Sechin, chief of Russian oil giant Rosneft, and billionaire tycoon Gennady Timchenko, according to the investigation.

A mini-state for a tsar

"It is a truly separate state within Russia. And in this state there is a single and irreplaceable tsar. Putin," Navalny said.

The investigation was published a day after a court sentenced Navalny, whom police detained after returning from Germany for the first time since he was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in Siberia in August, to 30 days in jail.

More than 3,700 protestors were detained in over 120 cities across Russia this weekend after Navalny called his supporters to take to the streets.

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From the beginning of human history until now, kings and rulers of the people have had a luxurious and sumptuous life. They have lived in the best houses, eaten the best food, had the most beautiful wives, and even slept with hundreds and thousands of bondmaids. These are the poor ordinary people who have always become prey to wars and have spent their days and nights in the mountains and plains in the cold winter and in the scorching summer so that their kings and rulers remain in power. If people do not stand behind the rulers and kings and not defend them, they are nothing but ordinary people. These are the people who made them heroes and built magnificent houses for them. Regarding Putin's house, I should say that after the President of North Korea, Putin is a dictatorial president. I think the Russian system is not a good system. If there was a democratic system in Russia, Putin would not be able to rule for more than 15 years and build a billion-dollar palace or house from the government’s assets.

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Putin is a hero and an eye-thorn to the enemies and to the United States of America.

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