Commentary

With Nothing Left to Lose, Imprisoned Russian Activist's Group Shows the World What Putin Does in His Free Time

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The tough, unwavering image of Vladimir Putin was eviscerated after imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corrupt Foundation unleashed some insight into how the notorious Russian president allegedly spends his free time.

The release includes floor plans for Putin’s luxury dacha (in other words, a Russian vacation retreat). And just wait until you hear what’s inside.

The vacation home’s floorplans detail the elaborate nature of the luxury complex, telling of the Russian president’s hidden pampered side.

Meduza reports that Putin’s “most secret” official residence, sits on approximately 618 acres of land, 370 of which are government-owned.

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The remainder supposedly belongs to Praym LLC, a company that Navalny’s group claims is owned by one of Putin’s oldest friends Yuri Kovalchuk.

Meduza also reports on the property’s extravagant nature, saying that “there are about 80 buildings on the land leased from Praym.”

“Among them are a four-story, 3,500-square-meter (nearly 37,675-square-foot) mansion, a Chinese-style pavilion, a Russian-style izba (wooden cabin), baths, saunas, a stable, a golf course, a playground complete with slides and a VIP-restaurant that includes a cinema, bowling, billiards, and a small casino,” the site adds.

Navalny’s group claims that the most elaborate of these residences is favorite to Vladimir Putin.

Do these allegations make you see Putin in a different light?

Floor plans for this Valdai residence detail a “solarium, a float pool, cryo chambers, massage baths, a dentist’s office, a cosmetology office, separate rooms for mud therapy and compression therapy, a 25-meter (82-foot) swimming pool, and a [separate] massage block” on one floor.

On another, “there’s a bedroom, a 200-square-meter (2,150-square-foot) foyer, a 500-square-meter (5,380-square-foot) living room, a service room, a special food elevator, and a dedicated space for an aquarium that takes up 13 square meters (140 square feet).

The basement houses staff rooms and technical rooms, including maintenance rooms for the salt bath and mud therapy, and rooms for special communications.”

Putin denies that he has ties to any of the residences, but, if these allegations are actually true, this also poses the question of how the leader of a country as poor as Russia can live so lavishly.

This allegation paints the tough and stoic Russian leader as a spoiled, pampered and clandestine individual.

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Could this potentially damage the Russian leader’s image both at home and abroad? Maybe, but likely not in a significant way.

The revelation comes alongside news that Alexei Navalny’s health has rapidly deteriorated in prison after announcing he was going on a hunger strike to protest his lack of proper medical care for “acute back and leg pain,” according to Radio Free Europe.

Navalny’s media secretary Kira Yarmysh announced that he “only has a couple of days after an 18 day hunger strike,” according to a tweet from Hermitage Capital CEO Bill Browder.

Doctors demanding access to the notorious critic expressed that he is at risk of renal failure or cardiac arrest at any moment in a letter addressed to Russia’s Federal Prison Service officials.

The doctors also revealed that blood tests indicated the critic’s potassium levels had reached a critical level.

Apparently, Navalny’s group made its revelation knowing their leader has nothing left to lose.

If Navalny is indeed in his final days, this could be his last jab at Putin and could potentially expose a side of the Russian president that was intended to remain unseen.

Then again, Navalny has already expressed his own distrust in his country’s leader — and its government.

Perhaps he wants others to share in his distrust.

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Taylor Penley is a government relations intern and student studying English, rhetoric and global studies. She plans to graduate in May 2021 and begin a master of arts program in political science this fall.
Taylor Penley is a government relations intern and student studying English, rhetoric and global studies. She plans to graduate in May 2021 and begin a master of arts program in political science this fall.




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