Putin has escaped to a secret palace in a forest amid anti-draft protests in Russian cities, report says

Authored by businessinsider.com and submitted by atrijuk

Vladimir Putin has escaped to a secret palace amid anti-draft protests in Russia, per a report.

OVD-Info said 724 people were detained across 32 different cities on Saturday.

Putin intends to stay at the palace until at least Thursday, a journalist said, citing three sources.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin escaped to his secret palatial complex near Lake Valdai, halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg, amid anti-draft protests in Russia, MailOnline was first to report.

According to independent journalist Farida Rusamova, who cited three sources familiar with Putin's schedule, the Russian president traveled to his vacation home on Wednesday.

He has been resting his "body and soul" at the luxury complex, which is situated within a forest, Rusamova said in a Telegram post.

MailOnline reports that it boasts a three-story spa building, complete with a float pool and mud bath, and a personal beauty parlor.

Drone footage shows a massive spa building at the Lake Valdai property. Navalny.com

There is little publicly accessible information about the secret property but according to the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was founded by the imprisoned Russian activist Alexei Navalny, the residence is Putin's personal favorite.

Drone footage of the Lake Valdai property. Navalny.com

Navalny's organization claims that the property is partially owned by Yuri Kovalchuk — the billionaire who is described as Putin's personal banker.

A photo shows the main building of the Lake Valdai palace. Navalny.com

Rusamova claimed that Putin intends to stay at the complex until at least next Thursday. The journalist also claimed that the president had pre-recorded several videos of meetings, which Russian state media intends to release sporadically throughout the week, to try and mask his absence from the public.

Rusamova said that Putin left for his palace the day a video was released, showing him announcing partial military mobilization on Wednesday.

Widespread protests broke out across Russia after Putin announced that 300,000 reservists would be ordered to fight in the country's war on Ukraine.

Police officers detain a protester during the unsanctioned rally in Moscow, Russia, on September 24, 2022. Contributor/Getty Images

Hundreds of Russians, including girls as young as 14 years old, have been arrested while participating in the unsanctioned rallies, banned under Russian law, according to reports. OVD-Info said 724 people were detained across 32 different cities on Saturday, per BBC News.

The protests have taken place in cities including Moscow, St Petersburg, Tomsk, and Omsk, Sky News reported.

Editor's correction: Insider initially misidentified the palace as another one of Putin's secret palaces, which is near Gelendzhik, Russia. The images have been changed accordingly.

j1e2f3f on September 25th, 2022 at 12:25 UTC »

If Putin is shot in the woods and there is no one around, does it make a sound?

keiths31 on September 25th, 2022 at 12:08 UTC »

Something about a Russian leader going to the forest during troubled times that kind of rings familiar for some reason...

IvorTheEngineDriver on September 25th, 2022 at 11:54 UTC »

the palace and grounds had security fences, a port, a church, a no-fly zone, a wine cave, a theater, a gym, a pool, a spa, an "aqua disco," and an ice-hockey rink.

It's good to be Tzar...