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Putin revamping palace scrapping pole-dancing room & replaces it with church

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OUT with the old and in with the new – Vladimir Putin has revamped his £1billion Black Sea palace, switching his pole-dancing boudoir for a church with a throne fit for an emperor.

A new leak appears to show the Russian tyrant, 71, is engaged in an opulent makeover of the James Bond villain-style fortress residence.

Putin's £1 billion Gelendzhik Palace overlooking the Black Sea

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Putin’s £1 billion Gelendzhik Palace overlooking the Black SeaCredit: East2West
Alexei Navalny team’s computer visualisation of what is described as a pole-dancing room

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Alexei Navalny team’s computer visualisation of what is described as a pole-dancing roomCredit: East2West
The lavish palace now has its own church

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The lavish palace now has its own churchCredit: East2West

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The 190,000-square-foot Gelendzhik Palace includes a 16-storey underground complex built inside the cliff, 11 bedrooms, a casino, cinema, gym and pool all set inside a heavily-guarded 17,000 acres.

A new investigation led by FBK, formerly belonging to opposition leader Alexei Navalny and investigative outlet Proekt, found Vlad was leading major reconstruction work.

Three years ago, the dictator was stung when investigative journalists discovered the scale of the decadence of the castle overlooking the Black Sea near Sochi.

Amid a scandal over misuse of state funds, the Kremlin claimed it belonged instead to his childhood friend Arkady Rotenburg, 72, who told reporters he was creating an apartment hotel.

But Putin watchers saw this as a clear smokescreen.

The probe from inside sources confirms this is no hotel, as written on the paperwork, but “a palace built for Vladimir Putin”.

“Many viewers of Navalny’s video remembered the entertainment areas — with a pole, a casino, as well as a room with toy cars and a railway,” Proekt said, adding that none of these areas exist anymore.

“Here’s how they’ve changed,” the outlet said.

Out goes the dictator’s notorious striptease stage and pole-dancing hookah hall, casino, gaming room and so-called “aqua disco”, for which he was mocked and shamed in the 2021 leak.

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A closer view of Putin's boudoir inside the Black Sea palace

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A closer view of Putin’s boudoir inside the Black Sea palaceCredit: East2West
The pole dancing room was reportedly replaced during the refurbishments

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The pole dancing room was reportedly replaced during the refurbishmentsCredit: Alexei Navalny; YouTube
The church includes an icon which shows canonised Prince Vladimir the Great (first from the right)

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The church includes an icon which shows canonised Prince Vladimir the Great (first from the right)Credit: East2West
The palace wouldn't be complete without its own wooden throne

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The palace wouldn’t be complete without its own wooden throneCredit: East2West

Observers suggest they are not seen in keeping with his recent drive for traditional values and obsession with religion.

Out, too, is the garish gold noticed in the previous exposé of the Putin pile.

In comes a church-inside-the-palace complete with its own wooden throne for Putin.

Walls have been adorned with sacred religious icons and images – a throwback to the times of Russian emperors.

One depicts Prince Vladimir the Great – Putin’s assumed historical hero and namesake – who more than one thousand years ago was credited with uniting Ukraine and Russia.

“This is probably the only room where the name of the real owner of this palace is directly indicated,” said the investigators.

Two chandeliers made using red crystals from a French manufacturer, costing roughly £800,000 each, have also been installed.

Epic paintings of historical war scenes have suddenly appeared depicting a heroic Russia, including the 1812 Battle of Borodino when Napoleon suffered grievous losses.

Another includes part of a prominent Kremlin painting called “Whoever comes to us with a sword will die by the sword!”

The investigation was based on disclosures from a worker on the palace redesign who slipped his FSB minders to film the inside of the palace dripping in luxury.

The investigators said: “The reconstruction of the facility was carried out in the strictest secrecy.

“Workers were transported to work on chartered buses, but were often not immediately allowed onto the premises.

“They arrived at the checkpoint but were forced to wait for several hours without food or water.

“Apparently someone important had arrived, they concluded. Inside, they prohibited the use of telephones.”

Secret services officers constantly monitored their work.

Earlier it was Navalny who exposed the scandal over the secret cliff top residence in a film called “Palace for Putin. The story of the biggest bribe.”

The new investigation revealed: “Shortly before the end of the work, one of the builders walked around the almost-finished palace.

“Contrary to strict prohibitions, this man brought a phone inside and…filmed the second floor, on which there are 11 bedrooms, and then went down to the first – the one where there used to be rooms with a pole, a casino, a gaming area and an aqua discotheque.”

The ultra-lux chandeliers (pictured) are valued at £870,000

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The ultra-lux chandeliers (pictured) are valued at £870,000Credit: East2West
A virtual rendering of what would be the 'aqua disco' at Putin's palace

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A virtual rendering of what would be the ‘aqua disco’ at Putin’s palaceCredit: East2West
Alexei Navalny team’s computer visualisation of what is described as a private theatre at the palace

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Alexei Navalny team’s computer visualisation of what is described as a private theatre at the palaceCredit: East2West
The private theatre is also believed to have its own bar

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The private theatre is also believed to have its own barCredit: East2West

These had mostly all been replaced, it concluded, while the church had appeared.

They found French carpets costing £87,000 “in this type of Louis XVI” and two chandeliers valued at £800,000 each.

Special phones were installed akin to Putin’s other palaces.

The largest bedroom overlooking the sea has a figurine of a bear.

They also found treatment rooms possibly to be used for “medical and cosmetic procedures”.

Earlier a mining engineer who worked on the construction said it had indeed been built for the president and “there is a whole anthill in the rock under the house” including a nuclear shelter.

The subterranean maze includes a cliff face loggia overlooking the sea and a vast wine cellar.

“Its construction was more ingenious than Dr No’s bunker in James Bond,” he said.

It was “a balcony – literally a loggia hanging over the sea” built into the cliff, from which the owner can enjoy wine tasting from the palace stocks, he added.

In August 2023, General Gennady Lopyrev, 69, once close to Putin, who was keeper of the secrets about the palace’s construction died mysteriously in jail.

He suddenly became ill, gasping for breath, and was told by doctors he had previously undiagnosed leukaemia.

Suspicions arose that he was poisoned just as he became eligible for parole.

The general was jailed for ten years in 2017 by a military court accused of bribe-taking and illegal possession of ammunition – charges he always denied.

The latest embarrassing disclosures about the palace come as Putin will be inaugurated today as Russian president for the fifth time following his sham “victory” in the rigged March elections.

Putin’s previous denial

VLADIMIR Putin has previously denied owning a secret £1billion Black Sea palace with a pole dancing boudoir.

The Russian tyrant was accused in 2021 by late critic Alexei Navalny of spending state cash on the vast complex near the town of Gelendzhik in southern Russia.

Navalny alleged that Putin is the ultimate owner of the palace via a complex trail of companies. 

As well as a pole dancing room, the high-security property reportedly boasts an underground ice-hockey rink, a private theatre, a vineyard, and territory the size of “39 Monacos”.

The allegations were made in a film – Putin’s Palace – made by Navalny and released by his team following his arrest that year.

Putin was then asked about the film by 20-year-old student Danil Chemezov during a teleconference event to mark the country’s annual students’ day.

He responded: “Nothing that’s shown there as my property belongs to me, or my close relatives, and doesn’t and didn’t belong. Never.”

He admitted he had not watched the Navalny film due to a “shortage of time”, but said he had “flicked through video selections that my aides brought me”.

Putin has previously denied owning a secret £1billion palace paid for with state cash

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Putin has previously denied owning a secret £1billion palace paid for with state cashCredit: East2West
Some of the expensive carpets to decorate the lavish palace

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Some of the expensive carpets to decorate the lavish palaceCredit: East2West
Picture on the left shows Putin’s desk at the Gelendzhik Palace, which copies his Kremlin desk - shown on scheme on the right

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Picture on the left shows Putin’s desk at the Gelendzhik Palace, which copies his Kremlin desk – shown on scheme on the rightCredit: East2West
Part of the new interior at the renovated Gelendzhik Palace (left) copies Kremlin’s interior, seen during Vladimir Putin’s 2018 inauguration (right)

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Part of the new interior at the renovated Gelendzhik Palace (left) copies Kremlin’s interior, seen during Vladimir Putin’s 2018 inauguration (right)Credit: East2West
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