Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea private castle has been revealed to have two underground tunnels that can be used for safety and escape.
Jailed Putin political opponent, Alexei Navalny, revealed the many luxury amenities after an investigation into the billion-dollar, 190,000 square foot mansion. Putin’s palace allegedly contains its own casino, wine cellar, hookah lounge, stripper poles and even its own church. The private dacha is in a special no-fly zone and is surrounded and sealed off by 17,000 acres of forestry, according to Business Insider.
A now-obsolete Russian contractor, Metro Style, initially shared the diagrams on their website in the early 2010s and were still viewable up until 2016. The two tunnels underneath the massive complex are jointly connected through an elevator that can descend nearly 50 meters below the surface. The design plans highlighted how the two tunnels are encased in thick concrete and supplied with enough fresh water and ventilation to support potential VIP occupants for days or even weeks.
A former State Department official who was assigned and worked on Russian and Ukrainian foreign policy, Michael C. Kimmage, stated, “Putin has a lot of anxiety about being the not-entirely-legitimate leader of Russia. So knowing that his legitimacy is not entirely secured by elections, he is going to seek to maximize his personal safety through a complex of well-defended personal residences.”
The two tunnels, both 6 meters wide, show evidence of being blast proof in the case of a potential nuclear attack.
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“This tunnel set-up has all kinds of safety and security,” said Thaddeus Gabryszewski, a structural engineer who reviewed the diagrams. “There’s a fire system. There’s water, there’s sewer. This is intended for someone to survive or escape.”
The complex has been compared to the United States president’s bunker at the White House, as well as Mount Weather in Virginia. Although similar in function, Putin’s mansion and bunker are privately owned.
“With the war in Ukraine there’s speechmaking, there’s propaganda, there’s exaggeration — there’s this performative aspect that plays to Russia’s domestic politics. But this is also deadly real,” Kimmage said. “Putin perceives himself as being engaged in a confrontation with the West. The nuclear dimension is an important part of that. He knows he is standing on top of a volcano. He doesn’t seem to be so psychopathic as to initiate a nuclear conflict — he has grandchildren — but he’s been standing on that edge for a very long time. These tunnels, this bunker, is a part of that.”