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New Putin pamphlet
Oppositionist Boris Nemtsov says Putin lives like a a 'Persian Gulf monarch'
Anna Arutunyan - Moscow News - themoscownews.com - 8.27.12 - JRL 2012-155

Twenty villas and residences, four yachts, and shadowy rumors of a Black Sea palace that could make Louis XIV weep ­ all at President Vladimir Putin's disposal, according to the latest pamphlet by oppositionist Boris Nemtsov.

Vladimir Putin file photo
file photo
"With a lifestyle like that, it could be compared to that of a Persian Gulf monarch," reads an excerpt from the photo-studded pamphlet, quoted by Kommersant. Titled "The Life of a Galley Slave" [http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/
2012/120827_Russia_Pamphlet.pdf
] ­ in a nod to Putin's own quip about himself in 2008 ­ the report was due to be released on Tuesday,

Nemtsov and his co-authors argue that luxury and opulence are what drive Putin to retain a hold on power despite plummeting popularity ratings. But experts say that in Russia, the riches of the powerful are taken in their stride.

"It's not that most Russians don't know about this," Boris Dugin, head of the sociopolitical research department at the Levada polling center, told The Moscow News. "About a third of respondents believe these are simply the attributes of power, about 30-40 percent are against it, but because there is no alternative, they resign themselves to this, although inside they may disapprove."

Boris Nemtsov file photo
file photo
According to Nemtsov and his co-author, Leonid Martynyuk, Putin has "20 palaces, villas and residences" ­ nine of which were built during his rule. In comparison, they write, heads of state of Germany and the United States have just two residences each. Putin, meanwhile, has a billion-dollar air fleet of 43 airplanes and 15 helicopters at his disposal. His four yachts are worth a total of 3 billion rubles, according to the pamphlet.

As for his famed collection of watches, there are 11 ­ and they are worth a total of 22 million rubles, about $710,000.

"The Life of a Galley Slave" is Nemtsov's ninth report about Putin, with previous brochures detailing corruption and cronyism. The reports led to a flurry of lawsuits against Nemstov, most notably a libel suit filed by Gunvor co-owner Gennady Timchenko, alleged in the report to have close ties to Putin.

Nemtsov could not be reached for comment on Monday, but Solidarity spokeswoman Olga Shorina, who was involved in producing the latest pamphlet, told Kommersant that printing houses had initially refused to publish it. Meanwhile, a new law criminalizing libel has made the authors take extra care to source each photograph and piece of text.

Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told Kommersant he would read the report when he had the chance, but added that the information in it was likely not new.

"Information on the residence and transportation of the president is absolutely open, and there is no secret there," he was quoted as saying. "It is all state property, and Putin, as the elected president, uses it in accordance with the law. Moreover, he is forced to use many of these things."

Nemtsov's pamphlet was aimed to coincide with the start of an auto rally between Moscow and Krasnoyarsk on Monday to raise support for a mass opposition protest Sept. 15. But it was unclear how the pamphlet, which has a circulation of 5,000 copies and will mostly be distributed over the Internet, could reach the population at large. Opinion polls show a resigned ambivalence to displays of wealth by those in power, Levada's Dugin said.

Keywords: Russia, Government, Politics - Russian News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

 

Twenty villas and residences, four yachts, and shadowy rumors of a Black Sea palace that could make Louis XIV weep ­ all at President Vladimir Putin's disposal, according to the latest pamphlet by oppositionist Boris Nemtsov.

Vladimir Putin file photo
file photo
"With a lifestyle like that, it could be compared to that of a Persian Gulf monarch," reads an excerpt from the photo-studded pamphlet, quoted by Kommersant. Titled "The Life of a Galley Slave" [http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/
2012/120827_Russia_Pamphlet.pdf
] ­ in a nod to Putin's own quip about himself in 2008 ­ the report was due to be released on Tuesday,

Nemtsov and his co-authors argue that luxury and opulence are what drive Putin to retain a hold on power despite plummeting popularity ratings. But experts say that in Russia, the riches of the powerful are taken in their stride.

"It's not that most Russians don't know about this," Boris Dugin, head of the sociopolitical research department at the Levada polling center, told The Moscow News. "About a third of respondents believe these are simply the attributes of power, about 30-40 percent are against it, but because there is no alternative, they resign themselves to this, although inside they may disapprove."

Boris Nemtsov file photo
file photo
According to Nemtsov and his co-author, Leonid Martynyuk, Putin has "20 palaces, villas and residences" ­ nine of which were built during his rule. In comparison, they write, heads of state of Germany and the United States have just two residences each. Putin, meanwhile, has a billion-dollar air fleet of 43 airplanes and 15 helicopters at his disposal. His four yachts are worth a total of 3 billion rubles, according to the pamphlet.

As for his famed collection of watches, there are 11 ­ and they are worth a total of 22 million rubles, about $710,000.

"The Life of a Galley Slave" is Nemtsov's ninth report about Putin, with previous brochures detailing corruption and cronyism. The reports led to a flurry of lawsuits against Nemstov, most notably a libel suit filed by Gunvor co-owner Gennady Timchenko, alleged in the report to have close ties to Putin.

Nemtsov could not be reached for comment on Monday, but Solidarity spokeswoman Olga Shorina, who was involved in producing the latest pamphlet, told Kommersant that printing houses had initially refused to publish it. Meanwhile, a new law criminalizing libel has made the authors take extra care to source each photograph and piece of text.

Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told Kommersant he would read the report when he had the chance, but added that the information in it was likely not new.

"Information on the residence and transportation of the president is absolutely open, and there is no secret there," he was quoted as saying. "It is all state property, and Putin, as the elected president, uses it in accordance with the law. Moreover, he is forced to use many of these things."

Nemtsov's pamphlet was aimed to coincide with the start of an auto rally between Moscow and Krasnoyarsk on Monday to raise support for a mass opposition protest Sept. 15. But it was unclear how the pamphlet, which has a circulation of 5,000 copies and will mostly be distributed over the Internet, could reach the population at large. Opinion polls show a resigned ambivalence to displays of wealth by those in power, Levada's Dugin said.


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