The Russian opposition leader Navalny accuses President Putin of having built a billion-dollar palace with embezzled money. He does so in an almost two-hour video on YouTube, made by his so-called Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) and published now that he is in prison. It‘s about a huge complex called Praskoveevka on the Black Sea,
In response to the publication, the Kremlin denies the accusations against Putin. “Years ago, we explained that Putin has no palaces,” says the President’s spokesman against news site ZNAK.
In the past, Russian media has often been published on the Black Sea building, confirming CCIT-correspondent David Jan Godfroid. “The images are new, as well as Navalny‘s organization’s claim that all this is funded through corruption, and effectively owned by Putin.”
In the video and the accompanying article, FBK claims that the construction of the disputed estate cost 100 billion rubles (about 1.12 billion euros). “This is not a villa or a dwelling, but a whole city or even a kingdom,” says the opposition leader:
Navalny‘s FBK has regularly published large-scale investigations into corruption in the past. The latest video has been viewed about 2.5 million times in five hours.
The publication comes at a sensitive moment, explains Godfroid. “For Saturday, demonstrations in support of Navalny are planned in several places in the country. This will undoubtedly play a part in this.”
Arrested on return
The 44-year-old critic returned from Germany on Saturday and was arrested on arrival at the airport in Moscow. He was told yesterday that he will be stuck until February 15. According to the prosecution, Navalny violated the terms of a parole sentence and therefore he has to go to jail for three and a half years.
The opposition leader says it’s a sham trial. He was poisoned with the nerve gas novistjok in August last year, determined German doctors after hospitalization in Berlin. According to Bellingcat research collective, the Russian secret service FSB is behind the attack. The Kremlin certainly denies that.