The YouTube video produced by Alexeï Navalny featuring the palace allegedly owned by President Putin on the Red Sea was shot in Ibach (located in Germany’s Black Forest), according to the local daily, Badische Zeitung [1].

The film begins with the biography of the president, drawing on the archives of the East German political police kindly opened by the BKA [Federal Crime Police Office]. The problem is that there is no connection between the documents exhibited and Alexei Navalny’s discourse. They only contain illustrations (wish the exception of the KGB card of one of President Putin’s companions).

Then the film takes us back to the palace using new images captured by a drone. Here again, these images fall short of illustrating Alexeï Navalny’s point. They simply show a palace built by Italian architect Lanfranco Cirillo.

Finally, Alexeï Navalny displays blueprints, cost estimates and invoices for the Palace. The only thing they prove is that this residence is luxurious. But these facts have been known for a long time. The Russian opposition figure then claims that the property deeds are forgeries. After convoluted explanations, he purports that the building does not belong to billionaire Alexander Ponomarenko, but to President Putin, whom he calls "the richest man in the world".

Let us recall that the CIA had already accused Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat of being secret billionaires. Forbes magazine had even confirmed such accounts which, after their death, turned out to be malevolent fabrications. Thus, the CIA attributed to Yasser Arafat ownership of the PLO funds that he managed in his own name, no bank being willing to receive funds from the Palestinian resistance. Everyone who knew Castro, Arafat and their families have never had any doubts about them.

The slipshod approach of the documentary does not argue in favor of Navalny.

[1“Filmstudio in Kirchzarten produziert Alexej Nawalnys Enthüllungsvideo”, Joachim Röderer, Badische Zeitung, 21. Januar 2021.