"As it seems to me, during Putin's answer to the question about the "palace" in Gelendzhik on the Black Sea, there was a point of particular importance. The authorities realized that they could no longer keep silent as they had done before. Therefore, they went on the defensive," said Gelman.
Predictably, after the release of Alexei Navalny's investigative film about “Putin's palace,” an Italianate palace complex located on the Black Sea coast near Gelendzhik in the Krasnodar territory, was published, people became interested in how the authorities would explain all this wealth. The reaction of the Kremlin and the Russian President personally is, perhaps, the key point that was of most interest to the spectators who watched the video. It already got 90 mln views from start to finish.
The story has drawn such a serious response that it was impossible to keep silent. As a result, the Kremlin commented on this situation, albeit a bit late. However, the comment was made in a typically unemotional way, as if Putin’s entourage was making every effort to attach no importance to the situation. At least, that is what the comment of Press Secretary Dmitri Peskov looked like.
Later, Putin had to speak out about Navalny team's investigation as well. However, a number of experts found his comments somewhat strange. For example, many noted that Putin actually began to justify himself by saying that the palace never belonged to him or to any of his relatives. It was in this attempt of the Russian President to deny something the authors of the video did not initially accuse him of, that a number of observers and political analysts saw a definite sign. Marat Gelman, a Russian political technologist, for example, has expressed a similar opinion recently.
"Of course, one has to admit that Putin is head and shoulders above his associates Zolotov, Usmanov and others who are used to speaking gangster language. By contrast, Putin makes some arguments. However, the problem is that he is trying to respond to the title of the film. The film itself is called "Putin's Palace." However, it is not about Putin's palace. It is not about the fact that Putin or his relatives are legally the owners of this facility. By and large, this video dwells on the system of a kind of “pooled cash fund” and on corruption in the country. It simply has a title of this kind. That is why there is a feeling as if the President is answering the people who didn't watch the film at all.
“Everything looks as if the audience did not see all these schemes, as if they did not know whom all this property really belongs to. For people who have not seen the film, Putin's words might look really convincing. On the whole, against the background of his inner circle, Putin looks in a favorable light. However, the way how the President explains for the situation is of especial importance.
In my opinion, he even deserved credit for it. It is obvious that he was frightened and had to continue the dialogue. Well, okay, the palace isn't yours but who is its owner then? How is it financed? Why is it guarded by the Federal Security Guard Service?
“As it seems to me, during Putin's answer to the question about the "palace," there was one significant moment. The authorities realized that they could no longer keep silent as they had done before. Therefore, they went on the defensive. The authorities have to defend themselves for the very reason that the scale of the situation is extremely impressive. Even Hollywood producers might envy it. In the future, Putin will still have to answer who owns the palace. Right now they are just thinking over it and discussing different options," said Gelman.