Anti-corruption activist and Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny may have been arrested, but that hasn’t stopped him from firing missiles at President Vladimir Putin. After being detained at the Matrosskaya Tishina facility, Navalny’s team released their investigation details into Putin’s wealth urging Russia to look at what they called “Putin’s Palace” on the Black Sea. His Anti-corruption Foundation (FBK) called it their biggest investigation yet
CNN stated they weren’t able to verify the FBK’s claims of the property estimated to be around $1.4 billion. Their allegations were denied by Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson. “They are repeating the old story. It was the year of 2017 or 2016, if I’m not mistaken, that the first time it was mentioned there should be the so-called palace of Putin in Gelendzhik. This is not true. There is no palace, he is not an owner of any palace,” Peskov told the site.
“Those are all rumors and there were some disputes between the owners of those premises but they really have no connection with President Putin,” he opined. Navalny’s team’s report and the almost 120-minute long documentary provides a more in-depth look inside the palace. The FBK add that a subcontractor who was involved in the construction gave them the plans of the building along with a list of items. They then used the documents and photos to create 3D models of the interiors of the palace.
Below are some of the images during the rounds on Twitter. Please note that these were artist impressions.
“This is like a state within a state where one irremovable czar rules,” Navalny is seen to be saying in the documentary. “It is built in a way that no one can reach it by land, sea or air, thousands of people working there are banned from bringing even a simple cell phone with a camera… but we will take a look inside.” Spanning 17,691-square-meter, the palace is said to feature 11 bedrooms, multiple living rooms, dining halls, a theater, a casino, a couple of spas, a hammam, a bakery, and a “dirt room.”
According to the drone videos, FBK shot, the estate also comes in with a private hockey rink, a personal church, amphitheater, and a 2,500-square-meter greenhouse. On their site, they also spoke of what would be the most controversial room that features a hookah lounge and what appears to be a dancer’s pole. Reportedly, the marked territory also boasts of vineyards with classical music playing round the clock. Navalny claimed that wine-making was one of the President’s most expensive hobbies.
“He drinks it with his friend from China, Xi Jinping, and, under the same chardonnay, discusses ‘deeper integration’ with [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko,” he said. These updates come after he was detained in a Moscow airport late on Sunday when he landed from Germany. Navalny spent five months recovering from Novichok poisoning he blamed on the Russian government. Navalny was placed in custody for 30 days and now awaits a trial that determines if he violated the terms of his suspended sentence in 2014.
Following the decision on Navalny’s decision, his team put out an announcement for a nationwide demonstration this weekend. CNN said the report was a way of pulling the crowd to the streets. “Most of all, I want that the same kind of anger that burns in me burns in the people who watch this video,” Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh tweeted.
“Putin is robbing my country, imprisoning my friends, he is a murderer. And I want to fight back. Moscow, Pushkin Square… I’ll be there. I hope to see you there too.” In less than a day, the documentary has seen over 25 million views on YouTube.