Russia

The 5 top luxuries of Vladimir 'galley slave' Putin

by Avaaz Team - posted 28 August 2012 16:37
Vladimir Putin laughs during a meeting
If you had Putin's perks, you'd smile too (AFP/Getty)

It's good to be the king – err, democratically elected president of Russia. And perhaps that's one of the reasons Vladimir Putin seems so committed to staying in office. Russia's strongman is reported to have become quite wealthy during his career as a government employee. Indeed, few private fortunes could stretch to the luxuries of his current gig (one he's held longer than Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev combined).

Russian opposition members have released a report –The Life of a Galley Slave – detailing alleged excesses of the Russian presidency. Why "galley slave"? Because that's how Putin once described himself. What he forgot to mention is that being president of Russia also seems to be a lot like being the love child of Hosni Mubarak and Imelda Marcos.

Here are the top five items from the report:

1) President Putin has access to more than 20 "homes". Of the list of estates – which reads like a mise en scene for Anna Karenina – the loveliest may be the Constantine Palace, or Strelna, outside St Petersburg. Envisioned by Peter the Great and long presided over by the Romanovs, Putin had Strelna renovated after assuming the presidency.

(The Life of a Galley Slave)

(Add to that a few more palaces and a ski lodge. One mustn't be without a choice of summer and winter residences. Average monthly salary of Russians? About $736.)

2) Putin also has access to about 43 private jets and 15 helicopters. Of the whole billion-dollar-plus fleet, the gem may be the Ilyushin II-96, which features artisanal craft work from the town of Sergiev Posad:

(The Life of a Galley Slave)

3) There's also four luxury yachts, including a 177-foot Sirius superyacht with six VIP cabins and a deck-top jacuzzi for six. The $100m-plus fleet costs an estimated one-tenth of its worth a year in maintenance.

(The Life of a Galley Slave)

4) Cars? The report estimates that a fleet of around 700 are available to the president's office and his retinue. Mercedes are a clear favorite – such as the armoured Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard Pullman and Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen.

(The Life of a Galley Slave)

5) Whether traveling by air, land or sea, it's always important for a head of state to be on time. Putin's got that covered too. Pics of the president's wrists shows at least 11 top-notch watches worth about $687,000. As a generous public servant, Putin has regally offered at least two Blancpains from his wrist to unsuspecting citizens.

Free Pussy Riot, Free Russia

Vladimir Putin lives like a tsar and rules like a Soviet president. A feminist punk band, Pussy Riot, which ridiculed Putin in a church performance has been sentenced to prison for two years. But now, we've found a way to show him there's a price to pay for behaving like a bullying autocrat. Click below to find out how:
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