Bizarre feature inside Vladimir Putin's 'palace' revealed

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A trove of leaked photos have given an unprecedented look into the lavish retreat of one of the world's richest leaders.

Dubbed "Putin's Palace", the Russian president Vladimir Putin has long denied the opulence of the mysterious mansion.

But a large dump of photos show inside the palace, including one room fitted with a pole dancing stage.

Other rooms show a casino, an ostentatious swimming pool and a large theatre.

Emblems of the Russian double-headed eagle symbol can be seen throughout the building.
Inside the 'Putin Palace', emblems of the Russian double-headed eagle symbol can be seen throughout the building. Source: Anti-Corruption Foundation
Dancing pole pictured
This room in particualr drew a lot of attention online. Source: Anti-Corruption Foundation

"When I saw these photos I experienced probably, the widest range of emotions possible," wrote Russian investigative journalist and head of the investigative unit of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Maria Pevchikh.

"Shock first. You see with your own eyes what you imagined in detail. And here it is in front of you."

The photos were obtained by political opponents of the Russian dictator led by imprisoned Putin critic Alexei Navalny.

The group, known as the Anti-Corruption Foundation or FBK, made the photos available to journalists and posted a report online showing the gaudy interior of the palace, as well as floor plans.

Putin has long donw played reports surrounding the opulent getaway. Source:
Putin has long donw played reports surrounding the opulent getaway. Source: FBK
The sprawling mansion has reportedly been worked on for years.
The sprawling mansion has reportedly been worked on for years. Source: FBK

Russian activist Georgy Alburov and Bellingcat journalists shared a Google Drive link with all 479 photos on Friday.

A year ago, a video put out by Mr Navalny showed glimpses inside the palace including rendered images of what was supposedly inside. It quickly went viral in Russia.

According to the BBC, Russian TV then broadcast a very different report, showing pictures of an austere building with bare walls.

Putin has long denied the assertions made about the luxurious and decadent palace, calling the video which has racked up more than 121 million views on YouTube, "boring" and a "compilation and montage".

Russai mansion Putin Palace
The mysterious getawy is known as the Putin Palace. Source: FBK

The BBC also spoke to several builders who claimed to have worked on the site between 2005 and 2020.

One worker, who reportedly visited the site back in 2011, spoke of mould growing after the building was left empty for years.

"I reckon around 1,500 people worked at the construction site at that point. There were Russians, Uzbeks, there were soldiers. There was a rush to get it finished," they told the publication.

It's unclear exactly when the leaked photos were taken with many showing the palace still under construction or newly finished.

Vladimir Putin has increasingly tightened his grip on power in Russia over recent years. While the true number is impossible to know, some reports put his personal wealth at as much as $70 billion.

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