Gaspodin* Putin seems to have Imperial pretensions.
From the WSJ Europe's Emerging Europe blog:
Contents of a goodie bag for Russian President Vladimir Putin's 2012 annual press conference
More than 1,200 reporters accredited to Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s giant press conference Thursday each received a puzzling bag of gifts, with imperial overtones.*I know "Mr." in Russian is transliterated Gospodin not Gas but I was trying to reference his control over Gunvor and his stakes in Gazprom and Surgutneftegaz and fell totally flat. Sorry.
A huge wall calendar depicted the Russian czars of the Romanov dynasty, which would be celebrating their 400 years in power in 2013 if not for the 1917 revolution that saw the last czar and his family killed. The bag also had a set of post cards with all the Russian czars starting from the early 17th century....MORE
With the demise of Gaddafi (reported to have salted $200 Billion away) Putin is probably the richest Autocrat-wannabe in the world.
Nice Shack: "RuLeaks posts photos of alleged 'Putin Palace'"
Quick, what's Vlad's net worth?
From Foreign Policy's Passport blog:
RuLeaks, a WikiLeaks type site owned and operated by the Russian Pirate Party, was shut down by a denial of service attack yesterday after posting photos of a lavish mansion alleged to be Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's estate on the Black Sea. The site, and the photos, are now back up.
The existence of the "Putin palace" on the Black Sea was discussed by the Washington Post's David Ignatius in an article last year. According to Russian whistleblower Sergey Kolesnikov, the still under-construction digs cost more than $1 billion, include an amphitheater and three helipads and is being "predominantly paid for with money donated by Russian businessmen." Putin's spokesman denied the report, saying that the building has nothing to do with Putin....MORE