Russian President Vladmir Putin once famously compared his life in office to that of a “galley slave”. A recent report however, paints a very different picture, claiming that he lives in opulence enjoying the finest luxuries, not least of which is a R625 000 toilet!
On Tuesday, a 32-page document was released which lists the numerous luxuries at the president’s disposal and denounces his lavish lifestyle. Ironically titled “The Life of a Galley Slave”, it goes into quite some detail showcasing the presidential assets. At his disposal, Putin has:
20 palaces and villas, all lavishly made-up and worthy of even the most snobbish of stars
43 fixed-wing aircraft, one with an $11 million cabin fitted-out by jewelers
4 luxury yachts, including a 53,7m yacht, with all the trimmings
11 luxury watches, alone worth several times more than his annual salary
The damning document was compiled by reformist former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and Solidarity movement activist Leonid Martynyuk, who had become fed-up with the blatant contrast between Putin and his people.
One of the most serious reasons prompting V. Putin to hold on to power is the atmosphere of wealth and luxury to which he has become accustomed.
In a country where more than 20 million people barely make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a blatant and cynical challenge to society. We absolutely cannot put up with this.
According to the document, Putin has lavish properties spread across Russia at his disposal, as well as access to all of the above mentioned luxuries. The text did not address Putin’s personal wealth though, but rather challenged his consistent, self-portrayal as a “humble servant” of the people.
The allegations have done little to deter support and Putin remains popular amongst the people, which critics claim is largely due to state-controlled media. Others see it differently, saying that it’s nothing new in a long line of lavish statesmen.
“It’s obviously too much, way beyond what is needed to do the job. But of course that is no surprise to me. I’ve lived here for 70 years. It’s always been like that, ” said Moscow pensioner Yelena Nikitichna
The youth share a similar perspective,
Russian authorities and leaders have always been famous for their rather luxurious ways. This is a historical pattern and he is not the first to live a fairly luxurious life.
“Personally, I don’t care. For me, how well he does his job is most important,” said Yelena Malmova, a first-year university student in the capital.
There has been little official reaction to the report, but Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov did comment to a local newspaper that:
It’s all state property and Putin, as the country’s elected president, legally uses it.
[Source: LA Times, Daily Mail]
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