Billionaire oligarch Arkady Rotenberg is either telling the truth when he allegedly said he’s the owner of a luxurious mansion on Russia’s Black Sea, not Vladimir Putin, or he has a death wish because we all know that many people who defy or displease Putin often turn up missing or dead by mysterious circumstances. Is this a coincidence? I’ll let you decide that on your own. Nonetheless, a video by Alexei Navalny, a harsh critic of the Kremlin, has gone viral in Russia and has been watched more than 100 million times. In the video, there’s a clip of Rotenberg reportedly saying said he is the owner of the Black Sea mansion. Previously it was believed that Vladimir Putin was the owner. Rotenberg has close ties to Putin. The clip used in Navalny’s video was part of an interview Rotenberg gave on a pro-Kremlin channel.
Speaking of Navalny, as I was writing this article a news alert hit my phone saying that he had been sentenced to more than two years in prison by a Russian court. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images Rotenberg’s public relations team issued a quote from him that said: “I have managed to strike a deal with creditors a few years ago, and I became a beneficiary of this site a few years ago.” Rotenberg is reportedly undertaking a massive renovation of the property that is expected to take a couple of years and transform the building from a single-family mansion into an apartment hotel. The ownership of the hotel came into question when Alexei Navalny and his team published a documentary expressing criticism for Putin and the Kremlin. Navalny’s investigation alleged that the mansion cost $1.37 billion, which was paid for with, according to Navalny, “the largest bribe in history.”
The mysterious Black Sea palace was first reported on in 2012 by the BBC. At the time, a former associate of Putin’s alleged that the estate was built specifically to his wishes and for his personal use. However, a spokesman for Putin denied that at the time. Putin denied that he or any member of his family owned the property directly earlier this week.
The corruption claims Navalny put forth in his documentary took off on social media in Russia, especially on TikTok. The allegations spurred protests that broke out in several locations across the country last weekend. The protests were in support of Navalny and were the biggest anti-Putin rallies in years. More than 4,000 people were arrested for taking part in the protests demanding the release of Navalny. Alexei Navalny was taken into custody immediately after returning to Russia on a flight from Germany. Navalny had been in Germany for the better part of a year recovering from an attempt on his life with a nerve agent. A number of Navalny’s close friends and family have been detained as well, including his brother and Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina. Sergei Smirnov, the editor of a Russian human rights website was also arrested outside his home over […]
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