Hunt for president’s “gold”
Vladimir Putin. Photo by:  AFP

Vladimir Putin. Photo by: AFP

The only real fact in BBC’s “Putin's Secret Riches” is the Russian president’s name

BBC aired another horror film about Russia, this time touching on Vladimir Putin. In Richard Bilton’s pseudo-documentary “Putin’s Secret Riches” the president is accused of having allegedly used his power to save a secret fortune. The filmmaker met with offended former Kremlin insiders who claim to know how Putin “hides his wealth”. Of course, there’s no evidence about billions allegedly stolen by Putin in this clumsily shot fake.

Kremlin’s reaction to the British propaganda was restrained. Press spokesman for the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said the BBC’s film is slander. “As for BBC’s story, it’s pure fiction and not substantiated slander”, he stated.

According to Mr Peskov, Kremlin was used to such "false-reporting", whether it was the result of incompetence or an orchestrated campaign. He underlined that the comment from a representative of the US finance ministry is an official accusation that needs evidence.

“The voicing of such accusations from a department like the US Treasury without any concrete facts casts doubt on the department itself. We won’t demand evidence. Leaving such an official statement without evidence casts doubt on this institution’s reputation itself”, added Mr Peskov.

Asked if the president has a private yacht, Mr Peskov replied, “It’s absolutely public information which is easy to check. I’m credited with deep knowledge of yachts. That’s not true. I know that the president does not have a yacht; that is what I know”, the spokesman emphasized.

Anatoly Shariya’s comments on BBC’s “Putin’s Secret Riches”

It’s clear with Kremlin’s reaction, calm and official. How else is it supposed to react to another propagandistic twaddle, though? However, let’s pay attention to the film’s content. First of all, the panel of experts is worth noticing. Among them is Stanislav Belkovsky, whom Boris Berezovsky once gave a decent job. As of now, Belkovsky is at another oligarch’s service — Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Another expert is former CEO of Sovcomflot Dmitry Skarga who’s hiding from Russian law enforcement abroad. The ex-head of the shipping company has been charged under article 165 of the Criminal Code of Russia (infliction of damage on property by deceit or breach of trust). The damage suffered by Russia is $65m. He’s already been remanded in custody in absentia.

Then Adam Szubin, the US Treasury representative, who used to sell to companies deals with Iranian businesses, ignoring the US sanctions, appears in the film. Sergei Pugachev, a banker, is on the list, too. He’s hiding in the UK after he conned investors of Mezhprombank, owned by him, out of 75 billion rubles. According to media, the swindler’s extradition to Russia is being negotiated. Other experts are of the same kind; namely, third rate officials and outsiders.

So what are these gentlemen saying? What main evidence has been given?

“Russian president Vladimir Putin has a fortune of $40b”. No evidence, except for allegations made by people who are visibly concerned. There are no financial documents, no offshore accounts, no bank statements, nothing that could be regarded as evidence.

 “Olympia, a yacht worth $50m was given to Putin as a present by billioner Roman Abramovich”. The billioner denies the fact. There are no documents сonfirming the gift or purchase of this boat. Besides that, it’s been noticed that no documents relating to the boat have gone through Sovcomflot’s protocol department which is in charge of all documents. Moreover, a witness who told BBC about the gift claims to have seen the yacht in 2012, though it was built in 2014.

“President Putin is in possession of a 17,700 square metre palace near the village of Praskoveevka on the Black Sea coast”. However, neither the Russian president, nor his friends have anything to do with the Black Sea palace. Moreover, even former businessman Sergei Kolesnikov, who made this statement, has nothing to do with it. Same as before, there is no documented proof that Vladimir Putin owns the palace.

“There is $439m in offshore accounts in Cyprus, which, as an audio recording confirms, is money of Mikhail Ivanovich. And Mikhail Ivanovich is a nickname for Vladimir Putin”. The plot thickens to the last degree. But the problem is the audio recording is allegedly made by Mr Koleskikov, a businessman on the run; of course, there’s no expertise confirming that Putin’s friends’ voices are on the recording. In addition to that, the tape is of very low quality and it’s not clear why Vladimir Vladimirovich became Mikhail Ivanovich. Because it’s all confirmed by so-called witnesses, on whose revelations this fake is based.

It’s obvious that the British film, a rather short one, 30 minutes of air time for one of the most powerful politicians of the world, pursued two goals: convince the Western viewers into thinking about the wrathful corruptionist from Moscow and be targeted at Russian opposition silly members who were happy to watch another fake. “Open Russia”, owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was first to publish it on its website. Now this piece of propaganda has become an example of what media should not do if they want to keep up a reputation. All that “Putin’s Secret Riches” could present is just lies of its authors and speakers.

As it’s clear what Russian opposition bloggers represent, it’s scary to think about BBC’s future. Making such a fake in a hurry is not journalistic, but, rather, propagandish. One way or another, the effect that filmmakers were counting upon is just the opposite — no sane person, having watched it, will think of BBC as media. Rather, the department of American propaganda.

Translation by Philip Chernenko

Оригинальный текст (original)

Нефтегазовые доходы хотят вывести из бюджета Далее в рубрике Нефтегазовые доходы хотят вывести из бюджетаФундаментально иной принцип формирования бюджета в будущем поможет стране избежать кризисов, подобных сегодняшнему


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