A 2021 Russian documentary made by a Russian anti-corruption team has revealed a luxurious $1.4 billion estate in Russia on the Black Sea. The film details an astonishingly large and opulent palace. And one critic is claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is behind the construction of the billion-dollar estate.
Alex Navalny is a fierce Putin critic. He released the 113-minute documentary-style film earlier this year with the help of his anti-corruption team. The film alleges Putin and his billionaire friends secretly built the mansion using illicit funds.
Within 24 hours of its release, the video gained 20 million views. Within a week, 93 million had seen it, making it the activist’s most popular investigation.
“This is certainly not just a building. It is a symbol of the 20 years of Putin’s rule,” Navalny claims.
Analysis of financial documents reveals that the mansion cost almost 100 billion rubles, or about $1.3 billion. Money, he claims Putin funneled from various oligarch cronies. Navalny is calling the palace the world’s biggest bribe.
The investigation doesn’t rely on financial records alone. Navalny and his team have obtained detailed floor plans, drone footage, and interior photographs. The extravagant mansion is reportedly 39 times the size of Monaco.
A Hidden Fortress
The estate stands in Cape Idokopas, near the village of Praskoveevka. The palace is tucked away down a winding road on a thickly wooded mountainside overlooking Russia’s Black Sea coast. The palace, surrounded by forest, sits on a block of land with a total area of 74 hectares.
Centered around a beautiful pearl-colored palace with an area of 190,500 square feet are many amazing amenities. Navalny’s report describes that the grounds feature an arboretum, a greenhouse, an underground hockey rink, a church, an amphitheater, and a sculpture garden.
Near the main structure, there is a 260-foot bridge that leads to a 27,000-square-foot guest house.
Insider reports that the estate is also accessible by yacht and helicopter, as it features its own seaport and two helipads. Near the port, there is a special tunnel built into the seaside cliff to provide access to the beach. The tunnel includes a tasting room in the middle with the ‘best possible view of the sea’.
Amenities Fit For The Richest Of Men
Reporting suggests the architect who designed the ostentatious palace is Italian designer Lanfranco Cirillo. Cirillo has spent decades providing Moscow’s super-rich with villas and Italian-inspired designs.
“It’s not overdone, but naturally it is rich, as it was supposed to be. And we used fantastic materials. I was proud of my job. It’s very good ‘Made in Italy’,” the architect said of the palace.
Rich is also the term many Russians would use to describe the decor. Only the super-wealthy live in palaces featuring luxuries like those found in this. There is a private theater, a Las Vegas-style casino, an “aqua-discotheque” with a swim-up bar, a Turkish bath, a sauna, a cocktail lounge, a gym, A hookah bar, and staff quarters.
The 11-bedroom home features many living areas. There are also separate kitchens for meat and fish.
Among the additional areas are more than a dozen guest bedrooms near the master bedroom, which is spacious enough for a king. Navalny claims the master suite is nearly 2,800 square feet.
The home also features a wine cellar that holds wine produced from the grapes in the vineyard.
The furniture listed in the plans Navalny exposed are from Italian furniture companies Citterio, Pozzoli, and AB Italia, and the filmmaker has even managed to get prices for some of the items. These overstuffed chairs in the mansion’s ‘room of entertaining games’ cost the equivalent of $9,000 apiece. One leather sofa allegedly costs $28,000, while an ornate table with a built-in bar goes for over $49,000.
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Putin Denies The Ownership
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In a rare rebuttal, Putin denied that he owns the billion-dollar palace, according to The Washington Post. “Nothing of what was indicated there as my property belongs either to me or my close relatives,” Putin said.
Though Putin dismissed Navalny’s video as ‘boring’, it spurred demonstrations across Russia earlier this year. Many protesters took to the street to chat, “Putin is a thief!”
The extent of Putin’s wealth remains a mystery. The Russian president has not appeared on Bloomberg’s and Forbes’ rankings of the world’s billionaires. However, at a 2017 Senate Judiciary Hearing, Putin critic and financier Bill Browder estimated the president “has accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains and described him as one of the richest men in the world.”
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Source: Insider, Washington Post, Spiegel
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