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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid