Leaked photographs have confirmed that a $1 billion luxury palace on the Black Sea which was allegedly built for President Putin has a pole-dancing room, an ornate theatre and a wine cellar.
The Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) led by imprisoned Russian politician/activist Alexei Navalny has released hundreds of photos purportedly from inside Putin’s opulent secret palace near Gelendzhik on the Black Sea. Above and below, photos said to be of the strip club, theater, and a bathroom.
At the time, the Kremlin and state media claimed the images were “cartoons” and fakes. But the cache of about 500 photographs now revealed from “Putin’s Palace” shows the mock-ups were accurate in their depiction of lavish fittings.
The photo leak is a follow-up to an explosive video investigation published exactly one year ago by the group, which went into great detail on the palace layout. It also showed computer renderings speculating on what the interior of the building looked like based on the leaked blueprints and furniture catalogues.
The video – presented by Navalny himself before he was once again jailed – has been viewed more than 121 million times. His team now claims (published on YouTube with English subtitles) it has obtained leaked photos from inside the palace, which appears to be under construction or undergoing renovations, showing a theatre, many bedrooms, an unfinished swimming pool, and an Arabian-style hookah lounge complete with a pole-dancing stage.
When last year’s video investigation was published, Russian state TV dismissed the 2021 investigation as fabricated and supported by foreign governments, while Russian billionaire and Putin ally Arkady Rotenberg claimed the palace was actually a hotel complex he was building.
The Kremlin banned the Anti-Corruption Foundation and his network of regional offices last year, and last week designated two of his aides as terrorists.
The publication of the pictures comes ahead of what Western leaders believe is an imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
More than 100,000 Russian troops supported by tanks and heavy artillery have been deployed on the borders of the two countries.
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