Interestingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official salary has been listed as $115,000, almost six times the worth of its watch collection of $700,000. Apart from keeping the watches, Putin is also known for gifting the luxury watches as well, often spontaneously his very own wristwatch.
Putin last declared his income – US$115,000 – in December, a requirement to run in the March presidential vote, when his bank balance was US$179,612. But, the authors note, “his lifestyle can be compared to a Persian Gulf monarch or flamboyant oligarch”.
The whole of Russia stirs after the opposition group Solidarity produced a slick video that begins with a title “Watches of Kleptocrat’, listing President Putin’s ultra-expensive wristwatch collection worth of $700,000. Apparently, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has a reasonably soft spot and affection for luxury watches, but some people are wondering why these exquisite watches have not been hard on his wallet. Poking fun and suggesting this was an evidence of government fraud, the Solidarity video also questions how President Putin could afford to have such a lavish and extravagant watch collection, which actually worth’s six times his official annual salary.
Further, a crown jewel appears to be the Tourbograph is a $500,000 exquisite masterpiece produced by German watchmaker . This exotic timepiece boasts gold plated arms, platinum casing, sapphire crystal glass, and a hand-stitched crocodile leather strap. And, the Solidarity video also shows Putin wearing the watch.
The video also showcase Russian President wearing some of the like the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calender worth of $60,000, an $18,000 Patek Philippe Calatrava, a Breguet Marine worth of $15,000, a $10,500 Blancpain Leman Aqua Lung Grande Date, and $10,000 Blancpain Leman Flyback.
In the video, viewers will also find comparison of Vladimir Putin’s watches with President Barack Obama’s watch, which it says is a $200 model made by Jorg Gray, and is actually listed for just $350 on the company’s website, which is found plastered with President Obama’s photos wearing: link
“Putin of luxury life style as Gulf monarch has led Russia for more than 12 years,” the authors write. “Losing popularity, Putin is maniacally clinging to power. It’s clear why.”
It’s not just the “fear of losing his freedom, capital and property” or the influence of his inner circle, who have grown fantastically rich under his rule, they say. “One of the most serious reasons … is the atmosphere of wealth and luxury to which he has become accustomed and which he does not want to give up.”
According to the authors, Putin has overseen a phenomenal expansion in the awarding of presidential perks – 20 palaces and villas, a fleet of 58 aircraft, a flotilla of yachts worth 3 billion roubles (HK$730 million), a watch collection worth 22 million roubles and top-class Mercedes.
The report, ironically titled The Life of a Galley Slave, is the latest salvo in the opposition’s attempt to discredit Putin as they continue to challenge the legitimacy of his return to the presidency this year.
“In a country where more than 20 million people can hardly make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a blatant and cynical challenge to society by a limitless ruler,” the authors write.
With photographs of each palace, watch and aircraft, the report paints a colourful picture of the life enjoyed by Putin, who famously compared himself to a “galley slave” during a press conference in 2008. He said of his first two four-year terms as president: “All these eight years, I have laboured like a galley slave, with all my strength. I’m pleased with the results of my work.”
There are the columned facades of palaces outside Moscow, in the southern resort of Sochi, and dozens more around the country. On an island in the centre of Lake Valdai stands a 930-hectare estate serviced by a 1,000-strong staff that includes a “presidential church, swimming pool, two restaurants, movie theatre, bowling alley and helipad”.
The authors compare Putin’s nearly two dozen official residences to the number held by other state rulers – two for the leaders of the United States and Germany, and three for the president of Italy. Nine of the villas were built while Putin was at the helm of the country, they note.
The leader has long attempted to present an image of average Russian machismo. During a televised meeting of his participation in Russia’s nationwide census in 2010, Putin appeared on a drab beige sofa in one of the two modest flats he is officially registered as owning.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, could not be reached for comment. He has in the past called rumors of Putin’s personal wealth, revealed in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, “completely stupid”.
Nemtsov and Martynyuk say the 58 aircraft Putin has access to comprise 43 planes and 15 helicopters. One plane, an Ilyushin-96, features an US$18 million cabin fitted out by jewellers and is said to have a toilet that cost US$75,000 alone. The report lists four yachts, including the Olympia, which the authors dub “the real diamond in the Kremlin flotilla”. They say the five-storey yacht features a jacuzzi and marble bathroom and costs US$50 million a year to maintain.
The authors do not touch on Putin’s alleged personal wealth, instead highlighting how his lifestyle was afforded by taxpayer money which they say could have been better spent on improving the lives of the country’s citizens; link