The Putin-Medvedev life of luxury

THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. With President-Elect Dmit...Image via Wikipedia

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev share between them at least two dozen palaces, villas and mansions, according to a respected Russian magazine, in a report that is likely to reignite a debate about privileges enjoyed by the ruling duo.

The Russian liberal media and blogosphere have been alive with discussion about possible secret residences belonging to the two since a businessman in December accused Mr Putin, the Prime Minister, of building a £600m palace on the shores of the Black Sea for his own personal use.

The magazine Kommersant Dengi reported yesterday that given the Russian regime's opacity, it was impossible to tell how many residences the President and Prime Minister had access to, but noted that some estimates gave Mr Putin 26 separate places to live in. The magazine itself counted 24 residences that could be used by the pair, including six that are only rumoured to be for presidential use. The list contains castles, dachas, palaces, a ski resort and even a chateau outside Paris.

Most controversial is the Black Sea palace, currently being built near the village of Praskoveyevka. Sergei Kolesnikov, a Russian businessman and supposed whistleblower, told a US newspaper in December that funds for the palace had been raised through "a combination of corruption, bribery and theft," and coordinated by a close associate of Mr Putin's. The newspaper said it had seen documents to support the claim. Mr Putin's official spokesman has denied the building has anything to do with the Prime Minister.

Photographs of the palace were published last month by, a website that positions itself as a Russian version of WikiLeaks. They showed a colonnaded palace with interiors full of frescos and antique furniture. The website said it could not confirm the ownership of the palace, but had decided to publish the photos anyway.

It would be interesting to know how much wealth these career government workers have accumulated. I bet the Russians would like to know also.

The Black Sea is north of currant day Turkey.  The Mediterranean  used to be called the White Sea by the Turks when they were trying to dominate it during the days of the horrendous galley slaves who were chained to their oars.
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