Navalny's Team Targets Putin With New Exposé Ahead Of Planned Protests.

MOSCOW -- The team of imprisoned Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny has published details of what it alleges is a lavish residence belonging to President Vladimir Putin and kept from public view, the latest salvo in the opposition’s push to boost expected turnout for planned protests and maintain pressure on the Kremlin ahead of parliamentary elections expected this fall.

The video investigation, which had attracted 2.7 million views on YouTube within the first 20 hours of its publication on April 15, alleges that Putin’s fourth official residence, on 150 hectares of land located near Lake Valdai northwest of Moscow, contains sumptuous interiors and includes a large spa center not revealed to Russian taxpayers.

"Why on earth are we financing the construction of Putin's private spa-complexes?” Navalny aide Maria Pevchikh asks in the video. "Why on earth are billions of rubles of taxpayer money going to one person’s decompression, mud-therapy and antiaging procedures?"

Investigations released by Navalny and his team over the past year have been viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube. The new probe comes just weeks after separate videos shed light on a $1.35 billion Black Sea palace allegedly built for Putin and the circumstances around Navalny’s poisoning in Siberia last August, which the anti-corruption crusader blames on Putin and the Federal Security Service.

Citing property records, Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) says part of the land is formally registered to a company called Praym LLC, which, according to the FBK, is owned by billionaire banker Yury Kovalchuk, the main shareholder of Bank Rossiya and one of Putin’s oldest friends.

FBK says that there are about 80 buildings on the land leased from Praym, including a four-story, 3,500-square-meter mansion, a Chinese-style pavilion, a Russian-style izba (wooden cabin), baths, saunas, a stable, a golf course, and a VIP restaurant that includes a cinema, bowling, billiards, and a small casino. The property also has its own church. Near the main building is an even larger one containing a spa complex with two underground floors and a total area of nearly 7,000 square meters (almost 75,350 square feet), according to FBK.

Navalny, Putin's most-vocal critic, was sentenced in February to 2 1/2 years in prison on charges he says were fabricated to sideline and discredit him. He was arrested in January after returning from Germany, where he was treated for the poison attack that European laboratories said involved a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group.

WATCH: Pole Dancing And Fancy Toilet Brushes: Millions Watch Navalny Video On Alleged 'Putin Palace'

The new video also comes amid a push by Navalny’s aides, who have pledged to continue opposition activism, to boost expected turnout at fresh protests slated to take place in coming weeks. Anti-government rallies across Russia in January elicited a violent law enforcement crackdown and a concerted legal campaign against Navalny’s supporters throughout the country, which continues to reverberate with new raids and arrests almost three months after the demonstrations ended.

Citing the violence deployed by police, and the clear dangers faced by protesters, Navalny’s aides in early February called for a cessation of street demonstrations in favor of a redoubled focus on compiling evidence of state corruption ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for September, which will occur against the backdrop of falling ratings for ruling party United Russia. The decision, which came as hundreds of protesters languished in squalid jails awaiting trial, prompted indignation from some Navalny supporters.

On March 23, Navalny’s aides placated some of the disillusioned supporters with a new initiative aimed at gauging protest potential. They launched a website on which Russians could register anonymously to take part in the next protest wave in support of Navalny, marking their location on an interactive map. Once the number of registered participants reaches 500,000, the team said, they will set a date for fresh protests.

Pevchikh and Georgi Alburov, her co-host in the latest video, ended the clip by urging viewers to sign up on the protest website.

But the same day the video was released, as the online protest tally reached 430,000, Navalny’s team was forced to apologize after reports emerged that thousands of e-mail addresses belonging to registered participants had been leaked online, apparently by hackers who then messaged the participants dismissing Navalny’s team as "losers."

Calling the leak “a retaliatory blow” in response to the latest video, Navalny aide Ivan Zhdanov said the leak contained only e-mail addresses, adding that their owners faced few consequences beyond receiving unsolicited messages discrediting Navalny and the broader opposition movement.

“We apologize for any nuisance caused,” Zhdanov wrote in a public message on the messenger Telegram. “We’ll do everything to make sure this never happens again."

With reporting by Meduza

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Latvia Recognizes Armenian Genocide

Latvia Recognizes Armenian Genocide

Latvia has recognized the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide, drawing an angry response from Turkey.

Radio Free Europe

Kevin McCarthy caught on hot mic trashing Liz Cheney after she spoke out against Trump.

Kevin McCarthy caught on hot mic trashing Liz Cheney after she spoke out against Trump.

HOUSE Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was caught on a hot mic slamming fellow GOP representative Liz Cheney just one day after she accused former President Donald Trump of “poisoning” democracy. Rep. McCarthy, a California Republican, told Steve Do...

Volunteers provide last resort help in India - DW News.

Volunteers provide last resort help in India - DW News.

India recorded 382,315 new infections on Wednesday, according to health ministry data, a day after India reached a grim milestone of becoming the second country to cross 20 million infections. According to the World Health Organization, India acco...

Tyrus: Woman who racially berated cop 'should be ashamed of herself'.

Tyrus: Woman who racially berated cop 'should be ashamed of herself'.

'Gutfeld!' panel reacts to the left's outrage at police officers. #FoxNews #Gutfeld Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering breakin...

President of Nigeria urged to declare state of emergency.

President of Nigeria urged to declare state of emergency.

The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, is being urged by lawmakers to declare a state of emergency as the country faces growing security crises on multiple fronts. CNN's Zain Asher speaks with with Nicholas Norbrook, Managing Editor of The Af...

BREAKING: 'Not the time for a reckless referendum' on Scottish Independence, says Boris Johnson.

BREAKING: 'Not the time for a reckless referendum' on Scottish Independence, says Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson has dismissed a second referendum on Scottish independence, saying that people feel 'this is not the time'. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Instagram: For more...

G7 rocked by Covid-19 scare after 'two positive cases amongst Indian delegation'.

G7 rocked by Covid-19 scare after 'two positive cases amongst Indian delegation'.

Wednesday's G7 meeting in London has been rocked by a Covid-19 scare after two members of the Indian delegation tested positive. The country's entire team is now self-isolating, but will still try to attend meetings of the group virtually. Senior ...