Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 30, 2021

Navalny Scam Sells Empty Concrete Shell As 'Putin's Luxurious Palace'

In 2010 some minor Russian businessman, Sergei Kolesnikov, who had pissed off people above his pay grade, resettled from Russia to Estonia. To make himself interesting, and likely to get financial support, he made up a story. David Ignatius, the CIA's resident writer at the Washington Post, picked it up:

You can see the sprawling, Italian-style palace on the Black Sea in satellite photos. There's a fitness spa, a hideaway "tea house," a concert amphitheater and a pad for three helicopters. It's still under construction, but already the cost is said to total more than $1 billion.

And most amazing of all, according to a Russian whistleblower named Sergey Kolesnikov, it was predominantly paid for with money donated by Russian businessmen for the use of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The funds have come "mainly through a combination of corruption, bribery and theft," charges Kolesnikov, a businessman who until November 2009 worked for one of the companies he alleges was investing money for Putin.

In 2012 BBC Newsnight again picked up the story and made it into a nine minutes long anti-Putin segment.

Putin's palace? A mystery Black Sea mansion fit for a tsar

On a thickly wooded mountainside overlooking Russia's Black Sea coast, an extraordinary building has gradually taken shape. It is alleged to be a palace built for the personal use of Vladimir Putin, with massive and illegal use of state funds.

Originally conceived, it is said, as a modest holiday house with a swimming pool, it now boasts a magnificent columned facade reminiscent of the country palaces Russian tsars built in the 18th Century.

The massive wrought-iron gates into the courtyard are topped with a golden imperial eagle. Outside are formal gardens, a private theatre, a landing pad with bays for three helicopters, and accommodation for security guards.

At the end of 2020 the 'Putin's palace' story was recycled to promote the rightwing Russian nationalist and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny. Navalny was at that time in Germany's Black Forrest area where he recovered from an alleged poisoning. A studio was needed to produce a video about the 'palace'.

A German producer couple who had recently opened a TV-studio received a request. As the German daily Badische Zeitung reported (my translation):

Early December a request arrived via email from a U.S. production company in Los Angeles. There was talk of a documentation. It was looking for adequate locations, people and equipment in southern Germany. The German producers did not know the company, even though they have good contacts in L.A., but the request made a very professional impression.

The studio was rented to create the 'palace' material for the Navalny campaign.

The studio was actually only rented for just under a week, but the filmmakers liked the location with its atmosphere and the cinematic possibilities so much that the shooting was extended to a total of two weeks and parts of the 20-person international crew from Berlin, where actually a last shoot was planned before the flight to Moscow came to Kirchzarten.

On January 17 Navalny flew back to Russia and was immediately arrested for having violated his probation in a case where he had been sentenced for funneling a company's money into his own pockets. On January 19 Navalny's anti-corruption campaign FBK uploaded a two hour long polemic in which Navalny repeats the decade old claim that there is a palace at the Black Sea that is actually owned by Putin. But none of the many documents he provides proves that Putin is in any way involved in the project.

There is indeed a palace like building at the Black Sea coast but its purpose is unclear. The floor plans, which Navalny shows in the video, let one presume that it is a luxury hotel for very exclusive guests. The second floor plan shows 11 bedrooms of which four are exclusive suites.


Source: Katya Kazbeck - bigger

Navalny also shows computer generated pictures of what he claims is the extremely luxurious interior. He also claims that there are some exclusive vineyards attached to the 'palace'.

Navalny points to one room on the plans mockingly as a 'room where they put their mud'. The word 'mudroom' does not exist in Russian but is a rarely used English expression for an entranceway. That suggests that the script he was reading from was originally written in English and then badly translated into Russian.

Lots of western media have picked up on Navalny's exaggerated descriptions. Time writes:

As for the palace’s interior, FBK produced visuals based on descriptions and photos from workers at the residence. Using architectural plans that listed Italian furniture brands, they inquired with the manufacturer about the appearance and cost of the products. “Each couch was the cost of a small flat on the outskirts of Moscow, and if you took all the furniture from the reading room you could buy a decent flat in London,” says [Maria Pevchikh, head of the investigations department at FBK].

It’s not clear how often Putin frequents the residence. According to FBK, all but essential staff are dismissed when he visits. Several sources told FBK that Putin takes “select” guests including world leaders to the palace for the “real fun”, after meetings in his official residence in Sochi, which the independent investigative news site Proekt has confirmed, says Pevchikh.

Julie Cassiday, a U.S. professor for Russian language, remarks in the Moscow Times:

Navalny’s careful reconstruction of the interior of Putin’s palace shows the full extent of the Russian president’s love of expensive kitsch. In addition to a curiously named aqua-discotheque, the ground floor houses a cocktail lounge, movie theater, spa zone, four separate hot tubs, and a two-story swimming pool.

The first floor takes us to Putin’s personal gym, game room, casino, home theater, and hookah bar (cleverly equipped for pole dancing, should the need arise), and the top floor contains a series of opulent bedroom suites.

According to “A Palace for Putin,” the Russian president has abused his power not merely by stealing his country’s wealth, but by squandering it on furniture and fixtures so gaudy and overpriced that they make Liberace look like an arbiter of good taste.

How embarrassing. For those authors.

The enterprising Russia journalist Maksim Iksanov actually went to the 'palace' and talked with the people working there. His video shows that the 'palace' is still an empty concrete shell with dozens of workers busy with drilling into concrete walls and setting up basic installations.


bigger

"It’s not clear how often Putin frequents" the construction site. Or what source "told FBK that Putin takes “select” guests including world leaders" to admire the concrete walls. Or why a none-smoker like Putin would insist on having a hookah bar.

Besides that obvious nonsense one has to ask why it would take Putin so long to build a 'palace'. Kolesnikov said the project started in 2005. Sochi was prepared for the Olympics in just six years. The bridges to Crimea were built within five years of its liberation and the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, which Putin in 2001 ordered to rebuild, was re-opened in 2003. It is the Russian president's official summer residence but also open to the public. When Putin says something should be built it will be built on time and not take sixteen years to end up as an empty concrete shell.

As for the 'palace' Navalny describes. It seems to have always been a hotel project. It had run into financial trouble. It several times changed ownership and its construction was at times stopped for years. The Russian construction mogul Arkady Rotenberg now claims to be the current owner of the 'palace':

[Rotenberg] added that he intends to use the location as an apartment hotel, once it is finished.

“I like the hotel business…and have been involved in it for several years now,” Rotenberg said, adding that he owns several ‘objects’ throughout Russia. He explained that the site in question has a troubled financial history, but he nevertheless acquired it a few years ago, putting faith in its “gorgeous” coastal location, near the resort town of Gelendzhik.

As Rotenberg is a good friend of Putin -they know each other since their youth- Navalny will of course claim that Rotenberg is only the front man while Putin is the real owner of the place.

I doubt that many Russians will believe such nonsense. Putin is known to spend his holiday's with outdoor activities. He does not seem to indulge in ostentatious luxury. Nor is there any evidence that he is willing to take bribes. The U.S. certainly tried and failed.

The CIA, or whatever service helped Navalny to produce the nonsense, should take more care with the details. The golden imperial eagle that was supposed to top the gate in the 2012 BBC story still does not exist at all but was photoshopped into the BBC and the Navalny's footage. Unfortunately it was the wrong one:

Ruslana Boshirova Альянс пианистов @ValLisitsa - 19:26 UTC · Jan 29, 2021

In case one needs further proof that the whole "investigation" was a sham. The mock-up gate, crowned with the double-headed eagle, conspicuously absent in real life, but passed for a real deal by unscrupulous Navalny team, has Montenegro coat of arms eagle, not Russian one.

Posted by b on January 30, 2021 at 19:04 UTC | Permalink

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Dances with bears had an interesting article on this same topic that someone linked to in a previous thread. The whole article is worth a read.

The details of the Gelendzhik palace in the film Navalny released on January 19 are not new. They have been investigated and widely published by Russian reporters since 2010. In that time they have had no impact on the understanding Russians have of Putin, or his public approval rating.

The Russian evidence is that a group of Russian businessmen conceived of the project as an attempt to curry favour with the president. There is no evidence in Navalny’s film, nor in the Russian reporting which has preceded him, that Putin accepted it.

As Sergei Markov commented on Ekho Moskvy radio: “Now Navalny says this again, but does not mention that there is no evidence of Putin’s presence there. Because the impudence of lying has increased many times in ten years…But there is no smoke without fire. What is the reality? this palace[comes from] a group of rich people who are also personally well acquainted with Putin, and [who] decided around 2005 to build a house for him when he resigns from the post of president. But Putin refused to accept such a gift from them”


Alexei Navalnys telling mistake

The whole article is worth a read.

Posted by: Down South | Jan 30 2021 19:30 utc | 1

Well it appears after 4 years of Trump appeasement (cough-cough) Cold War 2.0 is back in high gear with the Russo-phobic Democrats back in charge of the USA's for-profit foreign policy. Navalny is to Russia what Guaido is to Venezuela - a creature of Intelligence. With the United States approaching 30 trillion USD in debt, an empire stretched a bridge too far, a people ready to murder each other for equal and opposite causes, and a society in freefall toward collapse, what can possibly be used to rally round the flag to keep American Exceptionalism afloat for another couple of years? I prefer aliens or threats of cometary collision. But, alas, all Empire has, besides its bread & circuses are a Bond Villain, the inscrutable Xi, errant Ayatollahs and 'populists'. What we're actually watching is Atlantis 2.0.

Posted by: gottlieb | Jan 30 2021 19:33 utc | 2

The most interesting parts of this whole sordid episode are (1) what was the LA-based company that commissioned this film about Putin's supposed kitsch palace; and (2) Maria Pevchikh's involvement, to the extent that TIME Magazine interviewed her about this palace.

Pevchikh lives in Britain where she runs two bookshops. Recall that she was the one who supposedly collected the Novichok-contaminated water bottle in Navalny's hotel room - the water bottle that later turned out to be one bought from an airport vending-machine some time after Navalny had left the hotel. Her inclusion in this developing story which repeats an old and already discredited lie might suggest the British govt or one of its agencies has a deep interest in flogging this story.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 30 2021 19:34 utc | 3

Jesus, what a fraud. You can bet this won't make it into the msm.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 30 2021 19:34 utc | 4

The building itself has the curious hallmarks of those Chinese scammer buildings. The wall to the left seems to be pink insulation blocks with a (decaying) spraycrete shell. Uncoated steel rebar on the rightmost structural column is rusting, and the column's concrete is spalling off in huge chunks. The conduit on the floor seems to have pulled it's anchors (still attached) out of the ceiling. It looks like they used mud instead of concrete to build that thing. The BBC picture shows the courtyard, and the green 'lawn' looks poorly spray-painted. Even the sidewalks look painted. Last of all, who would start adding elaborate murals to the walls and ceilings if they don't even have windows in the place yet? Doesn't look like a place a *construction mogul* would buy or build. Putin isn't so dumb as to be scammed like this, and I doubt the resolve of construction scammers to pull one over on Putin.

None of this speaks to the ultimate owner/purpose of the 'Palace'. I'm just saying that it doesn't look like a real building that was ever intended to be used. It does look pretty from the outside. *Too* pretty.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 30 2021 19:49 utc | 5


Putin takes “select” guests including world leaders to the palace for the “real fun”, after meetings in his official residence in Sochi, which the independent investigative news site Proekt has confirmed, says Pevchikh

They go to Putin's Hookah bar.

The Saudi Arabians have things called "shishas" (Hookahs) which work in the following way. A three metre air tube is attached to a round recipient full of water. Leading from that is another vertical tube. Finally (and this is the point of the explanation) it is capped by a funnel-shaped terracotta crucible. Small end at the bottom. At the bottom level there is a small round pierced piece, on which is placed the tobacco. Follows another round pirced cap - on top of which is placed burning dried camel dung. By sucking on the air tube, "air" is drawn from the camel dung, through the tobacco, through the water along the tube into the lungs of the "select visitors".

"The real green deal" - or at least that is the colour europeans become who try to smoke the things.

Maybe that is why we see a photoshopped "Putin" desperately flapping his arms in a two story (?) swimming pool? Or is that what the "mudroom" is for?

(Pevchikh has obviously recovered from carrying water bottles taken from other hotels).


Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 19:53 utc | 6

Mudroom is a common term in American real estate sales. Suburban homes with more than 3000 square feet (300 meters square) will usually have them. Useful when there is a swarm of undisciplined children. The children leave their snowsuits and boots all over and anywhere, then the maid picks it all up, mops the floor. Better than having the kids track snow and salt and mud directly across the oriental rugs.

Tells me there is an American in a cubicle writing the script.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 30 2021 20:01 utc | 7

Proof of the inane lengths the West will go to smear Putin so his very important words, like those he just delivered via video to Davos, can be blacked out, which is the same purpose the "Uyghur Genocide" serves for China and Xi. Both presentations delivered to Davos offer an excellent alternative to the penury offered by the West, but only a tiny few will know that reality.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 30 2021 20:02 utc | 8

There is indeed a palace like building at the Black Sea coast but its purpose is unclear.

+

It seems to have always been a hotel project.

Yesterday there was a report on the Russian TV channel, where the manager of the construction site at this facility openly said that the building is a hotel for wealthy people. To maintain information hygiene, I advise everyone to avoid any contact with any kind of Navalny's "materials" as well as with "sensations" from propagandists like Bellingcat. I do this and I feel great.
You know, you don't have to step on shit to find out that it is shit.

Posted by: alaff | Jan 30 2021 20:04 utc | 9

PavewayIV | Jan 30 2021 19:49 utc | 5

Nicely seen. The red blocks would more likely be bricks.

However, all the workers wear masks. Politically correct, and it would not take much setting up to put a few "workers" on scaffolding with paint brushes in hand. I didn't see any cement or plaster mixers. But there is no doubt the Palace/hotel has been left abandoned for a quite while. Probably several years. The "new" work is for the camera and MSM. The Russians are now learning to produce PR quickly?

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 20:13 utc | 10

Putin orders Imperial Stormtroopers into St. Petersburg to crush democratic protesters — VIDEO PROOF:

https://twitter.com/leon_elk/status/1355567203450556420

It’s a video, so it must be true!

Posted by: S | Jan 30 2021 20:33 utc | 11

Even if it truly were “Putin’s palace” I think a majority of Russians would say he deserves royal treatment, having rescued the nation from the ravages of Western exploitation. “Illegal use of state funds” is merely projection of guilt for the latter’s wealth extraction and resource appropriation (theft) through Russian oligarch intermediaries, who were subsequently chastised and thwarted by Putin. That story is never revealed by the MSM because they are covering-up for the real monsters.

Posted by: norecovery | Jan 30 2021 20:41 utc | 12

Posted by: Jen | Jan 30 2021 19:34 utc | 3

>>Maria Pevchikh's involvement, to the extent that TIME Magazine interviewed her about this palace.

That is her job apparently, she gave interview for TV in my obscure country about the same topic too.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 30 2021 20:42 utc | 13

The exposure the West gives this Navalny character is both nauseating and funny at the same time. A character out of a silent movie. And one note: Lenin was housed in Germany during the First World War and secretly returned there.And the rest is history. Funny how men, not history, repeat themselves.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Jan 30 2021 20:45 utc | 14

Seven (!) Navalny-Putin articles in Der Spiegel published today.Commentators start complaining.

I for one am wondering why the Dances with Bears article on Navalny's drug abuse found by the medics that saved his life has no repercussions at all.

Posted by: willie | Jan 30 2021 20:51 utc | 15

Posted by: Jen | Jan 30 2021 19:34 utc | 3

>>Maria Pevchikh's involvement, to the extent that TIME Magazine interviewed her about this palace.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, she is (or was) an employee of Navalny's FBK organisation:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-18/navalny-novichok-poisoning-hotel-room-water-bottle-russia/12675958

Posted by: Hope | Jan 30 2021 21:11 utc | 16

"The CIA, or whatever service helped Navalny to produce the nonsense, should take more care with the details."

They stopped caring about any details, or producing an even 5% plausible story. Their staff psychologists must finally have figured out that average intelligence steeped in bread, circuses and propaganda is equivalent to deep, incurable cretinism, that 90% of those who are not functional morons are cowards and another 9.9% hope to get to themselves some crumbs falling from the table of war profits. The remaining 0.01% is easily silenced by money, censorship, cancel culture and murder.

Whoever follows events will easily see that the ruling class stopped paying any attention to credibility shortly after the Obama administration was brought to power by the most successful Goebbelsian campaign ever. Plausibility is a thing of the past now: The countermeasures to the great revolutions of the past have been extremely effective.

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Jan 30 2021 21:18 utc | 17

Some summer residence!

...but according to b, my lying eyes deceive me.

Putin is known to spend his holiday's with outdoor activities. He does not seem to be indulged with luxury..

Really? So, I suppose the palatial summer residence is just his cabin in the woods.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 30 2021 21:23 utc | 18

My favorite Navalny bit is still the "He was poisoned through his underwear" one, thanks to some "Russian defector". That's so hysterical. It's so obvious it's bullshit, designed to troll the MSM and check how gullible they can be. That one either came from 4chan and their likes, from some Russian random wanting to have some fun, or possibly made up deliberately by Moscow to ridicule the West in case it believed and reported that.

That said, I'm beginning to wonder about the post-poisoning part between Russia and Germany. I'm curious to see if Nordstream 2 goes ahead, is finished and eventually delivers, or if it will be derailed and Germany will renounce. Could it be that there was some understanding between Putin and Merkel so that Germany could claim to be on board with the Russia-bashing and "poor martyr Navalny, hero of democracy against Evil Putin", by welcoming and treating him and making wild accusations about the poisoning, so that Berlin could cover its will to achieve Nordstream and work with Russia on it? Had Navalny stayed in Russia or been shipped to the UK or US, calls for retaliation and cutting all economic ties and trade with Russia would've been huge and pressure on Germany to drop Nordstream would've been massive - but by hosting him, they couldn't be accused of being too soft on Russia.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 30 2021 21:29 utc | 19

Navalny is very clearly a tool of certain interests of the West. For people who use their brain capacity and who go to the trouble of informing themselves from credible, relevant, reliable sources it is all last year's snow. So, for me this palace saga really is not about Putin, or about Russia, it is about - Germany, the UK, the USA, the EU and NATO. Navalny is the cheap, ugly criminal face of these systems of alienated power that are constantly harrassing Russia and its people to the detriment of all decent humans and peace. The harrassment of Russia and the persecution of Julian Assange have the same features: blatant, merciless, brutal, indifferent to objections and calls to reason. A totally naked show of raw, reckless power. Dangerous lunacy.

It is particularly disturbing that Germany is involved in using Navalny to harrass Russia, and
wage psychological warfare against European citizens (and others) by spreading fear and hatred of Russia, Russians and everything beginning with Ru. The anti-Russian actions and propaganda in the West, with substantial involvement of Germany, have had a lobotomy effect on many, many Europens and that is very worrying. It should not be overlooked, though, that there still exists a mistrust of Germans because of the two wars. The German political class is playing with fire that might engulf them, and all of us with them.

It is high time we turned away from the "leaders" of today who should all be removed from decision-making positions. Their results are evident in the state of the world today. There are honest, capalbe, knowledgeable people devoted to the common good who can assist us in building a completely different world, one of cooperation, mutual respect and solidaraity, a world in which we work together, create together, play together, learn from each other and compete in doing good for one and all.

Posted by: JB | Jan 30 2021 21:35 utc | 20

"...Lenin was housed in Germany during the First World War and secretly returned there..." @15
This is not true.
It is a lie.
It was developed by fascist anti-communist propagandists.
By repeating the lie you align yourself with fascism.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 30 2021 21:41 utc | 21

What's galling is the rabid commentary on this nothing burger Navalny while the two speeches by Xi and Putin garner next to no discourse. The little shit's antics are clearly more important that the actions of two of the world's most important leaders and the correspondingly deafening non-response by the West. Or perhaps its best as I wrote earlier, the Navalny lie IS the West's response.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 30 2021 21:53 utc | 22

Gottlieb, no secret. I was reminded of Biden's record today

Exclusive Series: Biden’s Foreign Policy History and What it Portends for his Presidency
https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/01/11/exclusive-series-bidens-foreign-policy-history-and-what-it-portends-for-his-presidency/

Posted by: Dogon Priest | Jan 30 2021 21:55 utc | 23

@ Posted by: Jose Garcia | Jan 30 2021 20:45 utc | 15

No. Lenin was in Switzerland, and his train had to go through Germany in order to him to get back to Russia. It was intercepted in Germany, and the Kaiser had to decide what to do with him (i.e. Lenin was a hostage of the emperor, not a guest). Ultimately, the Kaiser decided Lenin was a madman that would destroy Russia rather than save it, so he let him continue with his journey.

Posted by: vk | Jan 30 2021 22:00 utc | 24

Dear b, it really no longer is about truth or reality of truth, it’s now all about virtual truth and alternative facts, western government’s propaganda outlets (perceived and credited in the west as independent media organizations) no longer care if their reality show perceived as news is refuted and discredited. It’s now all about that 15 seconds and headlines, they for fact know they will be refuted, but nevertheless since they believe (and realistically they still do) they have a gripping hold on the ears, eyes hearts the minds of the western/ and western minded population they no longer care if they are immediately and factually refuted and proved to be lying, because and during the cold war they have succeeded to train (Brainwash) their audience and population not trust or more factually even be scared of the alternative media and news other than western media.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 30 2021 22:02 utc | 25

@B. and All: I second the recommandation to read the John Helmer/Dances with Bears article.

An absolute high point of his work, amazingly insightful even for John.
Not only about the issue at hand, but also for the nature of the Russian system as a whole.

Sorry Bernhard, there is more to this than your "It is all western propaganda" article wants to admit.
Yes, much less than Navalny claims, but more than you admit too.

No one in the english speaking MSM and Alt-Media sphere IMHO is able to see the grey truths between the black/white like John does, that lie between western propaganda and the opposite camp in alt media.
Sorry Bernhard, but your post does not compare well..

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr | Jan 30 2021 22:10 utc | 26

The way i see it, it was all engineered from the beginning by smart people in the Intel agencies.

1. First you need to create lots of attention for Navalny. By false "poisoning" right in the middle of the Belarus protests. Talk about evil Novichok to western population constantly, to create a good brainwashing effect. It is a plan within the plan (as per Dune book). The Novichok hysteria was created at an early stage, with promising prospects, and that is the next stage to capitalise on it further.

2. Then, after you got all the attention to Navalny, create a compromat, that is to be blown by Navalny. Get Google to put his videos on top.

3. Try to force Russia to accept Navalny's activites or face santions. By trowing mud, make it impossible for western politicians to seek closer relations with Russia. Involve Germany in it to try to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

4. These activities are always to be about uncovering corruption or "corruption" among anti-western politicians, but never about uncovering corruption among pro-western politicians/entities.

I admit that western Intel agencies are not to be underestimated, and can have deeper and long term plans.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 30 2021 22:48 utc | 27

O.o

Posted by: Josh | Jan 30 2021 23:34 utc | 28

Clueless Joe @ 20:

The "underwear poisoning" story came from Bellingcat working with CNN and a Russian-language media outlet.

Not long after that story came out, there was news that a police officer was in Samara (city of one million people on middle Volga river in European Russia) on charges of having sold information obtained from phone databases to Bellingcat. I have no knowledge of how that police officer obtained the information but you can guess.

I believe Bellingcat was rather upset at the arrest.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 30 2021 23:40 utc | 29

Oh, b. Great article. What a complete joke. I am reminded that inept bumbling can be taken seriously if enough 'experts' promote it. I work in a university so I have first hand experience every day...

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 30 2021 23:43 utc | 30

The term 'mudroom' is a pretty common saying in the midwest to describe the foyer after entering the back door of the house, especially by farmers.

Posted by: One Too Many | Jan 30 2021 23:52 utc | 31

It's Juan Guaidnavalnyi

Who else coup'd it be?

If i was Putin, i would line up a good selection of trusted faux traitors, set up a nice fake coup d'etat, with proper fake disgruntled background stories etc... those CIA morons will believe anything that lines up with their beliefs and serves their agenda, common sense and reason be damned, it's all about confirmation bias for them, so feed it!

Really dig in the knife to all those phoney 5th columninst traitors and NATO operators in Russia, well before the next election. One thing is 100% certain, Western operators will be doing all they can to interfere and subvert the next election with all of their dirty tricks. Best beat them to the punch, dont wait for them.

When it comes to dirty tricks, we all know who the masters of the trade really are. Shame they are always being motivated to express those aspects of their nature, instead of other less toxic ones...

Posted by: Et Tu | Jan 31 2021 0:36 utc | 32

True or not true I don't really care. If a rap artist can live in $50M mansion. Putin can have a palace!

Posted by: Jacob Bakker | Jan 31 2021 0:38 utc | 33

Meant to say @ 31 that a police officer in Samara had been arrested on charges etc etc. Sorry, I was in the cinema and I had been typing my comment just minutes before the movie "Occupation: Rainfall" opened.

Yes it was cheap, brisk, loud and noisy and I saw my home city Sydney completely obliterated by alien attack.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 31 2021 2:08 utc | 34

Posted by: Jen | Jan 31 2021 2:08 utc | 36

I'm still in Sydney: a city of grifters and white-shoe developers, governed by the most corrupt Premier in the country. Bring on the aliens.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 31 2021 2:27 utc | 35

Career conman Bill Browder, a convicted tax-evader and fraudster, has long pitched such fiction as well as the criminal oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Browder's ghostwriter(s) may be be kept busy with such projects. The Anglo-American state/intell networks have few, if any, original scripts.

Posted by: J'Accuse News | Jan 31 2021 2:38 utc | 36

Imo it is a part of larger scheme of things, probably they had information that Putin intends to stay in 2024 and they want to derail that, causing problems in Russia, to force successor infighting, etc.

The successor infighting actually is their chance.

The 2021 – 2030 period is critical for Russia, after that the West will be too weak to make too much trouble. Especially the 2021 – 2024 period is important, when the West is still stronger and the successor issue in Russia is still not resolved.

They need to destabilise and possibly take over Russia before it forms itself as a strong pole in a multipolar, non-western dominated world.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 31 2021 2:45 utc | 37

Barely 10 days into Biden rule and Russia on the news again.

I called it, Biden's foreign policy is gonna be more aggressive than Trump, simply because he has the bureaucrats behind him.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 2:52 utc | 38

1. Navalny becomes ill on a plane that lands in Omsk where he receives emergency treatment. Blood samples are taken before he embarks on another plane to Berlin. Those blood samples are negative for the presence of novichok. They have been offered for examination.

2. On arrival in Berlin, blood samples would certainly been taken on his arrival at Charitie Hospital. On numerous occasions, Russian investigators have requested access to these samples and have been refused.

3. Some time later, it is reported that a German military lab has examined Navalny's blood samples and determined that novichok is present. Again, Russian investigators request access to those samples and are refused.

4. A massive media campaign blames Russia for poisoning Navalny. No mention is made of the refusal to allow Russian access to the samples.

5. Within a relatively short period, Navalny miraculously recovers (shades of Skripal!) and is soon walking about.

6. In December a TV production company in a remote part of Germany is contacted by 'a LA production crew' to film a documentary at their facility where Navalny is spotted.

7. For a reason known only to himself for leaving the safety of Germany, Navalny returns to Russia and is arrested on 17 January. Shortly after, the Navalny's 'Putin's palace' video is released amidst a huge furor over the international dissemination of the video. To date, it appears that no Western journalist or TV network has actually gone to Gelendzhik to corroborate the allegations in the Navalny video.

8. Recently a Russian journalist actually went to Gelendzhik, interviewed a construction foreman and video-taped the exterior and interior of the 'palace'. The exterior is under construction with materials and equipment found everywhere. The interior 'lavish rooms' are shells under construction.

9. Also recently, a non-State Russian TV network has aired an interview with the construction superintendent at the 'palace' and showed video that corroborates that of the Russian journalist.

10. None of the preceding has had even a slight mention in the Western media. None of it supports The Narrative.

So, cui bon? Is it a coincidence that stoppage of the Nordsteam 2 project that the US vehemently opposes features predominantly in the anti-Russian furor? As the detestable Rachel Maddow so often says: "Connect the dots".

Posted by: chet380 | Jan 31 2021 2:54 utc | 39

I called it, Biden's foreign policy is gonna be more aggressive than Trump, simply because he has the bureaucrats behind him.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 2:52 utc | 40

Biden's policy will be as aggressive towards Russia as Trump's (he was very aggressive towards Russia), but less aggressive towards China and Iran.

I'm putting him on aggressiveness scale somewhere between Obama and Trump. Thus, multipolarity will grow under his term, although at a relatively slow pace.

He will be also more hostile to Saudia Arabia and Turkey, colder to Modi's Gov, while friendlier towards the EU. He will also try to stay in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

The big changes in the US are expected in the after 2025 period, when the debt issue really kicks in. Right now they will still be fighting to preserve hegemony over the world, although at a bit less aggressive level than Trump.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 31 2021 3:05 utc | 40

The Guardian: ‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy

That is REALLY surprising. Until now, I thought that Soviet Union (mind you, Russia is separated from the former Soviet Union for a bit more than 30 year) contracted baby Donald from his father to brainwash him already in the cradle, if not in the womb.

---------

An entry in a dictionary of news: "connect the dots" means "connect the idiots" (what they conceive after pooling pea-sized brain together).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2021 3:05 utc | 41

Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years and proved so willing to parrot anti-western propaganda.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2021 3:05 utc | 43

Realy funny to see pseudo liberals and pseudo leftwingers crying about "anti-western" and "anti-american" stuff.

When you see a "liberal" and a "left winger" crying about "anti-western" and "anti-american" stuff you should know that this is imperialist trash in sheep's clothing.


Posted by: Passer by | Jan 31 2021 3:15 utc | 42

@ Passer By

And that's the more dangerous because despite all the hype talk, Russia is the weaklink of the 3 powers right now (USA, China and Russia).

If Biden is successfully in sowing division between Russia and Iran and China, the damages would be tremendous. But I don't think Iran and China are stupid enough to trust the americans.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 3:35 utc | 43

@ chet380 | Jan 31 2021 2:54 utc | 41.. nice summation... basically it sums up how russia continues to be stonewalled and the west continue to lie thru their teeth...

would you like a western msm report on that? lol.... i am sure they are looking for another palace somewhere in crimea and when they find it, they will pass on the info to navalny who can broadcast it again for the crowd that missed the first lying dispatch... they offer up lies that can't compete with this kids version of novichok that russia is so busy handing out to try to poison there opposition! either that or the west has found the antidote for novichok and russia just hasn't figured it out yet!

coming to a theatre near you, i tell ya! we'll get the hollywood, chatham house,integrity initiative or whoever the script writers for this next segment, right at it!

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2021 3:53 utc | 44

@45 Smith - Russia is the weaklink of the 3 powers right now (USA, China and Russia)

Tell you what - launch a war against Russia, and later, if there's anything of you left, tell me again that Russia is the weak link.

Russia has leapt ahead of all nations in its weaponry. It leads the USA by a decade (or more if you consider the decadence of the US military and its deteriorating competence). And China and the USA know this. As do all the nations of the planet.

Russia is the most formidable military force on this planet today.

And since political power truly does come out of the barrel of a gun, Russia has the main element covered. Plenty of room for nations like China to develop a multitude of sophisticated systems, sciences and forces, and for all other nations also. Russia has them all protected (from the USA) through her sheer brute-force dominance. Thus, she gives everyone respite to develop in the shelter of her lee.

As for the USA being one of the three, this will depend when you count, since the force of the USA diminishes every second.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 31 2021 4:13 utc | 45

agent smith.. i like that nickname william gruff gave him, lol..

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2021 4:16 utc | 46

This ongoing Navalny cockup reminds me of the movie Wag The Dog.

How many barflies have seen that one? Dustin Hoffman stars as the stream of consciousness producer that takes a politically embarrassing situation and walks the public narrative out of reality and through a dustup of happenstance into never mind land and then he is offed by the handlers that brought him in initially.

Hollywood types are creating ongoing propaganda control narrative shorts around built up false memes and lies......the shit show just keeps getting smellier.....but I expect it pays well.


Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 31 2021 4:41 utc | 47

Navalny was poisoned and now he's arrested and in prison.

Anyone here ever been poisoned and then arrested and thrown in prison after recovering from poisoning and coma?

@23karlof1

The little shit's antics are clearly more important that the actions of two of the world's most important leaders and the correspondingly deafening non-response by the West.

Oh, I don't know, duplicity on all sides excluded, I would somehow prioritize another human's physical pain and then imprisonment over a bunch of words.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 31 2021 4:50 utc | 48

There are references by some commentators here to John Helmer.

The late Stephen Cohen wrote about the Russian system of government- he understood it far better than John Helmer.

I would suggest that people read him - he truly gets it.


/////As to the purpose of the lies about the Palace - we saw that it was the excuse used to rally useful idiots to take to the streets.

There is the usual “liberal” pro western anti migrant group that always turn out for Navalny plus kids on lockdown.

Putin has access and use of 8 official residences around Russia and they are very grand indeed ( no one complains about these houses)

Posted by: James2 | Jan 31 2021 5:10 utc | 49

And if Navalny poisoned himself with a light dose of novichok in the plane before arrival to Germany?.

A dose small enough to make him sick but not die as a normal dose of novichok would do.
Then the whole story makes sense. The Germans do not want anyone to know that the dose was very far from lethal as it would diminish their value and triggers questions about why would Russia would use such a small dose if they really wanted to get rid of Navalny. So the Germans ignored the requests for details on the findings....
It is obvious that it is a plot devised by Navalny and his allies to prevent any russia-germany rapprochement and to put Putin in a very embarrassing situation. He succeeded but this is only the first part of the game.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 31 2021 5:19 utc | 50

@Grieved

"Russia is the most formidable military force on this planet today."

This is a very interesting observation...which I've also heard from other western Russian Military observers as well. Would you have any particular sources or links that you might suggest? I'd really like to further investigate this subject. Any detailed info you might be able to provide on this would be much appreciated...

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jan 31 2021 5:56 utc | 51

@ Grieved

The war on Russia will come from the inside, Russia's own population. No weapons on Earth can save you from the internal rot.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 5:56 utc | 52

@Smith

"The war on Russia will come from the inside, Russia's own population. No weapons on Earth can save you from the internal rot."

I slightly reworded this for you:

The war on the US will come from the inside, US's own population. No weapons, or external regime change operations can save us from our own internal rot.

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jan 31 2021 6:02 utc | 53

@ time2wakeupnow

Indeed, the war on the US has started, and a long time ago, precisely during the 80s with Reagan, me think.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 6:14 utc | 54

@Smith

Precisely!

"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Abraham Lincoln - Lyceum Address 1838

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jan 31 2021 6:23 utc | 55

This is an old video, probably most of you have seen it before, but for those who have not, here it is, the empire's minion without a mask:

Eliminate the critters


Posted by: Paco | Jan 31 2021 6:29 utc | 56

I'd say Russia is the weak link because their post-Soviet political system is still wobbly. The trick will be the next transfer of power, probably in 2030. Russia is still too Putin dependent. China's Communist Party has a good track record of producing good leaders.

That said, China or Iran would never abandon Russia, but the wrong leadership in Russia could cut ties in an attempt to woo Europe.

Ultimately, Navalny and other racist fascists represent 10-15% of the Russian population....the so called White Russians. They would have no problem making enemies of Iran/China on religious and white supremacists ideology. 10-15% is enough to leverage into political control, and that is indeed what is being attempted

I'd disagree that Russia is the most formidable military on the planet, USA still holds that title, although the gap has been closed considerably. From 1985-2000 nobody even came close to matching the American Military...both Russia and China have made incredible gains, since, but neither can match the USA's ability to project power, with the logistics 100's of bases worldwide provides.

Posted by: Haassaan | Jan 31 2021 6:56 utc | 57

This is not true.
It is a lie.
It was developed by fascist anti-communist propagandists.
By repeating the lie you align yourself with fascism.

bevin @ 22

(i.e. Lenin was a hostage of the emperor, not a guest).

vk @ 25

Lenin and Imperial Germany collaborated together to bring down the Tsar as that was their common aim.

Prussian bayonets and Russian proletarian fists

Lenin's return to his home country was followed with great attention in Berlin.
"Lenin's entry into Russia was a success. He is working according to your wishes," was the message Germany's top army command sent to its Foreign Office.

A political paradox, or so it would seem: Kaiser Wilhelm II joining forces with the communist Lenin. The German emperor's aim was to finally undermine the czarist empire with which the so-called Central Powers - Germany and Austria-Hungary - had been at war since 1914.


How Germany got the Russian Revolution off the ground

I’ve detailed previously how Wall Street too contributed funds to the Russian Revolution.

Posted by: Down South | Jan 31 2021 6:57 utc | 58

@ Haassaan

The most dangerous part of Russia's population is the liberals, who are bred unchecked in their universities and of course some have their influence in the Russian government (within Putin's own party!).

Putin can hold the rein, but the longer that he does not purge the liberals in Russia, he is just prolonging the pain.

The military, as always, is as good as the people who are willing to defend the country.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 7:10 utc | 59

@55 time2wakeupnow

Yes, and comrade Abraham showed us exactly how that works. He wasn't killed by Russian interference in elections. Neither was John Kennedy. These were native Yankee bullets.

We seem to elect our presidents as sacrificial fetishes - each time the truth comes ready to shine and burst through, the bullet comes to end it and leave the message of degradation instead. In this sense, agent smith (and he is an agent, so beware of his wiles) is correct to point up the weakness of Russia as being internal rather than from external threats.

For what it's worth, the Buddha said the same about his teaching, that it could only be destroyed from the inside. The syndrome is called the lion's corpse. It is said by those who know that the lion's corpse is not ravaged by other creatures in the jungle, such is its majesty even in death. Instead, it is eaten away by the ants, from the inside.

~~

Fortunately, the Kremlin is a wise old person, and has learned the danger of the color revolution far better than its cousin in Washington DC has yet understood the danger. The Navalny staged demonstrations and the subsequent arrests show exactly how well the Russian security state is safeguarding the freedoms of its ordinary people to live their extraordinary lives in peace and safety.

You asked about Russia as a military force - let me gather some sources and take another comment...

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 31 2021 7:13 utc | 60

The appalling lack of intelligence makes a mockery of the very concept of modern day false flagging. Even the massive deployment of manpower to narrative disruption and steering on social media and alt news comments is no better than the pathetic UK ministerial attempts at brainwashing. They need to pick their socks up if they want even more pocket money from the public purse. How about a never ending fake flu pandemic?

Posted by: Carter | Jan 31 2021 7:14 utc | 61

Yes, Reagan sold out the country, and it has been downhill since, but it didn't start there. It has been an ongoing battle, the two president's assassinated between Lincoln and Kennedy were also non-interventionist, and favored good relations with Russia, and we're opposed to colonizing China.

Posted by: Haassaan | Jan 31 2021 7:26 utc | 62

In recent years I have increasingly often the feeling of living in a lunatic asylum. This story would be pretty funny - for instance as a part of a comedy movie - if it wasn't meant for real. Coat of arms of Montenegro ... that's so surreal.

Anyway, the people behind this farce wouldn't have come up with such a story if not really many Russians wouldn't perceive corruption as a major problem in Russia.

Posted by: m | Jan 31 2021 7:43 utc | 63

@51 time2wakeupnow

You asked for collateral on Russian military capability. I find the question strange, especially since you've read Russian analysts. And by the way, you're already here, at MoA, and you could just stay here and follow links from commenters. It's how we all learn. But in the spirit of innocent inquiry I offer these sources.

Discover who the Russians are and how they think, and be entertained in the discovery, from Dmitry Orlov (you'll enjoy this one):
Peculiarities of Russian National Character

Then search military analyst Andrei Martyanov's site for posts that seem to touch on the military capabilities of Russia, especially as they compare with (i.e. are in a fight with) the US:
Reminiscence of the Future...

And go look at the Saker. This is a big site with many years of analysis. Search for articles by the Saker himself. He writes on what would happen if the US waged war on Russia, or Iran...etc. For sheer entertainment, go back some years and see his analysis of how Russia would invade Ukraine, if what the western media said had happened, actually were to happen.

I don't resonate with his position on the optimism/pessimism spectrum - I think there is more cause for optimism than he does. But when he discusses firepower, as a military analyst he has the numbers down cold.
The Vineyard of the Saker

So. These are the maps to the gold mines, the treasure. I would expect you to spend time reading and learning - a lot of time. These subjects are worth thousands of hours of study. I don't talk down to you, but you supplicated, and so it seems the only way to respond. I made the effort to offer you the best of what I have.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 31 2021 7:47 utc | 64

Americans once again reveal that they have a singular talent for projecting their own vices and crimes onto their Official Enemies.

This is the same America that just had one ruler (Donald Trump) who specializes in creating outrageously obscene palaces for himself--like Mar-a-Lago or Trump Towers.

And this is the same America that has yet another ruler (Barack Obama) who purchased an opulent mansion in Martha's Vineyard for a measly little fortune of $11.75 Million.

https://www.homesandgardens.com/news/president-obama-new-house-marthas-vineyard

Vlad. Putin has got nothing on former American regime leaders in terms of excess.

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 31 2021 7:56 utc | 65

@63 m

Your first paragraph shows that the western propagandists are surreal. But then your second paragraph claims that they are only being true to reality by depicting a weakness in Russia. You mirror their own tortured dysfunction.

They keep trying to overthrow Russia by exploiting that weakness they wish existed, and every time they fail more and more.

Because it's not a weakness. It's called normal, multi-dimensional life, with all its nuances. And it pales in comparison to how greatly the Russians support their country and feel the correctness of its course and leadership.

What is revealed by each claim from a western proxy is the vast ignorance of the west in failing to understand the country it targets to exploit. The age of empire apparently is over and apparently it's for the limp, mundane reason that the imperialists can't even identify their victims clearly anymore.

If only the trolls who came here could take that message back to their dispatchers, that the cause is hopeless because the Russians simply refuse to be persuaded to buy the bullshit of the west. And you could make a new line of bullshit but this would require an open mind for creativity and this would mean...well, never mind.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 31 2021 8:06 utc | 66

This Putin Palace fairy tale is no different from White Helmets, Assad's chemical weapon attacks, Skripals, Navalny poisoning, MH17.....what they all have in common is that MINIMAL skepticism and investigation....in every case....easily exposes the fraud. Iskanov's video of construction site demolished the lies in seconds. To think that the Pevchikh had the gall to describe with eyewitness authority the nonexistent furniture in the nonexistent reading room...and their cost, in such detail...lol.

As Karl Rove said...“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Posted by: Foxenburg | Jan 31 2021 8:27 utc | 67

Slightly off topic about hookah's (often or maybe even usually simply called water pipes) here are my experiences:

· No need to use any kind of dung, a little coal in foil works and is used where there is a "lack" of donkeys (meaning everywhere) :P

· I've never turned green, however (maybe counterintuitively since the smoke is very smooth or at least smoother than most cigarettes —and I'm a Luckies or Silk Cut guy and those are among the smoothest meaning they have the smallest particles) if you smoke a lot your throat will go dry and you go hoarse (so again: no donkeys :P).

· …and of course one smokes a lot because it's fun to sit smoking apple-flavored tobacco passing around a tube from this giant metal and glass contraption that your "almost-military-intelligence" friend (same guy had/has a genuine large USSR flag decorating his living room) dragged out onto a sunny communal city rooftop somewhere around latitude 60 in the middle of summer.

Even more fun when some neighbor comes along and wonders exactly what kind of tobacco we're smoking :D (everyone always thinks its hashish and of course it never is, same with clove cigarettes).

Also: London had some nice hookah bars, this was before the ("pub") smoking ban (which is old now) so that probably killed them :( "Fun is verboten! Eat your insects and shut up!" :P

Sorry for dragging out memories of when I was alive :D

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 31 2021 8:43 utc | 68

Meh, if you point out Russia's weakness, you are called a troll, an agent.

But whatever, it doesn't change the truth. Russia is the weaklink of it, and Putin better fix it before he's gone.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 31 2021 9:02 utc | 69

Anyone who believes a concrete shell of a two-story building costs $1 billion is a chump.

Posted by: S | Jan 31 2021 9:16 utc | 70

It doesn't matter, wetherit is truew or not, or how stupid the claim is, people will only remember Putin or Russia in connection with something bad!

Posted by: padre | Jan 31 2021 9:31 utc | 71

@66 Grieved
I meanwhile had the time to read the link from Down South of the first comment and it pretty much confirms my previous assessment that corruption is perceived as a major problem by many Russians. I quess that proofes that Dance with Bears/John Helmer are western paid trolls who just don`t understand Russia.

Posted by: m | Jan 31 2021 9:51 utc | 72

Grieved | Jan 31 2021 7:47 utc | 64

May I suggest you add this site to your list. It is interesting in that it gives information on the pro's and con's of various military systems. (relatively neutral opinions). They seem to know their stuff and are up to date. Several sections are available at the top.

https://bulgarianmilitary.com/

---

Looking in my tea leaves I have found that the next world war will start because President Biden pushes the little red button thinking it is the call for room service.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 31 2021 10:53 utc | 73

Since this is a Navalny thread, Please compare the "uprising" in Vladivostok today;
https://twitter.com/parfitt_tom/status/1355753276344512513

With France yesterday
https://twitter.com/eha_deutsch/status/1355570910540034048

or 1990 BF (before Putin)
https://twitter.com/ValLisitsa/status/1355624256953004032

or down to the reality in Syria that the US/Israel would like to impose on others.
https://twitter.com/ajplus/status/1355524921246572544

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 31 2021 11:30 utc | 74

.
. I read the entire RT story about that place and much of the entire "comments" section. One comment was very thought-provoking and a very useful hint:
.
. The commentator speculated that Navaldnij might have realized that he was going to get the father-and-daughter Skipal treatment if he stayed on in the Natosphere and outlived his usefulness -- and get disappeared. "Better to rot a few years in a Russian jail that that", he must've thought: Although most possibly a paid traitor and a clumsy propagandist, he's not at all stupid.
((exemplum gratuit: Quisling was the best-ever graduate of the Norwegian officers' war college (Krigsskolen), a good administrator for Nansen during famine in Russia and liked to discuss Einstein's relativity with professors of physics and mathematics))
. Here's the article:
https://www.rt.com/russia/514128-rotenberg-beneficiary-putin-palace/
.
. How could Putin ever have gotten as far as he has without giving the Oligarcs the impression that he was willing to accept their corrupt ways and laundering their shit?

Posted by: Tadlak Davidovitsh | Jan 31 2021 12:33 utc | 75

@ Posted by: Down South | Jan 31 2021 6:57 utc | 58

Sure, Germany wanted to take the czar down. Germany and Russia were opposing sides in WWI, after all.

That doesn't mean the Kaiser was a Bolshevik. The world is a complex place.

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 13:17 utc | 76

So, Putin lives an austere, monk-like existence. Even so, he is the head of a system in which an oligarchy has managed to live like royalty. Here in NYC, everybody knows that Russian oligarchs live in obscene splendor. And you can bet that the money that pays for these properties comes out of banks linked to the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama. THis law firm, we can assume, handles much of Putin's stash as well. (https://www.icij.org/investigations/panama-papers/20160403-putin-russia-offshore-network/) Of course, none of this matters to MofA because the website considers all this part of "economic development" rather than what Andre Gunder Frank called the world of the lumpen-bourgeoisie.


NY Times, Oct. 5, 2018
Russian Oligarch Transfers $92.3 Million in Manhattan Property
By Vivian Marino

A wife of the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has become the new owner of six Upper East Side properties, including a block of townhouses being combined into a mega-mansion.

The transactions, totaling $92.3 million, were apparently part of a property settlement between Mr. Abramovich and his third wife, Darya Zhukova, who announced their split last year. They were also among the largest closings for the month of September, according to New York City property records.

But the single biggest sale last month, at $42 million, was a penthouse covering the entire 77th floor of One57, the vitreous skyscraper in the heart of Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row, at 157 West 57th Street. Monthly carrying charges are $15,214. The unnamed European seller took a loss, however, having paid nearly $47.8 million for the unit in May 2015. The 6,240-square-foot apartment has four bedrooms and five and a half baths, not to mention breathtaking views.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/realestate/russian-oligarch-transfers-92-3-million-in-manhattan-property.html

Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Jan 31 2021 13:31 utc | 77

Posted by: Tadlak Davidovitsh | Jan 31 2021 12:33 utc | 75

"How could Putin ever have gotten as far as he has without giving the Oligarcs the impression that he was willing to accept their corrupt ways and laundering their shit."

Excellent point, they keep trying to treat with him as though he was dumber than they are.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 31 2021 13:36 utc | 78

Louis N Proyect | Jan 31 2021 13:31 utc | 77

Billy boy Gates future yacht at $860 million. Penthouses are so passé

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub_-NY8cnD4&feature=emb_title

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 31 2021 14:05 utc | 79

@ Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Jan 31 2021 13:31 utc | 77

What's the point? The USG is filled with oligarchs and no American is even thinking about reforming their system. Why should they judge Russia?

Nobody here is contesting the fact that the Russian Federation is a capitalist oligarchy. But so is the USA. So are the micro-nations from Western Europe. So is Japan. So is South Korea (just look at the concept of the chaebols). I don't see anybody calling for those nations to have their regimes toppled in order to install proletarian dictatorships (socialism) in their place.

Plato has already taught us, more than 2,000 years ago, that debate can only happen within the realm of logic and reason. You can't freely choose the parameters in the middle of the debate whenever it suits your interests - otherwise it would be madness, a day in the hospice.

The false moralism from the West against the Russian Federation is even more absurd considering the fact that its oligarchic model was the IMF's idea (shock therapy). Indeed, it looked a brilliant one - while a president like Yeltsin was in charge. Not so brilliant now...

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 14:19 utc | 80

Yesterday, I was talking to my Brother who is an American Citizen. I am not.

Trying to steer him away from the Navalny "documentary", I mentioned to him and sent him a link to a report
featuring the "unlavishness" of these bare walls and I could not budge him from the brainwashing he got from his MSM.

In the end he said:" Why does it bother you? you don't live in Russia." So I had to reply,:"I do not want to be complicit with character assassination because it pleases your criminal country."

"The world would be better off if it were not for your (US Citizens) shenanigans that make life miserable for all other countries. As long as you cheer your Govt decisions , you are an accomplice. I am so sorry
to have to accept that notion!"

Look at Circe: she cries about poor Navalny. But not a tear for Assange. Not a word about his plight.
Is it because Navalny is a good looking guy? and Assange is not? Is it because Navalny is an
asset of her CIA bosses?

Who knows?

Posted by: CarlD | Jan 31 2021 16:36 utc | 81

good questions from @ 80 vk and @ 81 carld... i suspect you both won't be getting answers either for the obvious reasons...

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2021 17:41 utc | 82

One of our more ironic patterns here in the capitalist Free World is that when we want to put pressure on some foreign government , or justify murder & warfare, we accuse the leader of the the community we want to destroy of getting rich unfairly.
Often we include the depravity of the target leader's sons in our narratives.

Posted by: dave constable | Jan 31 2021 18:09 utc | 83

@ Sunny Runny Burger (68)

Re: Sorry for dragging out memories of when I was alive :D

Don't apologise, it reminds me of the time i was alive too.

Posted by: MarkU | Jan 31 2021 18:45 utc | 84

A question that some of the people posting here might like to consider.

If Russia really was as corrupted as some people maintain then why the necessity to fabricate stories? If John Helmer's 'Dances with Bears' is a treasure trove of real corruption scandals then why not use them? Putting the boot into an already exposed, completely-dead-in-the-water scandal costs nothing and helps to maintain the facade of impartiality.

Posted by: MarkU | Jan 31 2021 19:15 utc | 85

I think I finally figured it out. I found the key. But before I reveal the Truth, I would like to offer a 'plug' as they say, for one of my favorite finds on the Internets. It's none other than the totally inscrutable Dr. James Fetzer, who has a website that is a wonderland of every possible conspiracy theory you could name. The only one he has entirely ruled out is the Flat Earth Theory. If you go to his website, I think you will find that it is next to impossible to figure out his political positions. For instance he covers everything from the JFK assassination to endorsing the Fake Moon Landings. Honestly, he has a great background as a highly 'decorated' professor of the philosophy of science at the University of Minnesota. It would be really hard for me to be at all sure about the moon landings, because that wold require a really deep dive into the technical details, which would just take too long. I don't think Dr. Fetzer will take up the 'Putin Lives In A Giant Palace' conspiracy, but he might spring for the 'Great Attempted Novichok™ Assassinations' conspiracy. My point here is that even if you believe in all these conspiracies, you will be far better informed than if you indulge in the typical 'New York Times' conspiracies. Try it: James Fetzer -- Exposing Falsehoods and Revealing Truths.

Now, (for the key) I'm sure we have all heard about the NAZI theory that 'if you really want to tell a lie, it must be a Big Lie' theory. Well, yeah I guess, but it has gradually been dawning on me that the USSA narrative spinners have simply taken it to the next level. This is my 'Bigger and Absurd Lie' theory. It works like this: The lie has to be not only huge, but unquestionably absurd, to be believed by USSAans. For instance: 'nineteen people from Arabia destroyed the World Trade Center with box cutters (including Bldg. 7, somehow). You really believe that? And who really cares if Putin lives in a giant (fake) palace? Or if the obviously fake attempted Novichoc™ assassinations were real? See my point: people believe in them because they are not merely big, but absurd.

Posted by: blues | Jan 31 2021 20:06 utc | 86

@blues | Jan 31 2021 20:06 utc | 86

Hmmm, Jim Fetzer, rings a bell...

Isn't he one of the lead singers of the famous band "The Tar Babies", together with falsetto soprano Gordon Duff?

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 1 2021 0:26 utc | 87

A high level chinese banker was executed for accepting bribes and for bigamy. In a more sane world we might use his execution as a cautionary tale....
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9204601/Former-head-Chinese-state-asset-firm-Lai-Xiaomin-executed.html

Posted by: migueljose | Feb 1 2021 0:45 utc | 88

@ Posted by: Down South | Jan 31 2021 6:57 utc | 58

American ignoramus posing as a historian. This is truly surreal, as Lenin returned to Russia some time AFTER the fall of the Czar. But do not let this insignificant fact destroy your fictional history. I guess Lenin caused the February Revolution with his Jedi powers.

That is, if one ignores the veritable horror show of a mismanagement that impoerial Russia had to endure during WWI. I mean, when the monarchists themselves denounced the Empress as a German traitor ("nemka", the "German woman") openly, one understands how things did not require any socialist revolutionary to subvert this ruined monarchy. The diaries and correspondence of the very members of the imperial house of Romanov are very revealing about the exasperation of the Czar's own kin about the freefall course of the monarchy under this set of Nicky and Alexandra.

In fact, no few communists share your delusions about the fall of the Russian monarchy by imaginary Bolshevik subversion, but it doesn't change this most basic historical fact: that the only Russian government the Reds toppled was that of the failed moderate socialist-turned-liberal Alexander Kerensky who couldn't implement even basic popular policies.

Suffice to say that so utterly unpopular was this joker and so easy and downright goofy the fall of his Provisional Government that the Bolsheviks themselves felt embarassed by the lack of climactic, epic-style events that led to the takeover. Indeed, the official presentation of events and Eisenstein's film are fancy fiction compared with the Monty Python scenario that was the fall of the completely discredited Kerensky government and the rise of the Soviet Republic, an otherwise monumental event in history.

Posted by: Constantine | Feb 1 2021 3:03 utc | 89

You can't freely choose the parameters in the middle of the debate whenever it suits your interests - otherwise it would be madness, a day in the hospice.

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2021 14:19 utc | 80

----

That certainly os good advoce, and it would very much benefit both you and everyone else here were actually follow your own advice.

Unfortunately, like the excerable Mr LP, freely changing the parameters in the middle of the debate whenever it suits your interests, is something you yourself are frequently very prone to do

Posted by: Triden | Feb 1 2021 4:17 utc | 90

The anti Russia/Putin brigade are still flogging a dead horse.

John Helmer's article on the Putin Palace link below. There are other articles before this article on what they will try charging Navalny with.

http://johnhelmer.net/oligarchy-in-russia-alexei-navalnys-telling-mistake/#more-45818

Posted by: Debz | Feb 1 2021 5:47 utc | 91

So much finger pointing going on here all to no avail, altho I do wonder WTF the most notorious zionist on decent blogs has returned to posting here. My only conclusion is that even the neolib sites have banned his BS propaganda.
Anyway this is what I decided reading this week's tosh:

Hmm, much back and forth about who said what 150 years ago, but none of it is prepared to recognise the reality that AFAIK, every nation state on this rock (and I have visited & hung out in more than a few) is rife with elitism where a privileged few parasite off of the intellect, labour and intentions of the many.
You can attach whatever label you choose to the dominant class (all fit somewhere), capitalist, neo-liberal, communist or socialist but the fact remains that evry nation state on planet earth has been designed to exploit the masses.
Our only real protection can ever be ensuring that there cannot be more than 2 degrees of separation between decision makers and any citizen. It is doubtful that essential will sit well with jaded intellectuals who seem nore motivated by the notion "If it was me running the world as a socialist/communist/ neoliberal/ liberal/ anarchist/capitalist/ fascist everything would be much better - no one would be complaining because either everyone would be happy or we'd have eliminated everyone who wasn't - basically the same thing.

In other words the real problem we face is that few are prepared to acknowledge the basic decency of all our brothers and sisters - especially if it stands between our ideal and power, we ignore the fact that most of the humans we know are good humans - even when they've been propagandised by bulldust..

This has caused a mug's game pretty much begging to be exploited by the usual gang of exploiters of whatever economic pedigree. We have been tricked into believing who ever is at the top of the pyramid is more important than our friends and family most of whom are at the bottom, the foundations of our society.
I call bullshit! even the xtian fascism of my neighbour is a more honestly held point of view than that of over-read dingbats forever arguing if there are more lenins sitting on a pinhead than there are trots.

Those chaps have been dead for a century - meaning my stupidly indoctrinated neighbour has a better grip on the here and now than any dead jew.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 1 2021 8:57 utc | 92

The way I see it, media pushing the volume in such a forceful manner is similar to an artillery barrage prior to a land operation. In this case, the battle field requiring softening is our own hearts and minds.

It's simple marketing of a product which is inherently toxic to the vast majority of consumers. It's important to carefully frame the narrative lest people wander freely over the entire field of discussion and stumble on simple questions such as : does it make sense to voluntarily restrict our gas supply when our industries are having such a hard time staying competitive? Why can't I sell my apples to russians like I used to? Explain this war with Eurasia thing again, what's in it for me?

The Skripal circus has demonstrated that what matters isn't the content of the noise but tone and volume.

Most people have completely surrendered all interest in foreign politics. They entertain the illusion of having an active opinion on things like, you know, issues, Aleppo and stuff, but in reality can't place Syria on a map. The black sea mansion, the novichok, all these noises are the score of a blockbuster film guiding an inattentive audience through the story line.

Posted by: robin | Feb 1 2021 9:48 utc | 93

The Dances With Bears article cited in some of the comments (#1, #91) is definitely worth the read. Macron and the French MSM are calling for Nordstream 2 to be ditched - I have no idea why, as France has nothing to gain one way or the other, as far as I can make out. But Nordstream does seem to be the main underlying cause of the current Navalny hype anyway. I doubt that his return to Russia at the same time as the new US administration's taking power is just a coincidence.

Posted by: B. Wildered | Feb 1 2021 11:49 utc | 94

Actually the fancy renderings are supposed to show the situation pre-2014 though the documentary is ambiguous about that, I think deliberately. It does mean the truth of the renderings is hard to verify since the physical proof is either gone or never existed. Also it makes one wonder why an old scandal is being digged up again - with new renderings.

The bit about the coat of arms above the gate is both speculative and beside the point. the imperial eagle varies in its representation. The 'fake' designation is not convincing. John Helmer's angle is good: the corruption is real, putting Putin's face on the corruption is a distortion. A propaganda construct: give the enemy a face and an individuality.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Feb 1 2021 12:16 utc | 95

Imperial eagle: Here's a picture from Dmitry Shevchenko 2011, looks like an eagle on a globe to me, just like the example below from Saint Petersburg.
https://elpais.com/internacional/2021-01-30/el-ecologista-que-se-colo-en-el-presunto-palacio-de-putin-y-documento-su-lujo.html

https://ryanphunter.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/the-double-headed-eagle-a-symbol-at-once-both-ancient-and-new/.
So if the renderers got things wrong, hey it was a rush job.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Feb 1 2021 13:06 utc | 96

What CNN, NYT & Marjorie Taylor Greene have in common

Conspiracy Theories a while back I posted on what drives people like Marjorie Taylor Greene to accept conspiracy theories and MoA's article here reinforces one of my tenets.

The victim wants to believe it so bad that they are willing to suspend disbelief in critical thinking. CNN, the NYT, and our dimwit MSM is so convinced that Putin is evil that any accusation made against him is true as long as it sounds plausible.

Likewise, Marjorie Taylor Greene believes that any theory where the punchline is, 'they are trying to take away my guns' must be true as long as long as it is possible for it to be true. Sure, all of the mass shootings could have been staged, I guess, I can't immediately prove they were not but that would mean all of the police records falsified. I can't prove that George Soros didn't pay to have them falsified but I'm not going to start out believing that just because I can't immediately prove that it's not true (and if I did then that would mean that they got to me).

I hope my post, didn't give you a headache.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Feb 1 2021 15:38 utc | 98

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Feb 1 2021 13:06 utc | 96

Anything published by "El País" about Russia is like listening to Navalny directly, so please quote another source since that one lacks any credibility at all.

Posted by: Paco | Feb 1 2021 15:47 utc | 99

? Does this mask muffle my voice? I showed the picture the rendering is most likely based on. If there was some tampering in the picture that may be significant. Who knows, maybe there was no iron gate originally. But if there are differences between the picture and the rendering then it's a mere mistake by the artist doing the modeling after the photograph. Such mistakes mean very little. Whether El Pais is reliable on Russia is not relevant in the second case.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Feb 1 2021 16:51 utc | 100

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