Vladimir Putin may be about to get another seafront pleasure palace as the Kremlin reportedly tries to take hold of a huge parcel of land in Georgia.
Aslan Bzhania, de-facto leader of the breakaway Abkhazia region on the Black Sea, says he has been ordered to hand over a ‘beachside paradise’ near the resort city of Pitsunda by Putin himself.
A 49-year lease has reportedly been signed in secret handing over control of 186 hectares of land, 115 hectares of water, and a nearby military camp to the control of Putin’s Federal Protection Service – sparking protests among locals.
It is thought Putin will use the site – which houses a summer bolt-hole built by Josef Stalin and frequented by Nikita Khrushchev – to build a new home for himself, after opponents exposed his £1billion palace located just 200 miles up the coast.
Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered leaders in a breakaway region of Georgia to hand over a parcel of land that houses an old Soviet summer retreat (pictured) so he can build a new palace
A 49-year lease has reportedly been signed to hand over 189 hectares of land, 115 hectares of water, and a nearby military camp (the area pictured) to Putin’s Federal Protection Service
Mr Bzhania told furious locals that he is powerless to refuse the request because his fledgling government cannot survive without the support of Russia’s military – despite it being battered by the war in Ukraine.
‘I can say for sure that the Russian Federation can do without this dacha,’ he said.
‘But can we do without the support of the Russian Federation, its armed forces and its structures that guard our borders here? This is a big question.’
He admitted: ‘This is a place where our main guest [Putin] comes.’
The 69-year-old Russian president has made at least two visits to the region – one in 2013 and another in 2017.
‘There are now new technologies, new security conditions for protected persons. In accordance with this, such work is, of course, needed there,’ Mr Bzhania added
This is seen as an acknowledgment that a new palace will appear on the site of the Soviet-era summer dacha.
Putin (pictured visiting the site in 2013) is alleged to have made the request in person to the region’s de-facto leader, Aslan Bzhania
It comes after opposition politicians in Russia exposed Putin’s ownership of this £1billion palace just 200 miles further up the Black Sea coast
Putin’s palace is said to contain a pole-dancing boudoir among a 16-storey network of underground rooms and facilities
A huge swimming pool surrounded by mock-Grecian columns is also said to feature in Putin’s other summer palace on the Black Sea
‘We are going to carry out a major overhaul so that this facility works as a full-fledged residence of the President of the Russian Federation,’ he said.
An earlier agreement in 1995 had given Russia privileged access to Pitsunda.
Mr Bzhania said he was forced to agree ‘because Putin likes to visit there, and Russia has more money than us to equip the resort.…
‘I consider it right to transfer buildings and structures to the Russian side.’
Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili said: ‘What we’re seeing in Bichvinta is a form of annexation of Georgian territory by Russia.
‘We see a strong popular reaction to the developments. This is the result of continued occupation.
‘I strongly condemn this and call on the international community to strongly react.’
A secret deal on a 49 year lease on the land was signed in Moscow in January.
The property is one of five state dachas in Abkhazia built from 1931 to 1949 during the Stalin era.
The area was one of the most popular retreats for Soviet leaders.
‘There is a huge noise in Abkhazia, as a large nature reserve of Pitsunda is handed over to Russia,’ said Georgian blogger Tinatin Dias.
News that a huge parcel of land has been signed away to Russia has sparked protests locally, but the region’s leaders say they were powerless to refuse
Protesters clash with police in the resort city of Pitsunda, where it is thought Putin is preparing to build a new summer palace
‘Rumours say it was Putin’s personal desire – apparently he wants to build a new estate there after the feeling Gelendzhik is not so safe any longer.’
One theory is that Putin wants a new Black Sea retreat after £1 billion Gelendzhik Palace – including a pole-dancing hookah boudoir, casino, and ‘aqua disco’ – was exposed by Russia’s opposition media.
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the 1992-93 war soon after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is wholly dependent on Russia for survival.
Putin has since intervened another Georgian region – South Ossetia – in 2014.
Both ‘states’ are recognised only by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria.
Putin appeared stung when the Russian independent media revealed details of the newly-built clifftop high-security Gelendzhik Palace.
It includes a 16-storey underground complex – including a tunnel to the beach – compared with the lair of a James Bond villain.
Amid a scandal over state money being used to build the palace, Putin’s best friend from his childhood, oligarch Arkady Rotenberg, 70, stepped in to say it was his development.
‘This is a stunning place,’ he claimed.
‘We would like to build an apart-hotel there, this is why it has so many rooms.’
Sources claimed Rotenberg had stepped in to deflect blame from Putin.
Nikita Khrushchev (right, with Communist revolutionary Anastas Mikoyan, left, and Soviet military officer Klim Voroshilov, centre) is pictured at the summer residence in 1963