In a time when the average Russian has a monthly salary, as of 2008, of $640 and 13.7% of all Russians live an impoverished existence and Russian ranks 153 in the global freedom index and as an economic freedom score from the Heritage foundation of 50.5, how Putin and the kleptocrats can justify spending nearly $1,000,000,000 on a presidential palace is beyond belief. The age of the king bureaucrat is truly upon us. This is a shameful, vulgar expression of wasteful spending on a massive scale. I can only hope that the Russian people will be so sickened by this that they will demand reform of government institutions. This, I know, is unlikely but one can hope and pray for a different world.
Photos of "Putin's Palace" in Praskoveevke on the Black Sea