Their world is a world of luxury residences, yachts, jets and elite schools. While their parents are fighting against the West, the children of Russian oligarchs are enjoying life there, warns CNN.
“We are seeing extreme hypocrisy. And they probably don’t even realize it. They don’t see the difference between Russia and the West. He believes in the power of his country. They don’t understand why the conflict should affect the their children’s education or where they are going to own real estate,” political scientist Daniel Tresiman of the University of Los Angeles told CNN, who focused on a detailed analysis of the lifestyle of prominent Russian families.
He was the one who criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin during one of his speeches last month. According to him, the Russians, who are able to “mentally” connect to the West in this way, said their goal was to “destroy Russia”.
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“The Russian people have always been able to distinguish true patriots from traitors and spit them out like a fly that accidentally flew into their mouths,” Putin said.
At the same time, this also applies to one of his closest aides, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The United States sanctioned him, his wife and two adult children, saying the family’s lifestyle is incompatible with a civil servant’s salary. According to US authorities, Peskov only acquired the property through above-average dealings with Putin.
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Peskov was expected to earn $173,000 as a spokesperson in 2020, which is inconsistent with the fact that he wears a watch for $600,000 and in the same year vacations for around $430,000.
The Anti-Corruption Foundation, founded by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, also pointed out that Peskov’s ex-wife and children have millions of dollars in real estate and cars.
Political scientists call the staggering and at the same time inexplicable wealth of these families one word: kleptocracy. “It’s a system where thieves rule, for themselves and for their own benefit,” said Georgetown University corruption expert Jodi Vittori.
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According to her, the complex network of shell companies, offshore banks and secret transactions not only allows Russian millionaires to hide the real flow of money and the origin of the wealth they very often enjoy in the West.
“Western states have a much stronger legal system than Russia. So if they manage to export most of their money to the West, they feel safer,” adds Vittori.
The hypocrisy of Putin’s closest aides has long been a public secret and is well known in Russia, where they have tried to take action against him. For example, CNN draws attention to a draft law on the education of children of Russian officials, according to which studies in the West were to be prohibited. However, the State Duma did not approve the 2016 law.
Studies in elite schools and a luxurious lifestyle are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, the families of Russian government officials and people linked to Putin own billions in property.
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For example, according to the Naval Foundation, Peskov’s daughter and her mother own a large apartment in one of the most expensive areas of Paris worth at least two million dollars. Peskovova, 24, has previously called Western sanctions unfair, while saying she is a proud Russian.
But she, CNN points out, is not the only “child of the Kremlin” enjoying the benefits of a luxurious life in Western capitals. And although Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been calling for a boycott of the Western way of life since 2017, he sent his daughters to study in London and New York and bought apartments for them.
And that also applies to Putin himself, whose two daughters were sanctioned by the US and the UK last week.