Friday, October 24, 2014


Russia

Report Says Luxury Perks Pile Up For Putin

The report says Vladimir Putin has 43 aircraft, 15 helicopters, four yachts, and a fleet of luxury cars available for his use.
The report says Vladimir Putin has 43 aircraft, 15 helicopters, four yachts, and a fleet of luxury cars available for his use.
By RFE/RL
A new report by Russian opposition leaders accuses President Vladimir Putin of enjoying a lifestyle that "can be compared to that of a Persian Gulf monarch or a flamboyant oligarch."

The report is sarcastically titled "The Life of a Galley Slave," which is how Putin once described his life as president.

The authors of the report -- opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and Leonid Martynyuk, a member of the Solidarity movement -- say that during Putin's 12 years in power, the perks that the president enjoys have significantly increased.

The report says the president has 20 residences and dozens of jets and luxury cars at his disposal.

It asserts that the luxurious lifestyle is the reason Putin "maniacally clings to power."

The report includes pictures of presidential residences, aircraft, yachts, and cars.

Nemtsov, presenting the report at a news conference in Moscow, said putting all that state property at the disposal of one person was "immoral" and "criminal."

"I disagree with the claim that controlling and disposing of this kind of state property for the luxury of one person is normal," Nemtsov said. "I think it is immoral, it is criminal, and it is unacceptable in a poor country."

$1 Billion In Aircraft

It says nine of the 20 residences available were added to the official list of presidential residences during Putin's time in office. It says the restoration of some of them, including a Czarist-era palace near St. Petersburg, cost tens of millions of dollars.

The report also says Putin has 43 aircraft, 15 helicopters, four yachts, and a fleet of luxury cars available for his use. It says the aircraft alone are worth an estimated $1 billion.

It says Putin has a collection of 11 expensive watches with an estimated retail worth of $687,000, "about six times Putin's annual salary," according to the report.

PHOTO GALLERY: Putin's Bling
  • An estate west of Moscow, Novo-Ogaryovo was recognized as an official presidential estate in 2000. It had been a vacation retreat for Soviet leaders and was mostly unused in the 1990s.
  • Close to St. Petersburg, the Constantine Palace in Strelna was originally built for Peter the Great as a summer residence. 
  • Constantine Palace fell into disrepair after the October Revolution and was used as a naval base during World War II. In 2001, Putin ordered that it be restored and converted into a presidential residence.
  • An official residence for the Russian president, Meyendorff (Meiendorf) Castle in Barvikha, close to Moscow, was built in 1885-1887.
  • A view of the interior of Meyendorff Castle. It was occupied after the October Revolution and used as a sanatorium during Soviet times.
  • Another of Putin's residences is his Black Sea home of Bocharov Ruchei near the resort of Sochi. 
  • Putin on board one of his presidential planes. According to the report, he has 43 airplanes at his disposal. 
  • This IL-96-300 passenger airplane was turned over to Putin's presidential air detachment.
  • Putin reportedly has 15 helicopters at his disposal. His aircraft alone are worth $1 billion.
  • The president also has the use of a fleet of luxury cars.
  • In 2011, Russia bought the super-yacht "Sirius" for $40 million. 
  • The floating pleasure palace has a Jacuzzi for six, sun-bathing areas, a gym, a cinema, and an alfresco dining area for 14 with barbecue and bar.
  • Putin reportedly has a large collection of luxury watches, including some made by the Swiss watchmaker Blancpain. His collection is reputed to be worth nearly $700,000.

The report includes enlarged photographs of Putin's wrists during meetings and public appearances, revealing a variety of expensive watches.

Nemtsov saw that as an indication of corruption.

"[Putin's] watch collection, which is worth 22 million rubles [$700,000] and is six times Putin's annual salary, is his private property," he said. "It is not an idle question how someone who declared an annual income of 3.6 million rubles could acquire such a collection. We have some thoughts about it. We think it is corruption. Either he received a 500,000-ruble watch as a gift and never declared it -- so it was a bribe -- or his income doesn't match his declaration."

The report says Putin is enjoying all that luxury in a country where "more than 20 million people hardly make ends meet."

Difficult To Find A Publisher

There has been no official Kremlin reaction yet to the report, which was presented by the authors on August 28 in Moscow.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, was earlier quoted by Russia's "Kommersant" daily as saying the residences, aircraft, and cars were government property used lawfully by the president.

A spokeswoman for the Solidarity opposition movement, Olga Shorina, was quoted as saying the report had been printed in Russia but that finding a publisher had been "extremely difficult," apparently because of concerns about potential retaliation by the authorities for helping provide exposure to the information.

She said the report has a print run of about 5,000 copies. Organizers say they are hoping for wider distribution through the Internet.


With reporting by "The New York Times" and kommersant.ru
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: peter from: ottawa canada
August 28, 2012 14:22
Well theres no surprise here, thats how dictators live . Like all dictators Putin will end up like Hitler, Mussolini, Caucescu, Kadafy and soon to be Assad. Enjoy it while you can you Russian dwarf
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
August 28, 2012 15:12
Regularly reading RFE/RL "reports", I thought that Putin was going to "end up like" all of the above-mentioned personalities back in January-February this year, when this smart web-site (and all the Western media) was convicing us that millions of Russians were just going to rise up to overthrow this "dictatorship". But apparently, the absolute lack or results does not discourage Washington trolls like Peter from Canada who continue to promise more of the same old stuff that will never happen.
So, I would dare a forcast myself: Putin (and, by the way, Bashar as well) will end up like Fidel - living a happy life dedicated to fighting against the arrogant ambition of the inept and ignorant nation of Beavuses and Buttheads. And just like Fidel is doing it today, Putin (and Bashar) will both be active and present at the age of 80 - which one will most probably not be able to say about such US politicians as George W or Obama. The latter will end up like Ronald Reagan: a couple of useless and sorry cripples with Alzheimer.
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
August 30, 2012 16:40
Thank you Eugenio for your candid response. Only the worst conditions are best for revolution . The russian people have to suffer more before they rebel and overthrow their dictator. Its a slow process but its coming as for assad it may take another year or so but its coming and ill remember your quote and remind you of it eugenio from vienna
In Response

by: Marko from: USA
August 28, 2012 19:38
I doubt it. Some of this is probably true. Other parts of it are clearly exaggerated. On the whole though even if corrupt (and honestly what leader isn't these days), Putin runs the country pretty well-- a heck of a lot better than Nemtsov and his ilk did back in the 1990s. A version of this article that I saw elsewhere actually had Boris Nemtsov bemoaning population declines in Russia during Putin's tenure... that was "rich beyond price" and was wisely edited out by the RFE/RL staff to prevent Nemtsov from appearing like a hypocritical buffoon.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: USA
August 29, 2012 01:27
The same oligarchs from the 1990's are still in Russia today, all they did was pledge alliance to Putin...the one's that didn't either fled or were jailed. About 30 people control all of Russia, and Putin allowed them to keep their wealth as long as they stayed loyal.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
August 30, 2012 05:41
To Anonymous: "30 people control all of Russia". Really? I am not so sure. At any rate when I see how many tourists from Russia (and other post-Soviet republics) come here to spend time as tourists (and Vienna is by no means a cheap city), I get the impression that just 30 :-)). And by the way, none of them has up to now conmplained about "bad bad Putin" that the RFE/RL (and other Western media) go to present him as.
In Response

by: rick
August 30, 2012 12:32
And what about Italy ?

All Adriatic cost is full of russians

all tuscany is full of russians

in winter all best mountain site are full of russia

To speak russian here ,
for people how live of turism , become a necessity !
In Response

by: peter from: ottawa canada
August 30, 2012 16:45
Marko from the us, have you ever been to russia.? Go see for yourself then make your comment about how Putin is running the country.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: USA
August 31, 2012 01:58
rick and eugenio,

1. If Russians are so hateful of the West then why are there so many Russian tourists as you claim? Putin doesn't like this, and wants to put a stop to these "Western visits" along with "Western (Swiss) bank accounts". He also doesn't like Russians sending their children to Western Universities.

2. Having 30 people from the government's own security services control everything doesn't mean that others connected to the FSB/SVR/GRU/etc. don't have a lot of money themselves. Let's not forget that Russian corruption is on par with many African countries. Also, many wealthy Russians are afraid to criticize Putin, because he can make their lives very uncomfortable in a hurry....once somebody joins the secret services of Russia, he/she can never leave...except in a body bag!
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 31, 2012 09:55
stereotyped Yankee .....

Russian are europeans much more than you
russia is an integral part of european culture !

a list of countries full of Russians is not completed without
London

spain and greece , bulgaria rsot on black sea

turkey, egypt sharm el sheik
thailand indonesia and philippine

israel ...

by: Aibek
August 29, 2012 01:00
Putin is not a President, he is a Khan, like ancient Khans of Central Asia. Somebody commented he runs the country well, it is easy to look smart when your country has vast reserves of petroleum and gas that you just need to pump out of the earth.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
August 30, 2012 05:50
Aibek, it's NOT ALWAYS "easy to look smart when your country has vast reserves of petroleum and gas". Look at such countries as Nigeria or México: both have extensive stocks of oil and natural gas, and yet both suffer from endemic civil-war-like violence, chronical low-intensity conflicts. Significant segments of the population in both countries do not have access to even basic public goods (such as water supply at home).
And the only reason for this is the fact that both countries are run by lackeys of the US who - instead of serving their own people - serve the explotative capitalist US oligarchy. These guys wanted to make out of Russia the same kind of country back in the 1990s (remember Yeltsin - he did not look very smart, did he?), but Putin kicked these locusts out of Russia and that's the only reason why they are so upset with him.
In Response

by: Doku
August 30, 2012 08:38
Chronic low-intensity conflicts exist in Mexico, but not in Russia?
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
September 01, 2012 05:05
Once again the morally decrepit Eugenio shows his queer understanding of reality.

Corruption has massively increased in Russia under Putin, police repression has increased.

Russia has an ongoing war in the north Caucasus, has invaded and committed ethnic cleansing in Georgia.

Russia has more murders of journalists (usually those investigating officials involved in corruption or covering political murders) than countries that are in states of civil war.

Go 1 hours drive from Moscow and you are in the 18th century.
In Response

by: Marko from: USA
August 30, 2012 11:06
Aibek, You are right on one hand in the sense that it doesn't hurt, BUT... one could say that China's success (or India's) "just" comes from vast supplies of cheap labor, or that US success "just" came from having written the rules of the modern international trade system with Bretton Woods, GATT, WTO, etc. Success is success. Eugenio also makes a good point that Yeltsin and other Russian liberals like Nemtsov (as well as their American advisors like Sachs, etc) sure managed to make running a country with considerable energy reserves look ridiculously hard in the 1990s... Ditto for his point on a truly messed up place like Nigeria.

by: American Troll
August 29, 2012 08:23
And yet he can't afford a simple nose job.
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 29, 2012 13:25
This report is nothing new. These assertions have been consistently made by the country's opposition since 2007.

And yet again, these assertions are irrelevant in the scope of the issue. Besides the watches, all the perks are part of being President of the Russian Federation.

The REAL story regarding this issue is Putin's connection to subsidiaries for the country's natural resources and how the richest and most powerful men in Russia are former associates of Putin during his time in St. Petersburg and Germany. Putin is probably Russia's wealthiest man, but who cares about the perks of the presidency. How about writing an article about the subsidiaries in Germany, Switzerland, Belarus, and Ukraine that are all essentially shell companies that are owned by Putin's closest friends?

RFE/RL should stop regurgitating the same vile covered in the mainstream media and look deeper into the issue. I believe this is called journalism...

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