Seven months ago, a Russian businessman came forward with what he said was evidence that Russia’s Prime Minister Vladamir Putin was, at great expense, building himself a luxurious palace off the shores of the Black Sea, a charge the Russian leader has denied.
Last week, a handful of environmentalists and political opposition party members made their way to the site of Putin’s alleged fairytale home to check out the mysterious place and assess its environmental impact.
In January, the FRANCE 24 Observer’s website published an article
on the controversy triggered by photos published on the internet of Putin’s seaside palace near the southern town Paraskoveevka, on the Black Sea. The site also published comments made by Sergei Kolesnikov, a Russian businessman who had been involved in the building’s construction, and who maintained that the prime minister was its true owner. Although officially classified as a centre to be used for medical care, Kolesnikov
was able to use a paper trail detailing the building’s financing to link it to Putin.
In the wake of these revelations, Putin’s spokesperson denied any connection between the prime minister and the property. In March, the palace and its surrounding land were bought by the Russian millionaire, Alexander Ponomarenko. According to Kilesnikov, the building’s sale was nothing more than a smoke screen to conceal the property’s true owner, Vladimir Putin.
A few months later, after realising that construction on the controversial seaside estate was still going on, a group of environmentalists from the Russian organisation Ekovakhta and members of the Yabloko and Solidarnost political opposition parties decided to launch a “public inspection” of the area. On June 26, about a dozen or so ecologists and activists trespassed onto the immense coastal property, ignoring the fence erected around the site.
Activists trespass on palace property and even go for a dip in the Black Sea. Video published on You Tube by EnWNC on June 28.
After managing to sneak by a group of men claiming to be guards (see the video below), a number of the activists entered the property and took a dip on the palace’s private beach. The police were soon called to escort the intruders from the property.
The day before, another group of environmentalists were arrested and their ringleader jailed for five days, after performing a similar “public inspection” of the alleged private residence of the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church. The property is also located in the same area as Putin’s estate (like Putin, the Russian Orthodox Church has denied that their head is the owner of this property).