putin palace :Russian natural activist Dmitry Shevchenko has offered DW intricate points of interest about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reputed palace by the Black Sea. Shevchenko has checked the site for quite a long time.
A YouTube video transferred by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) professing to uncover details about Russian President Vladimir Putin palace secret extravagance estate has gathered 40 million views in just two days. As indicated by the video — A Palace for Putin: The Story of the Biggest Bribe — the structure has 18,000 square meters (195,000 square feet) of living space and cost 100 billion rubles (€1.12 billion/$1.4 billion) to assemble.
FBK reports that state-possessed companies Rosneft and Transneft — respectively run by Putin palace allies Igor Sechin and Nikolay Tokarev — financed the vast construction project.
Rumors of a presidential palace first surfaced in 2010, when the Russian businessman Sergei Kolesnikov released monetary documents, contracts and different papers identified with the land project. Kolesnikov said the endeavor was controlled by businessman Nikolai Shamalov, following up for Putin’s benefit. The disclosure sparked considerable media interest at that point. After several months, Shamalov sold the property to businessman Alexander Ponomarenko, who said he needed to change over it into an inn.
Ecological activists have checked the site for quite a long time, with some figuring out how to enter and take pictures of the manor. Dmitry Shevchenko, who heads Russia’s Civic Initiative Against Environmental Crime (CIAEC), a non-benefit, is one of them.
The president is known to appreciate playing ice hockey, and his massive new palace is said to have an underground arena
DW: Mr. Shevchenko, did you gain anything new from Navalny’s investigative video?
Dmitry Shevchenko: Yes — I was not mindful they had fabricated an underground ice arena. Aside from that, the investigation didn’t uncover numerous new insights. In any case, it was a first endeavor to systematically group all data surrounding this construction project. The colleagues deserve praise for shining a light on covering cash trails and shell companies.
You visited the construction site in 2011. Educate us regarding your experience.
We have been checking the venture since 2004 or 2005, when plans to work at Cape Idokopas became public. We were furious because there are pristine Pitsunda pine forests in
this region, which are ensured in Russia. It was clear the forest would be chopped down. At the point when Kolesnikov’s 2010 hole showed that the building under construction would not turn into a youngsters’ home however a residence for Russian President Putin, we started investigating further.
For what reason did you take off to the construction site?
In 2011, my associate Suren Gazaryan and myself, alongside activist Ekaterina Solovyova and journalist Rimma Achmirova of Russian newspaper Sobesednik, set out to discover more with regards to the site. I must add that the site was not all around secured during the construction phase. We headed not too far off driving out of Praskoveevka and passed the designated spot. We didn’t need to stow away, the entryway was open. So we set out toward the primary structure, almost to the huge passage enhanced with a multiplied headed bird, which is shown in Alexei Navalny’s film.
At first, no one gave any consideration to us. Construction workers were strolling near yet didn’t ask us any questions. Yet, when Federal Protective Service (FSO) agents spotted us, there was a major upheaval. They made us stop shooting. Fortunately, I had stowed away one memory card brimming with pictures in my boot. They are the lone pictures of the site in existence today that were not taken by construction workers.
They didn’t have the foggiest idea how to manage us. Two FSO agents, who unmistakably distinguished themselves as employees of the office, came running toward us. They called the police and for reasons unknown also line agents. An enormous number of private security contractors also showed up. They audaciously seized our private possessions as police looked on. They searched our vehicle and afterward took the entirety of our things over to the palace, that dark structure.
Putin palace also enjoys drifting and owns several yachts. One, the Graceful, is seen here in Sochi in 2015
What did you see at the site?
We saw the whole focal structure complex including the fundamental access to the palace; we strolled around it and to the side that faces the sea. I saw then that the forest had been chopped somewhere around the principle entrance, with a slick park in its place. The seaside forest had been left immaculate. The thought is that you can’t see the fundamental structure from the water. Afterwards, I headed up into a room that is alluded to as an “Water Disco” in Navalny’s film. It’s comprised of a sort of wellspring, associated with a pool. We also looked into the yard. The door was locked, yet we could see inside.
Did you know for whom this residence was being fabricated when you went there?
We knew precisely where we were. Yet, we were still surprised that FSO agents moved toward us. Authoritatively, the palace is private property. We asked what FSO agents were doing there however found no solution.
We were also surprised by the quantity of unfamiliar construction managers on location. At the point when we were defied by FSO agents, one man came over, disclosing to us we had trespassed and were prohibited from shooting. He spoke Russian with an Italian inflection. Then, at that point the private security contractors started taking our possessions. The entire activity was controlled by a man from the Balkans, as we later educated.
What happened afterwards? Were there any consequences?
Individuals at the site were loose and had not relied upon to see visitors. They had no clue about how to manage us. In any case, they chose to seize our camera film, simply by taking every one of our possessions. Then, at that point police took us to the Divnomorskoye station. There, we gave composed testimony that our possessions had been stolen. The following morning a cop from the town called and said our possessions and documents had been found in the forest. Of course they didn’t return our memory cards. The whole undertaking was concealed.
Yet, it had consequences for us. Afterward, when Suren Gazaryan headed to the spot and had a go at taking a gander at the sea shore section, he ran into issue with security guards. He confronted a preliminary that drove him away from the country at that point.
Did you get back to the area after 2011?
We didn’t enter the site. In any case, we observed what was occurring close by. A whole sea shore section has been closed off to general society, which has sparked outrage. I have seen line guards run individuals off the sea shore. They needed to eliminate their tents and show their passports. Their personal information was reported. I later gained from media reports that Putin’s yacht, Olympia, had been found just off the coast. Obviously, he was traveling nearby at that point.