An investigation by the Alexei Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) has revealed new details about another of Vladimir Putin’s supposed luxurious residences, with stables, a golf course and a large spa complex that includes a cryogenic chamber.
Using satellite and drone imagery, company records, photographs and other data, researchers have released floor plans and some of the first photographs of an expanded residence near Valdai, which they said was the president’s favorite and most secret. Russian.
They claimed that the residence was rented in part to one of Putin’s closest allies in taxpayer money. While some of the lakeside property is state-owned and designated for official use, a more luxurious section with a mansion has been privately developed into what has been described as a playground for the conscientious head of state. Of the health.
In particular, the research is focused on a 7,000-square-meter (75,000-square-foot) spa complex whose floor plans show a floating pool, massage rooms, a swimming pool, and other amenities, such as a cryotherapy chamber for extreme cold treatments. , which are rented. from a company allegedly owned by one of Putin’s close friends.
The company’s statements showed that the owner of the complex has earned more than 2.7 billion rubles (£ 25.8 million) in the last decade.
The investigation came as Navalny is on a hunger strike in a Russian prison and the government is pressuring his supporters not to continue protests against his two-and-a-half-year sentence on embezzlement charges.
Emails from more than 500,000 Navalny supporters, many of whom had signed up online to attend further protests against the Kremlin, were leaked to journalists this week by an anonymous group. who called Navalny’s team “losers” and claimed that the database was heavily populated with bots.
Navalny’s team confirmed that the leaked database was real, but did not say whether any of the emails were executed by automated accounts. He apologized to those on the list, saying the leak only contained emails and no other personal information. The leak came as Navalny’s team is closing in on collecting 500,000 signatures online to launch new protests calling for the opposition leader’s release.
“[The database] it is real unlike the fakes that were released before, ”wrote Ivan Zhdanov, the group’s director. “It is happening now, when the campaign needs only 70,000 more signatures and each confirmation to attend the protests is much more difficult to collect.”
In a message posted online Friday, Navalny said he was being threatened to be force-fed with a straitjacket unless he ended a hunger strike protesting his treatment in a Russian prison. He has asked to see his doctor for alleged numbness in his back and legs, which he says may be related to the attempted poisoning in his life that took place last year.
His wife earlier this week said he looked emaciated during his meeting with her and that he had lost approximately 16 kg since arriving at a prison colony about 60 miles east of Moscow last month.
“He is still as cheerful and optimistic as ever,” Yulia Navalnaya wrote in an online post on Wednesday. “However, he speaks with difficulty and from time to time he hangs up the phone and leans on the table to take a break. He has lost a lot of weight … and weighs 76 kg ”.
Some of the anger at the Kremlin has been sparked by a previous investigation into a Black Sea cottage that was said to cost nearly £ 1 billion and had been set up for the president’s special use, though recent photographs suggest that it was no longer available. use. That residence included ornaments such as an “aqua-disco” and a wine cave carved out of a cliff overlooking the Black Sea.
The investigation into that residence, which has been called Putin’s Palace, came after Navalny’s arrest upon returning to Russia in January and showed that the opposition leader remained a danger to the Kremlin even while behind bars.
The authors of the new investigation concluded it with a call for their freedom. Putin illegally imprisoned Navalny for telling the truth about his corruption, lies and duplicity. We will continue to tell this truth. “