Perks of Russia’s Presidency May Dwarf Putin’s Wealth
President Vladimir V. Putin is rumored to be among the world’s wealthiest men, with an oil-fed fortune worth tens of billions of dollars. He denies that, vehemently, but a report to be published Tuesday suggests that the dispute may be beside the point.
In the report, sarcastically titled “The Life of a Galley Slave,” after the president’s own description of his tenure in office, Russian opposition leaders describe what they call an extraordinary expansion of presidential perks during the 12 years since the start of Mr. Putin’s first term as president — palaces, a fleet of jets and droves of luxury cars.
Among the 20 residences available to the Russian president are Constantine Palace, a Czarist-era estate on the Gulf of Finland restored at the cost of tens of millions of dollars, a ski lodge in the Caucasus Mountains and a Gothic revival palace in the Moscow region. The president also has at his disposal 15 helicopters, 4 spacious yachts and 43 aircraft, including the main presidential jet, an Ilyushin whose interior is furnished with gold inlay by artisans from the city of Sergiyev Posad, an Airbus and a Dassault Falcon. The 43 aircraft alone are worth an estimated $1 billion, the report says.
This, the authors note, “in a country where many people hardly make ends meet.”