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How it became a hotel As Navalny’s investigation into ‘Putin’s palace’ gained tens of millions of views on YouTube, the Kremlin shifted from denying any interest in the property to exposing its ‘owners’

Source: Meduza
Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation

It took less than two weeks for Alexey Navalny’s documentary film about Vladimir Putin’s alleged seaside “palace” to reach 100 million views on YouTube. Since the investigative report was released, various associates and Kremlin officials — even the president himself — have tried to convince Russians that Navalny discovered nothing. Meduza examines how the authorities’ rhetoric evolved as the investigative report exploded online.

January 19

10 million views

This record is long played out. Many years ago, we explained that there are no palaces belonging to Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to “Podyem

January 20

25 million views

Here the president is being implicated in property that doesn’t exist… It’s utter nonsense — an unfounded fabrication and nothing more. We, therefore, don’t have the slightest inclination to look into it.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov — press conference

January 25

85 million views

Nothing of what is shown there as my property belongs, or has ever belonged, to me, my friends, or relatives… They pieced it all together, decided to brainwash our citizens with it, and released it on the Internet as some kind of movie or video program.

President Vladimir Putin, addressing a group of students

Background

It’s good to be the president Meduza spoke to contractors who helped build Vladimir Putin’s alleged seaside palace. Also, new blueprints reveal a subterranean fortress, multiple ‘aqua-discos,’ and more.

Background

It’s good to be the president Meduza spoke to contractors who helped build Vladimir Putin’s alleged seaside palace. Also, new blueprints reveal a subterranean fortress, multiple ‘aqua-discos,’ and more.

January 26

90 million views

The [palace] is owned by businessmen. It is, in fact, a large site well-known in Gelendzhik. And one or several [businessmen] own the site directly or indirectly. You most likely will agree that the Kremlin does not have the right to divulge the names of those owners. And we are not planning to do so… Are we supposed to get into private property? How exactly do you propose we do that? It’s not possible.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov — press conference

January 29

100 million views

It’s an apartment-hotel, like a hotel – with suites, common areas, and a pool. It’s a hotel.

Igor (masked construction worker appearing in a news broadcast the “Rossyia 1” state TV network’s program “Vesti”)

January 30

103 million views

It was a complex property with many investors, and I managed to become the beneficiary… We want to build an apartment-hotel. Hence the relatively high number of rooms… The acquisition went through a few years ago. It’s a magnificent place — perfect for a hotel. I understood that it’s a somewhat scandalous and difficult building. But, mark my words, in two or three years, I’ll invite you to have a look and you will see just how splendid it is.

Arkady Rotenberg, businessman and longtime friend of Vladimir Putin, in an interview with Russian news outlet “Mash

We won’t give up Because you’re with us

Text by Petr Lokhov

Translation by Peter Bertero

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