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Photos of Vladimir Putin's Rumored $1B Palace Surface

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Russian WikiLeaks, the, um, Russian version of WikiLeaks, has just published photos of the massive palace above, along with the following sentence (translated into English): "We are not prepared to say someone is a palace, we are publishing only photos of the object itself." Well, clicking on the link RuLeaks provides redirects the browser to "Corruption Free Russia: An Open Letter to President Medvedez from Dr. Sergey Kolesnikov."

Turns out Kolesnikov is a whistleblower who wrote the letter to tattle tale on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who supposedly spent $1B of crooked funds on the construction of his massive palace on the Black Sea. The money came "mainly through a combination of corruption, bribery and theft," and was rerouted from medical equipment supplies and other worthy industrial projects to the so-called "Project South," "an enormous, Italian-style palazzo with a casino, winter theatre, summer amphitheatre, church, swimming pools, sport grounds, heliports, landscaped parks, tea houses, staff apartments, technological buildings—a modern day version of Peterhofs, the tzar's palace near St. Petersburg." While Putin's press secretary has insisted that this is not, in fact, the Prime Minister's project, apparently Putin has visited the construction site repeatedly to oversee the furnishings and progress. No word about that black-out guy in the photos above, but man, Vlad, what an upgrade!

· Photos of "Putin's Palace" in Praskoveevke on the Black Sea [RuLeaks]
· Corruption Free Russia [official site]
· Sergey Kolesnikov's tale of palatial corruption, Russian style [WaPo]
· Did Putin Get a Palace? [The Real Estalker]
· Like Obama, Putin Keeps Decor Diplomatically Beige [Curbed National]