He is a former KBG spy, after all. A report out of Russia suggests that Vladimir Putin is pulling a sleight-of-hand on his pandemic working conditions—with a duplicate office at a presidential resort far from Moscow. The allegation emerged in the Russian investigative outlet Proekt and has been picked up by the New York Times. During the pandemic, Putin has frequently appeared on a TV in a modest office, and the Kremlin says Putin is working out of a government residence near Moscow. “In such moments, in the Kremlin’s understanding, people should think the president is in the capital or close by,” explains the story in Proekt. But the outlet says Putin is actually working at least some of the time in an identical office he had built at his residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
In the grand scheme of things, having identical offices may not seem like such a big scandal. However, the Kremlin is aggressively denying the report, while a prominent Putin critic thinks the idea speaks volumes about the Russian leader. The office ruse is "absolutely Putin’s style—to lie even in the little things," wrote Alexei Navalny—who is recovering from an alleged poisoning by the Kremlin—on Twitter, per the Times. Meanwhile, the Kremlin is investigating an unusual burglary—thieves broke into Russia's "doomsday plane," the aircraft designated to fly Putin to safety in the event of nuclear war, reports CNN. The plane, dubbed a "nuclear command center," was undergoing routine maintenance when the theft occurred. Authorities say dozens of pieces of radio equipment were stolen. (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)