News / Europe

Opponent Claims Putin Acquired Millions in State Assets

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, July 28, 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, July 28, 2012.
MOSCOW — A Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, said Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the power he wields at the Kremlin to acquire for his personal use palaces, yachts, planes and other property that really belongs to the state.

Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov attends a news conference to present the report "The Life of a Galley Slave" in Moscow, August 28, 2012.Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov attends a news conference to present the report "The Life of a Galley Slave" in Moscow, August 28, 2012.
x
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov attends a news conference to present the report "The Life of a Galley Slave" in Moscow, August 28, 2012.
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov attends a news conference to present the report "The Life of a Galley Slave" in Moscow, August 28, 2012.
Nemtsov and co-author Leonid Martynyuk have released a study listing what they describe as the trappings of royalty that are available to Putin. They said he has a $75,000 toilet on board the presidential airplane, and a collection of expensive watches worth about $700,000.

The president lists his annual income at about $115,000, and he has said the task of leading Russia keeps him toiling "like a galley slave" from morning 'till night.

Nemtsov said he studied photographs and other information in producting their pamphlet, titled "The Life of a Galley Slave."

He said Putin has 43 airplanes, 15 helicopters, 20 villas, palaces and residences, four yachts - including the one presented to him by billionaire Roman Abramovich - and a collection of watches. All told, he estimated Putin's holdings are worth $22 million.

Nemtsov said, "If Vladimir Putin's press secretary believes that is normal in a poor country, where during the years of Putin's rule the number of schools went down by 20,000, and there are 700,000 fewer teachers, where the number of hospitals diminished by two times and clinics by 30 percent, then we have different notions of good and evil."

Masha Lipman, an analyst with the Carnegie Center in Moscow, said Nemtsov's report was based on information from foreign media, so it is hard to determine whether all the facts are true.

"Putin. if anything, is not careless. Putin is risk averse. Putin hedges his risks - political and otherwise - maybe better than most," said Lipman. "Even if it is true and he’s got assets that are unlawfully gained, I don’t think there’s a chance anyone would know about it or make it public. It’s hardly possible to trace ownership of these assets to Putin.

Opposition leader Nemtsov disagreed. He said the president has been mixing his property together with the state's for a long time, and "thinks it all belongs to him." Nemtsov said Putin "is swimming in luxury" and that is why he does not want to give up his control over the Kremlin.
 
A Russian named Sergei - who doesn't want to give his last name to a reporter - said he does not find it strange that Putin apparently has loads of money, yachts and jewelry.

"Sure, he's rich, Sergei said. "But he writes, he works. It’s not strange. All presidents are rich, and they are all millionaires."  

Sergei added philosophically that "not everyone can be rich."

Analyst Masha Lipman said the fact that Putin could be obscenely rich really does not matter here in Russia.

"He is immune [from scrutiny], for all practical purposes. He is immune. The question is whether Putin will ignore this work or whether Nemtsov will have to pay for it," Lipman said. "Will Nemtsov get away with it? Even despite the political developments, the continuing anti-Putin sentiment, the essence of the regime remains the same: an omnipotent state and a powerless people."

Recent events can be seen as confirming Lipman's view: In the short time since Putin has taken on national leadership for an unprecedented third term as president, the Duma has increased the fines for taking part in unsanctioned protests against the Kremlin by a factor of 150. Three members of a feminist punk band were sentenced to two years in prison for staging an anti-Putin protest "prayer" on the altar of Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral.

And, most recently, the wife of an opposition leader was sentenced to eight years in prison on drug charges - twice as long a penalty as the prosecution wanted. Tasiya Osipova and her husband are members of "The Other Russia," an opposition group. She claims police planted heroin in her home because she refused to testify against her husband.
 
Nemtsov's claims and complaints have been publicized outside Russia. Here in Moscow, the Kremlin has not yet responded to "The Life of a Galley Slave."

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael from: USA
September 02, 2012 3:01 PM
Where is the proof, I want to see the transactions and the receipts. In today s time one can say or write anything without proof, does that make it a fact? It seems obvious that the word CLAIMS is part of the head line, where one can claim anything they want without proof or research. I can claim that my dog ate my homework, but that does not make it true.


by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
August 31, 2012 4:57 PM
That Comrade Putin and his judicial mates felt it necessary to persecute a girl punk band says it all. He is totally paranoid and insecure. How can he hope to run Russia like that. What started off as Stalin (meaning steel) has ended up as any old iron with mr Putin


by: Gary from: USA
August 29, 2012 8:10 PM
It has long been known and Putin himself said he would rule again, Having myself spent many many months traveling to Moscow, Kazan, Naberchyne Chelny, I have witnessed the EXTREME poverty there, where a man I know rather well, worked 30 years as a Fireman, and his wife A High school Literature teacher, together earn a whopping 140.00 a month in a retirement salary, And then we have Putin who lavish lifestyle, does not feel the pinch of the enconmy, where the exchange is 30 Rubles to 1.00 USD. If you dare speak out against Putin you will find yourself...."gone" as one US Journalist learned the hard way not holding her story until she left Russian soil. Putin is a Thief, an Old KGN mentality and a very dangerous threat to Anyone's well being.

In Response

by: bob from: usa
August 30, 2012 8:08 PM
Gary,I agree with your description of the poverty and Dictatorial Rule of Putin,But in the world of corrupt politicians Putin is in the minor league?22 million?...that's just a small congressman?


by: Carlos .. from: California
August 29, 2012 3:10 PM
President Obama likes the man .. President Obama treats dictators like those in the Kremlin, and Damascus with respect .. This is shameful, disgusting and despicable not to mention .. cowardly .. to anyone who knows the facts of what they have done ..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid