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9 Feb, 2021 09:54

1 in 4 Russians saw Navalny’s explosive ‘Putin’s Palace’ documentary but majority say it hasn’t changed view of president – poll

1 in 4 Russians saw Navalny’s explosive ‘Putin’s Palace’ documentary but majority say it hasn’t changed view of president – poll

With its glitzy interiors and digital dance studio, an opulent manor on Russia’s Black Sea coast said to be owned by President Vladimir Putin certainly raised eyebrows. Now, it appears many are skeptical of the allegations.

A new study of more than 1,600 Russians by the Moscow-based Levada Center estimates that over a quarter of the country’s adult population watched the video which made the claims online. Produced by imprisoned opposition figure Alexey Navalny and his group, the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), it alleges that the multimillion-dollar pile is the secret private retreat of the president.

The FBK, registered as a ‘foreign agent’ by Russia’s Ministry of Justice, showed off a series of photoshop renderings featuring glamorous interiors, a casino, pool, and even a striptease lounge.

Also on rt.com Kremlin rejects Navalny allegation that Putin has secret Black Sea palace complete with casino, theater & private striptease bar

However, despite attracting more than 100 million views after airing on YouTube, not all of those who watched the documentary were sympathetic to its claims. A third of viewers sampled said they were certain that the allegations were untrue. A further 38 percent said that, while there might be some truth in the explosive claims, it was difficult to assess their credibility. Only around 17 percent said they were confident in the veracity of the film.

More than half of Russians suggested they were unconcerned about the allegations. The overwhelming majority, 77 percent of those polled, said it did not change their attitude towards Putin; 29 percent insisted that the president had never abused his power, and a further 24 percent said that, even if he had, life in the country got better under him. Seventeen percent said they thought Putin is guilty, and a quarter say he is, but only as much as other high-ranking officials. Young people were more likely to be critical of the president on this basis.

Another poll published last week by the Levada Center, which is also registered as a foreign agent by the Russian government, found that Putin’s overall approval rating has dropped one point, with 64 percent of Russians saying they thought favorably of him. Around a third said they didn’t approve of his activities, and only two percent didn’t express an opinion. The president’s support was strongest among those aged 55 and older, but a majority in every age group viewed his time in office as favorable thus far, including 51 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Also on rt.com Putin’s approval rating drops slightly to 64%, while Navalny overtakes Communist Party leader in new Russian opinion poll

The supposed revelations about the estate in Gelendzhik were aired shortly after Navalny was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on charges of breaching the terms of a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for fraud. Responding to the claims, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that “in reality, this is not true.” Construction tycoon Arkady Rotenberg has since come forward to claim he is the beneficiary, and is working to turn the location into a luxury hotel.

In late January, reporters from the Mash news channel visited the property. However, instead of being met by butlers and offered a flutter in the private casino, they found only an unfinished shell and a group of slightly bemused construction workers. The channel’s editor-in-chief, Maxim Iksanov, described it as “a big pile of concrete.”

Also on rt.com Building dubbed ‘Putin’s Palace’ by Navalny is an empty shell, say Russian journalists in video from Black Sea building site

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