Russia’s Secret Service, the Federal Protective Service (FSO), isn’t responsible for protecting any properties in the Black Sea resort town of Gelendzhik or in any of its surrounding areas, the department told RBC on Wednesday, January 27.
This statement came in response to questions about reports that a billion-dollar luxury residence in the area, supposedly built for Russian President Vladimir Putin, is under the FSO’s protection.
The FSO also added that there aren’t any prohibitions or restrictions in place in the aforementioned territories.
Also on Wednesday, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) told RBC that the no-fly zone over Cape Idokopas (the location of Putin’s “palace” near Gelendzhik) was established by the Russian Transport Ministry in July 2020 in the interests of border security.
According to the FSB, the no-fly zone was put in place due to “the increased intelligence activity of a number of neighboring states, including members of the NATO bloc.”
The FSB’s Krasnodar Krai branch also commissioned a border guard post near Cape Idokopas in October 2020, the service clarified. The FSB denied reports that there are prohibitions in place preventing boats from sailing in the area around the cape.
Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) published an investigation into “Putin’s Palace” on January 19, 2021. The report maintains that a $1.35-billion luxury residence was built for Vladimir Putin outside of Gelendzhik. According to the FBK, the palace’s construction was financed through a corruption scheme linked to private and state-controlled companies run by members of Putin’s inner circle. The investigation also claims that the property is under the FSO’s protection, that there’s a no-fly zone over its location, and that it’s inaccessible from the Black Sea.
On Monday, January 25, Putin said that the palace doesn’t belong to him or his family members. The next day, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the property’s owners are “obviously businessmen” and emphasized that the Kremlin “has no right” to disclose their names. Peskov advised journalists to address questions about the closed-off areas around the “palace” to the FSB and FSO directly.