The Russian people have suffered for centuries under the likes of vicious tyrants such as Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Joseph Stalin, and now Vladimir Putin. The nation has gone from a political form of absolute imperial monarchism to Marxian communism to a mostly corrupt form of democracy today while the average Russian citizen remains virtually a peon barely managing to survive.
With each new form of government a different class of parasite grabs the wealth. That’s the sad situation with most nations and governments today, including the United States of America. The aristocracy and political leaders find nefarious ways to the guild their existence with golden privileges and perks at the expense of the common people.
Nowhere is this more evident than in present day Russia under former communist KGB thug and perennial political boss, Vladimir Putin. This man has the nerve to compare himself to a "galley slave," for his “services” to the nation, but if that is true certainly everyone should aspire to be a galley slave.
Since Putin has been at the pinnacle of Russian political power over the last 12 years or so he has managed to acquire 58 various aircraft, 20 homes and palaces, each with opulent fittings worthy of the Tsars, 4 lavishly appointed yachts, at least 11 luxury wristwatches worth an estimated $700,000, and a wealth of other luxurious perks that would make the former Tsar’s green with envy, including a $75,000 toilet on a presidential jet.
No wonder this guy doesn’t want to quit his job anytime soon according to a detailed and documented report published under the title "The Life of a Galley Slave" by opposition leader Boris Nemtsov which denounces the situation as a "blatant and cynical challenge" to the more than 20 million Russian people who can barely make ends meet.
"We absolutely cannot put up with this," he declares.
The Kremlin portrays Putin as a man of simple tastes and he denies rumors that he has built up a vast personal fortune. But Nemtsov’s report details in 32 pages how the former KGB agent has expanded the trappings of the office of president since he rose to power in 2000.
Putin refers to himself in public as "your humble servant." In a declaration filed this year, the report said, Putin reported an income of 3.6 million rubles ($113,000), and listed three old domestic cars and a trailer hitch handed down by his father as the vehicles he owns.
But nine new residences have been added to the presidential real estate since Putin first became head of state in 2000. Along with 15 helicopters, the 43 other aircraft available to Putin include an Airbus, two Dassault Falcon executive jets and an Ilyushin Il-96 airliner that features an $18-million cabin fitted out by jewelers - and that toilet which, the report says, cost close to $75,000.
There are 700 automobiles at the disposal of the presidential administration, including an armored Mercedes limousine Putin can use to commute to the Kremlin from his country estate.
In addition to that suburban Moscow residence, Novo-Ogaryovo, and Bocharov Ruchei, his summer base in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin also has the run of two palaces by the Baltic, villas on the Volga and a ski lodge in a nature reserve in the Caucasus Mountains.
A 53.7-metre yacht with a designer interior, a spa pool, waterfall and wine cellar is relegated to second best, as the top of the flotilla is a five-decked yacht with a Jacuzzi, barbecue, a maple wood colonnade and a huge bathroom faced in marble.
Putin’s 930-hectare (2,300-acre) residence on Lake Valdai in northwestern Russia has a cinema, a bowling alley and a "presidential church" of all things since he is not known to be a religious man.
His three-storey residence near Saratov, on the Volga River southeast of Moscow, has German chandeliers and Italian furniture, and features a billiard room, a winter garden, a pool and sauna.
All of this is going on while "Russia is continuing to die out ... the country has lost more than five million people, an African level of corruption has fettered the business activity and daily life of the country, and Russia's dependence on natural resources has only deepened during the years of Putin's rule," says Nemtsov’s report.
Oh, well; that’s life under the tyranny of a galley slave Tsar.