“Putin’s Palace” Near Black Sea Refashioned Into A Church: Report

A mansion on the Black Sea coast, often linked to Russian president Vladimir Putin, has been refashioned to include a church equipped with a throne, according to a report by Russian investigative outlet Proekt. It published the videos of “Putin’s palace”, which were recently renovated. The existence of the mansion was first revealed in 2021 by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who had said that it has a wine cellar, a casino and an ice rink. Russia has not official reacted to the Proekt report.

The palace is sealed off from rest of the Russia by 17,000 acres of forest and a special no-fly zone.

“Many viewers of Navalny’s video remembered the entertainment areas – with a pole, a casino, as well as a room with toy cars and a railway,” Proekt said in its report, adding that none of these areas exist anymore.

It also said that renovations suggest Putin “seems to be obsessed with war and religion”.

The photos show a home church featuring a triptych and a wooden throne. The walls of the room are decorated with crosses, and the triptych appears to depict a “Saint Prince Vladimir”, two art historians and one icon painter said, Proekt further said.

The outlet made a particular mention of a chandelier, which it said has been made using red crystals from the French manufacturer Baccarat and costs $1 million.

In his 2021 video, Mr Navalny had claimed that the property costs $1.3 billion and alleged it was paid for via an elaborate corruption scheme in which Putin gave top jobs and lucrative government projects to his allies at partially state-owned energy giants.

Thousands of Russians had come out on the streets in 2021 when Mr Navalny published the expose on Mr Putin’s Black Sea complex.

But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had dismissed the claims in the report at the time, calling it “pure nonsense”.

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