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'Putin Palace' Pics: It's Good To Be The PM

A new website billing itself the "Russian WikiLeaks" has posted photographs of a lavish Black Sea mansion believed to have been commissioned for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. says it has no proof the mansion, still under construction and being built for a reported $1 billion, is Putin's.

Although the website's authors are anonymous, it's believed to be backed by the Pirate Party of Russia, which advocates opposition to copyright laws.

The mansion was first brought to public attention in December by a former business partner of Putin associates, who published an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev decrying corruption in Russia.

Pirate Party leader Pavel Rassudov, who denies connections to, nevertheless told RFE/RL's Russian Service that the number of visitors to the site have spiked since it was launched a month ago.

"We have to confirm the mansion [is Putin's]," he said. "Then there has to be action, an appeal to the president asking whether there's corruption involved."

-- Gregory Feifer

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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