Arrests at Putin’s Mega Mansion


Recently the news hit the Russian internet concerning the arrests of a group of environmental activists and a female journalist working near the so-called “Putin dacha,” in the area of Gelendzhik on the Idokopas cape. The three activists, Dmitry Shevchenko, Suren Gazaryan and Yekaterina Solovyova, formed part of the Ecological Watch for the North Caucasus. Rimma Akmirova, the journalist, is a reporter for the newspaper “Sobesednik.”

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According to other greens in their organization, the activists traveled to Putin’s palace in order to “conduct a civic ecological inspection of the construction of the given facility, the legality of which has given rise to doubts.”

It goes without saying that the authorities making these arrests have refrained from comment, however we do know that they have confiscated the personal items and equipment of the ecologists, including two notebooks, four photo cameras, two telephones, a modem, a GPS navigator – totaling more than 130,000 rubles worth of property (past experience would indicate that this property will be “lost” or somehow failed to be returned).

As the arresting officers do not feel obliged to interact with the public and the press, many questions remain. Who assaulted the ecologists and the journalist, and under what grounds did the arrests occur? The victims themselves allege that an employee of the Federal Protection Service, Albert Nikitin, and head of security of the residence by the name of Tahir and ChOP “Rubin” were involved.

The observing side, as I understood, were the local police Tsyndin and Svechnik of Gelendzhik. Subsequently border guards and GIBDD inspectors arrived. (You wouldn’t believe the complex rankings and divisions of security officers, denoting their courage and vigilance in the privilege of protecting Putinite property). Employees of the FSO, the security guards, and the police were restraining these “dangerous” activists and the journalist on the road by the residence, holding them over the course five hours.

After this, they filed a charge against them of theft… of some telephone and delivered them to the police branch of the settlement of Divnomorskoye. There they held them until midnight. Then they let them go. In so doing, to return the stolen property, money and things they refused. They had evidently taken a liking to what had been taken…

I telephoned Suren Gazaryan and asked him to comment on what had happened. He recounted that he had found this whole detention funny, but that it was still necessary to butt heads with the security guards. Yes, they had taken everything from them, but they had been able to upload photos and even video materials. Now the Ekovakhta activists and the “Sobesednik” correspondent are found at liberty, and have all gone their separate ways.

Before this in the Gelendzhik branch of the investigative administration of the investigative committee of the RF for Krasnodar Kray they wrote statements to the name of the heads of the IC RF based on the fact of a violation of legality on the part of FSO employees, who had participated in their detaining, the raising of unlawful demands and the theft of things. Besides that, filed were statements likewise about the employees of the Gelendzhik police, who were present during the commission of the crimes and factually participated in them. (What the responses will be, if there will be any at all, it is not difficult to guess. No need to go to the old woman here…)

I asked Suren who they had come across on the way to the dacha. He recounted that they had chatted with some Italian by the name of Giuseppe. At first he took the ecologists for representatives of a construction team. Then, having understood his mistake, he got scared and phoned the FSB-niks.

About the «secret» facility itself, it is known that the finishing work on it is being done by Italians; the construction materials too they brought from the motherland of Putin’s friend Berlusconi.

Judging by a photo of the facility itself – a building in the Stalinist Empire style. During the times of the «leader of all peoples and friend of physical culturists» all dachas were owned by the state, which is why the style is like that – great-power-pompous. It is strange that during the times of the judoist-pilot-singer.. (one can continue the list without end), this style has been preserved. Nostalgia?

Bloggers write that this style – is asiatic-provincial. And they mull over the question: surely the descendants of the great Rastrelli, putting the finishing touches on the apartments, do not see the sordidness of this style?

If we return to the topic of the arrests, then it is not difficult to notice that the employees of the FSO had grossly violated the rights of the people. They, by the way, did not provide any confirmations to their words about how «this is private territory». Judging by the mettle with which the FSB-niks and the ChOP-pers repelled the «aggression» of the ecologists and the journalist, they know precisely who that private owner who holds the facility in demesne is.

…Here’s what I’m thinking about. Okay, fine, let us allow as how Putin & Co don’t love Russians and hide from them in various forbidden corners of Russia. (And not only Russia). But then you’ve got to issue a law, according to which the curiosity of the rabble must be punished. So that in the future, they wouldn’t make a habit out of going and looking at how the celestial dwellers live.

Photographs of the secret facility can be seen here.

Grigory Pasko

Grigory Pasko is a Russian journalist and publisher of an environmental magazine. In November 1997 Pasko was arrested by FSB agents in Vladivostok and accused of espionage for publications on the environmental problems in the Japanese sea but found not guilty due to lack of evidence. He was found guilty of “abuse of his official position,” but released immediately under a general amnesty. He was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. His articles appear at Robert Amsterdam's website ( and are reprinted with permission.

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