Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s latest video expose on Thursday targeted outspoken state television propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, one of President Vladimir Putin’s “frontline soldiers.”
Vladimir Solovyov is one of two model Russian news anchors who champion Putin’s causes at home and abroad, attacking his foreign and domestic opponents.
A study commissioned by the Putin administration once described Solovyov as a television host who is inclined to use “dramatic tropes borrowed from street theater.”
Navalny on Thursday revealed real estate documents showing a summer home overlooking Lake Como in Italy — long-rumored to be Solovyov’s — registered in his name.
Navalny said he had made repeated attempts to get Solovyov to confirm or deny his ownership of the property.
Drone footage in Thursday’s investigation revealed a nearly 1,000-square-meter three-story lakeside villa with a terrace and a private swimming pool.
Solovyov also allegedly purchased three luxurious apartments in central Moscow at below-market prices in 2004 and 2007, Navalny said.
In 2008, he bought land in Moscow’s suburbs near the Peredelkino Writer's Colony, valued at 400 million rubles ($68 million), for a white brick home where “maybe his army of Twitter gopniki work,” the opposition leader said, using a pejorative term to describe Russia’s lower-classes.
Navalny also castigated Solovyov’s “hypocrisy” in extolling Putin in the past, while slamming the presidential administration today.
“He changes his shoes in mid-air,” Navalny quipped.
Russian media-observers are expecting Solovyov to respond to Navalny's investigation in his popular talk show on Sunday.
[Translation: @the_newtimes That’s brilliant! What a dump can be expected Sunday! Apartments, dacha and Italian villa of Vladimir Solovyov.]
By Thursday evening in Moscow, the video had been viewed nearly half a million times.