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 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
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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs