Kremlin buffed by questions about Putin's billion-dollar palace

'Putin's palace' owned by entrepreneurs, Kremlin says

The property in the village of Praskoveevka near the city of Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast, which Alexey Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) claims to be Vladimir Putin's palace, directly or indirectly belongs to one or several entrepreneurs, Putin's official spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Indeed, this is a large object, and it is well known in Gelendzhik. One or several individuals directly or indirectly own this object. But you must agree that, probably, the Kremlin has no right to disclose the names of those owners. We are not going to do this as it would be incorrect," Peskov said.

A journalist noted that the FBK investigation does not even say that the palace belongs to Putin directly. In addition, it is only few individuals, who may own such large property. However, the existence of the no-fly zone above the palace and the presence of FSB or FSO security in the area generates associations with the top leadership of the country.

Peskov could not give an explanation about the existence of either the no-fly zone or security protection. He recommended journalists should ask such questions to special services. According to Peskov, President Putin gave a clearly negative answer to the question of whether he was the owner of the palace.

On January 25, Russian President Putin held a video meeting with students. Danil Chemezov, a student at the Ufa State Oil Technical University, asked Putin if it was true that he owned the palace near Gelendzhik. The head of state said that he had not watched FBK's documentary in its entirety, but he did look through video compilations on the topic. He then said that he considered Navalny's latest documentary a compilation of information collected over the recent ten years or so, the goal of which was to "brainwash our citizens."

"Nothing that is stated there as my property belongs either to me or to any of my close relatives, and it never did. Never," Putin said.

He confirmed that the FBK documentary mentioned his friends, former colleagues, "some distant relatives, acquaintances," but also people whom he did not know. The student was satisfied with the answer and called it "complete and logical."

Alexey Navalny's associate Leonid Volkov, earlier explained in his Telegram channel that the essence of the FBK investigation was not about the fact of whether it was Putin's palace or not.

"The point and the news is that

  1. we showed the entire money laundering scheme to finance and maintain the palace through state corporations;
  2. we showed what was inside, and through those interiors we could show the insides of Putin's skull - - a pathetic little man who has neither fantasy nor taste."

The "Putin's palace" documentary has gained more than 91 million views in only one week.

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