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Putin’s favorite bikers just got a ton of Crimean real estate almost for free

Photo: Artur Widak / NurPhoto / REX / Vida Press

Sevastopol authorities have allocated 227 hectares (about 560 acres) of real estate to the Night Wolves, a Russian biker group closely associated with Vladimir Putin. The land is valued at roughly 1.2 billion rubles ($24.4 million), though the bikers are expected to pay just 0.1 percent of this amount, according an official announcement on the Sevastopol government’s website.

The Night Wolves are being leased the land to construct a “sporting-patriotic center for extreme sports.” State officials say the Night Wolves are engaged in public service of a “socially oriented nature.” The bikers are paying such a low price, the government says, because their organization will promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage “military-patriotic education.”

The lease agreement says the Night Wolves must use 1 percent of the land to build facilities for “food services,” “hospitality,” and “entertainment.”

According to a recent report by Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption group, the Night Wolves have received as much as 56 million rubles ($1.1 million) in state grants in the past two years, including a 15-million-ruble ($306,000) grant from the Ministry of Culture for an international motorcycle show in Sevastopol in July 2014.

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