Home/ News / World/  Vladimir Putin’s friend has built a $3.2-million villa for him; but the Russian president is not interested: Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin has an abandoned multimillion-dollar fishing villa in Finland that he is unlikely to ever use, according to reports. The opulent three-story residence, situated on the picturesque coast of Lake Saimaa in southeast Finland, was specifically constructed for Putin by a close associate at a staggering cost of approximately $3.2 million.

The lavish villa, featuring luxurious amenities such as an elevator, wine cellar, underground garage, sauna, personal swimming pool, billiard room, office, and eight toilets, was never completed.

A video released by Russian independent outlet The Insider showcased the vacant house, revealing scaffolding, stacks of building materials, cables, refrigerators, and an uninstalled bathtub. The construction process faced numerous challenges, with workers frequently quitting due to issues related to wages and working conditions. In fact, some Finnish workers even refused to participate in the project.

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The villa's funding came from Viktor Khmarin, a former university classmate of Putin's and now a prominent lobbyist for the Russian leader. Khmarin, who currently serves as the general director of Russia's largest hydroelectricity company, is married to Putin's cousin. The villa was intended to entice Putin into spending more time with Khmarin, reflecting their long-standing friendship that dates back to their college years.

However, Khmarin's plan to lure Putin to the Finnish retreat ultimately failed, as the Russian leader lost interest in fishing in Finland. Consequently, Khmarin decided to abandon the villa and consider it a financial loss, unable to find a buyer for the property.

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This villa's reported location places it near another property, Villa Segren, which Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny alleged was utilised by Putin as a holiday retreat. Navalny's drone footage from 2017 displayed a pier and helipad on the grounds of Villa Segren.

While the construction timeline remains unclear, it is known that Putin's disinterest in fishing in Finland was revealed during his visit to the nearby city of Savonlinna, where he met Finland's President Sauli Niinistö. Subsequently, Khmarin's aide arrived at the villa and instructed the workers to halt construction activities.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Updated: 23 May 2023, 07:17 AM IST
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