Vladimir Putin

Tsar of All the Russias
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Widely reported as being the wealthiest man in Russia, and possibly the richest man in the world, former KGB agent Putin's ill-gotten gains are nothing to sniff at.

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Quoting a report in the Guardian,

"... Putin may be the richest "slave" in the world, reaping official perks as the powerful leader of a country with a long history of enriching its omnipotent tsars.

Watches in white gold, yachts decked out in the plushest of drapery and at least one flying toilet worth $75,000 (£47,000) are among the presidential perks detailed by Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister turned Putin critic, and his co-author Leonid Martynyuk, a member of the opposition Solidarity movement..."

Putin's friendships with other dictators are well documented. He is a vocal supporter of Assad in Syria to whom he continued to supply arms during the civil war, and supplied nuclear specialsts and equipment to Iran.

Russia's progress under his rule is palpable, but democracy is now very fragile. It is common for Putin's opponents to be arrested and tortured, jailed after a mock trial and sent to a gulag. The victims's chances of survival are poor. There have been many cases of his opponents being murdered. The culprits are rarely caught.

Human rights groups are persecuted, as are lawyers.

A report in The Economist states:
"...The president has 20 residences, from the Constantine Palace outside St Petersburg, a Tsarist-era estate restored in 2003 for tens of million of dollars, to the Dolgiye Borodi residence on Lake Valdai in northwest Russia. In 2009 Mr Putin is widely believed to have hosted Bjorn Again (a band that plays songs by the Swedish group Abba) for a personal concert there. His fleet of planes includes a Russian-made Ilyushin with a $75,000 toilet and ornamentation crafted by artisans from the monastery town of Sergiyev Posad. Systematic surveys of the presidential wrist reveal a watch collection worth more than $680,000, the authors reckon. Of the four yachts in Mr Putin’s collection, the authors allege, one was a gift from Russian businessmen. All of this adds up, the report’s authors say, to a lifestyle worthy of a “Persian Gulf monarch or a flamboyant oligarch.”..."

The New York Times writes:
"The president also has at his disposal 15 helicopters, 4 spacious yachts and 43 aircraft, including the main presidential jet, an Ilyushin whose interior is furnished with gold inlay by artisans from the city of Sergiyev Posad, an Airbus and a Dassault Falcon. The 43 aircraft alone are worth an estimated $1 billion, the report says."

Al Jazeera writes, in its introduction to a TV segment investigating the claims of Putin's riches:
" Is Putin the modest 'man of the people' as his supporters declare - a leader who eschews wealth and privilege, as honest as the day is long? Or is he the owner of a vast but secret fortune and at the centre of a web of intrigue and financial wheeler-dealing as his critics allege?"

Wikipedia article on Putin's history states:

"Personal wealth and residences
Figures released during the legislative election of 2007 put Putin's wealth at approximately 3.7 million rubles ($150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, 260 shares of Bank Saint Petersburg (with a December 2007 market price $5.36 per share[329]) and two 1960s-era Volga M21 cars that he inherited from his father and does not register for on-road use. In 2012 Putin reported an income of 3.6 million rubles ($113,000). This has led opponents, such as politician Boris Nemtsov, to question how Putin can afford certain possessions, such as his 11 luxury watches worth an estimated $700,000.[330]

An Italianate palace on Russia's southern Black Sea coast allegedly built for Vladimir Putin's personal use.[331]
Putin's 2006 income totalled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000).[332] According to the data Putin did not make it into the 100 wealthiest Duma candidates of his own United Russia party.[333]
Unconfirmed claims by some Russian opposition politicians and journalists allege that Putin secretly possesses a large fortune (as much as $40 billion) via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies.[334][335] Asked at a press conference on 14 February 2008 whether he was the richest person in Europe, as some newspapers claimed; and if so, to state the source of his wealth, Putin said "This is plain chatter, not worthy discussion, plain bosh. They have picked this in their noses and have smeared this across their pieces of paper. This is how I view this."[336]
As President and then Prime-Minister, apart from the Moscow Kremlin and the White House, Putin has used numerous official residences throughout the country. In August 2012 Nemtsov listed 20 villas and palaces, 9 of which were built during Putin's 12 years in power. This compares to the President of the United States' 2 official residences.[337] Some of the residences include: Gorki-9 near Moscow, Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Dolgiye Borody in Novgorod Oblast, Novo-Ogaryovo in Moscow Oblast and Riviera in Sochi (the latter two were left for Putin when he was Prime-Minister in 2008-2012, others were used by Dmitry Medvedev at that period).[338] Furthermore, a massive Italianate-style mansion costing an alleged USD 1 billion[331] and dubbed "Putin's Palace" is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka. The mansion, built on government land and sporting 3 helipads, a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service, is said to have been built for Putin's private use. In 2012 Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin's, told the BBC's Newsnight programme, that he had been ordered by deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, to oversee the building of it.[339]"


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