Vladimir Putin has reportedly retreated to his secret “palace” as a wave of protests erupt following the Russian president’s partial mobilisation order.
Putin has been resting his “body and soul” at the 17,691 square metre luxury residence nestled in the Valdai Hills since last Wednesday evening, journalist Farida Rustamova quoted a source in a lengthy post on Friday.
“Next to the main house of the official residence there is a three-story spa complex with a cryo chamber, a mud bath and a float pool,” she wrote.
“There is also a hockey rink in this area, where the president likes to gather friends and play hockey, one of the sources says.”
Ms Rustamova also claimed that Putin’s video calling roughly 300,000 troops to the front line in Ukraine was pre-recorded and not broadcast live on Wednesday.
“At this time — 9 am — Putin is usually still asleep. Later that day, Putin travelled to Veliky Novgorod, where he attended a technical school and a concert,” she wrote.
“Immediately after the concert, as my interlocutors say, Putin began a break in public activities, and it will last at least a week.”
The existence of the sprawling residence where Putin is reportedly seeking refuge as chaos breaks out across the country was first revealed by jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny last year in a detailed Youtube video titled “Putin’s palace”.
In the video, Mr Navalny claimed that it is “the most secret and guarded facility in Russia, without exaggeration.”
“This is not a country house, not a dacha, not a residence — this is a whole city, or rather a kingdom.
“It has impregnable fences, its own port, its own guards, a church, its own access control, a no-fly zone and even its own border checkpoint.”
Putin vehemently denied the claims about the palace after the footage emerged, deeming it “boring”, the BBC reported at the time.
Claims Russian authorities want to conscript 1.2 million
As police arrest more than 700 people, including some children, at protests in Moscow, St Petersburg and Siberia, claims Russian authorities are trying to conscript 1.2 million people for the partial mobilisation has tensions bubbling even higher.
Independent news site Meduza reported on the alleged plan on Friday, citing a source close to one of the Russian federal ministries.
The source claimed the government is conscripting people “in rural areas, where there’s no media, no opposition, and more support [for the war]”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed the reports as false.
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