Look to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and then the conditions that Russian soldiers overcame to take down the Nazis in World War II, and you’ll find a people that when enraged are a force to be reckoned with.
So, it makes sense that Vladimir Putin has brought in backup, after mass protests erupted across the country, spurred on in part by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s arrest, and then by an investigation into what his team claimed was Putin’s lavish Black Sea palace.
Putin claimed that the property doesn’t belong to him, “or my close relatives, and never did”.
Instead, it now supposedly belongs to his childhood friend and judo buddy, Arkady Rotenberg, who claimed it as his own on Saturday, reports The Guardian.
Last year, Rotenberg (below with his bestie) was in the news after leaked documents suggested that he used Barclays Bank in London to launder money and dodge sanctions.
Financial restrictions, or sanctions, were imposed on Rotenberg by the US and the EU in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea in Ukraine.
The Russian state has awarded Rotenberg’s companies multiple contracts over the years to build roads, a gas pipeline, and a power station, among others.
So, there’s no nepotism there and he definitely didn’t owe Putin any favours, like perhaps claiming to own a palace that actually belongs to the president.
I’m just speculating here.
Actually figuring out what that government and its leaders are up to is tougher than not “falling” out of a window if you’re a doctor with opinions in a Russian hospital.
Rotenberg says he sold his stake in the gas pipeline construction firm Stroygazmontazh in 2019 for an estimated sum of 75 billion roubles (£720 million), following which he bought the palace.
“Now it will no longer be a secret, I am the beneficiary,” Rotenberg said in a video published by Mash channel in Telegram. “There was a rather complicated facility, there were a lot of creditors, and I managed to become the beneficiary.”
Meanwhile, protests continue, with thousands taking to the streets yesterday in the biggest series of demonstrations seen since the Soviet Union was still a thing.
Thousands of people have been arrested to date, but the movement shows no signs of slowing down.
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