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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid