Putin, 'galley slave' with a golden toilet

Aug 30, 2012, 07:13 IST | Agencies

While the Russian president portrays an image of a simple man, a rival has disclosed a list saying he has 20 palaces, a fleet of 58 aircraft and 4 yachts and a urinal worth Rs 41 lakh

Russian President Vladimir Putin is spending billions of taxpayers’ rubles on 20 luxurious residences, 58 jets and four yachts, an opposition leader has claimed.

Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy- prime minister, estimated the maintenance of Putin’s residences, jets and cars alone costs £1.6 billion a year.

High-flyer: Putin has access to a fleet of 58 aircrafts that costs around Rs 330 crore. File Pic/AFP

His report — titled The Life of A Galley Slave after an epithet Putin used in 2008 to describe the hardships of his first two presidencies — is based largely on news reports.

It includes photographs of Putin’s collection of 11 exquisite wristwatches worth about £450,000 (Rs 3.95 crore) — the equivalent of his official salary for six years — and details of a £47,500 (Rs 41 lakh) toilet on a presidential jet.

“Putin has been mistaking government property for his own for a long time,” Nemtsov said. “This is an insolent, cynical and luxurious lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense.”

Opposition members and a handful of Russia’s independent publications have long claimed that Putin had more than a dozen residencies built or renovated for him throughout Russia — from an imperial palace in his native St Petersburg to resorts on the Black Sea to hunting grounds in national parks.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “All of this is government property and Putin uses it all legally as an elected president.”

Nemtsov said his report would be distributed free of charge or online because he could not find a Russian publisher.

The leader of the People's Freedom Party, he has already written another report on the unprecedented rise of corruption among government officials since Putin was first elected in 2000.

Putin’s life of Luxury
Among the 32-page report, eye-catching details included:

>> 20 palace and villas: with opulent fittings worthy of the tsars
>>  15 helicopters
>>  43 aircraft available include: an Airbus, two Dassault Falcon executive jets and an Ilyushin Il-96 airliner that features an $11 million cabin fitted out by jewelers -and that toilet which, the report says, cost close to £47,000
>>  53.7-metre yacht: with a designer interior, a spa pool, waterfall and wine cellar
>>  11 luxury watches
>>  Five-decked yacht: with a jacuzzi, barbecue, a maple wood colonnade and a huge bathroom faced in marble

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