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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sure Looks Like he's Still President!

First Post reports:

Having recently handpicked the new president's cabinet, Vladimir Putin shows no sign of relinquishing his stranglehold on Russian politics, nor, it seems, the luxuries of office. For not only does he still reside at the fabulously opulent Konstantin Palace, in St Petersburg, a privilege that should have ceased when he stopped being head of state, he has also bagged some of the state's art collection to decorate its walls.

Many of the works, 400 in total, were donated to the country by the oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who owns nearly a quarter of Arsenal football club, back in September last year. The idea was that they would be shown in Moscow's Tretyakov gallery or the Hermitage in St Petersburg. However, all of them are in the Konstantin Palace, known to locals as "Putin's palace on the sea".

Said one of the artists whose works is on display, who for obvious reasons declined to be identified: "The Kremlin claims it has preserved these treasures for Russia. Yet they are basically being used to decorate Putin's walls."

No one can deny it is a fine setting for the paintings. The palace, which overlooks the Gulf of Finland, was originally built in the 18th century by Peter the Great, but almost totally destroyed during Soviet times. It was rebuilt on Putin's orders in 2000 at a cost of more than £60 million.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's the collection of Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya, donated to the Konstantin Palace about one year ago.
The only other serious candidat for getting it was the Private Collection Museum in Moscow (a part of the Pushkin Fine Art Museum).