How did an ordinary Soviet officer become a madman obsessed with money and luxury? – asks Alexei Navalny in the video published by the Fight against Corruption Foundation (FBK). The opposition activist, who is currently in custody, examines the property in Gelendzhik in southern Russia, which is called “Putin’s palace”. Navalny in this film describes the Russian president as “the richest man in the world”.
The video material posted on Navalny’s website lasts two hours. The account is started by Navalny himself from Dresden, where he tells about the beginnings of Vladimir Putin’s career as a KGB officer in an outpost in what was then East Germany. Navalny incl. asks the question, “How did an ordinary Soviet officer become a madman obsessed with money and luxury?” He also calls Vladimir Putin “the richest man in Russia”.
The material states that the property near Gelendzhik, which was attributed to businessman Alexander Ponomarienka, is in fact owned by people around the Russian president. According to FBK, the property cost 100 billion rubles (currently – over $ 1.3 billion). Architectural sketches of this building are shown. The Foundation for Combating Corruption ensures that thanks to the publication “millions of Russians can be at home with Putin”. However, there are no photos in the material that would show the Russian president in this residence.
People from Putin’s entourage were involved in the construction
According to FBK, the palace covers 18,000 square meters. The material assures that the property has dozens of various rooms, a theater and a casino, a huge orangery, an amphitheater and an underground tunnel leading to the seashore. The Foundation for Combating Corruption claims that large companies led by people from the Russian leadership’s entourage participated in the construction of the facility.
Much space in the publication was devoted to people with whom Putin started his career and who later, when he came to power, found himself in his closest circle.
Although Navalny says that the property was built in such a way that it could not be approached from the land or the sea, the authors of the material publish shots they explained that they filmed using a drone after three failed attempts.
The Kremlin denies the truth of the film
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that the property in Gelendzhik belonged to Putin. He added that the conclusions contained in the material have nothing to do with reality.
In 2010, the facility was described as “Putin’s dacha” – allegedly built for the Russian president on the Black Sea – said businessman Sergei Kolesnikov, who estimated its value at USD 1 billion. The case became high-profile, after which Ponomarenko announced that he was the owner of the facility. FBK claims that the deal to sell the property to a businessman is bogus.
The FBK material was created before Navalny’s return from Germany to Russia and his detention at the Sheremetyevo airport. The video was released the day after the arrest of the oppositionist, who is now in the detention center of Matrosskaya Tiszyn in Moscow.
FBK had previously published materials about the alleged assets of the Russian ruling elite, but they did not concern Putin directly.
Main photo source: instagram.com/navalny