Just the day after the main political adversary of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalni, was sentenced to 30 days in preventive detention, his collaborators released this Tuesday through YouTube a new investigation of the Fund to Fight Corruption (FBK) that implies this once to President Vladimir Putin. In a film that lasts about two hours, evidence and testimonies are presented that suggest that the immense and luxurious palace that stands in the vicinity of the Guelendzhik spa, on the shores of the Black Sea, belongs to Putin and the price of the works is he estimates that it was almost 100 billion rubles (about 1.12 billion euros).
The video was made before Navalni returned to Moscow on Sunday from Berlin, when he was arrested just after passing passport control. The estate that houses the palace covers an area of 7,000 hectares and includes vineyards and even an indoor ice rink for hockey. This is not the first time that such a mansion has been discussed, the use of which is reserved for the Russian Prime Minister, as different publications have been reporting in recent years.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov has denied that the spectacular palace construction next to Guelendzhik is owned by Putin. Peskov has also stated that it is “nonsense” that the Russian president is afraid of the opposition leader and warned that “Russia will not take into account the calls of the West for his release.” According to the presidential spokesman, the judicial persecution suffered by Navalni “is a completely internal matter of Russia.”
Peskov also warned that the calls for protests demanding that the opposition leader be released are “illegal” and will not be allowed to take place. Since Sunday, when Navalni was arrested, there have been specific mobilizations in different Russian cities, especially in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the pickets intensified on Monday when the sentence of 30 days of arrest was announced and a large demonstration was called in the Russian capital for January 23.
On the other hand, Navalni will be tried this Wednesday for having allegedly defamed a veteran of World War II who campaigned in favor of the constitutional reform that Putin completed last summer and that opens the door, if he so decides, to continue two more terms at the helm of Russia. His lawyers, however, underline the difficulty of holding the hearing, since Navalni apparently arrived in Russia without the rigorous PCR test and is currently in quarantine in the dungeons of the Moscow prison of “Matrosskaya Tishiná”.