Putin hides out in secret palace as Russian anger over mass conscription rises

Putin hides out in secret palace as Russian anger over mass conscription rises
Putin's mold-infested billion-dollar mansion

Russian ruler Vladimir Putin has an estimated wealth of at least $70 billion, and perhaps up to $200 billion, thanks to his ability to collect bribes and embezzle Russia’s wealth. As a result, he can afford mansions across Russia — like a billion dollar mansion on the Black Sea that later became infested with mold, or his secret forest palace in northern Russia.

Now, facing public disapproval of his costly and abortive invasion of Ukraine, Putin has disappeared from Russia’s capital to hide out in his “secret forest palace with its own personal beauty parlor,” reports the London Daily Mail. The secret palace is on Lake Valdai- about halfway between Russia’s capital, Moscow, and its second-biggest city, St. Petersburg. The palace boasts a three-level spa complex, a stable, golf course, billiard room and even a mini-casino. Putin’s departure from Moscow comes as over 700 people were detained by Russian authorities today at anti-draft demonstrations in a dozen major cities after 300,000 Russians were drafted earlier this week. As the Daily Mail notes:

There has been unrest in more than a dozen major cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita and Ivanovo, after 300,000 Russians were conscripted for perfunctory military training before being sent to Ukraine.

While the initial protests were quickly stamped out by Putin’s well-trained domestic security troops, new protests have broken out this afternoon in Moscow…Images show menacing, helmeted riot police manhandling brave men and women who ventured out into the rain to protest Putin’s mobilisation. Protesters have been accused of illegal rallies and in some cases discrediting Putin’s armed forces, which could lead to up to 15 years in jail.

Queues at the nation’s borders have appeared as young men attempt to flee Russia to avoid the draft, with European Council president Charles Michel advising EU members yesterday to offer asylum to conscientious objectors leaving Russia to avoid the draft.


Vladimir Putin has seemingly escaped to his  'most secret official dacha' in northern Russia (pictured) to escape the chaos triggered by his mobilisation announcement

Russia recently suffered large casualties in Ukraine, and was forced out of some portions of Ukraine it previously occupied. In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization, to draft 300,000 Russian men to fight in Ukraine. But many Russians have no desire to die in droves for Putin, the way many of Russia’s poorly-led and poorly-supplied soldiers already have perished in Ukraine. So thousands of Russian men are now fleeing Russia.Earlier this month, Ukraine’s forces launched a massive counterattack in the northeast of the country, reclaiming thousands of square miles of Russian-occupied land. Now, Putin is making noises about using nuclear weapons. And Ukraine is anticipating Russian retaliation, with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov saying he was expecting a counterattack.

Russia responded with intense shelling of the region around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, starting last Sunday. The city was left without electricity and water.

“The military story for the Kremlin is becoming worse,” says Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group president. “To the extent that continues, it pressures Putin into calling for a mobilization — likely a partial one but still a politically and socially costly move for the Russian president at home, that will force him into declaring war with Ukraine, and tacitly admitting that Russia is facing military problems,” he said in emailed comments. Russia has insisted on calling its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation,” not a war.

“Further, it makes Russian willingness to mete out Grozny-like ‘punishment’ onto the Ukrainians higher, both in terms of inflicting mass casualties on Ukraine through greater targeting of urban centers, as well as, in the worst case, using chemical or even tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield to sow mass panic,” Bremmer says.

Ukraine’s victories on the battlefield in recent days, and its liberation of dozens of towns and villages in the Kharkiv region, have left Russia scrambling to defend its territory in Donetsk and Luhansk, where two pro-Russian puppet “republics” are located, in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Russian forces were taken by surprise by Ukraine’s counterattack in the northeast of the country and were outnumbered. Russian forces hastily retreated, leaving behind vast stores of equipment and ammunition.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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