Novo Ogaryovo

Here, Putin and His Inner Circle Reside in Pure Luxury

The Russian army is fighting its way through Ukraine on Putin’s orders. Meanwhile, the president and his inner circle reside unmolested in luxury suburbs. Satellite photos show how the powerful live in Russia.

“Economy from above” is a collaboration between WirtschaftsWoche and LiveEO. This is a translation of the original article written in German by “Maxim Kireev and Jannik Deters“. Access the original article here.

While Russia’s army toils in its bloody advance in Ukraine, warmongers like Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev or Russia-friendly Ukrainian ex-president Viktor Yanukovych live a life of pomp not far from the Russian capital.

Exclusive satellite images from LiveEO show how luxuriously Putin and his confidants live and which prominent neighbors they have. Up until the last moment, Jan Marsalek, the wanted former board member of the German scandal company Wirecard, also lived just a few kilometers away from Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu.

The house where he hid for at least two years: a villa in modern Russian style, an oversized and luxurious log cabin with its own pond and tennis court. “Here begins the Rublyovka”, so advertise brokers who sell the plots and houses here. Rublyovka stands for the arterial road Rublyovskoe Avenue in the west of the capital, along which expensive new housing estates for the rich and powerful are strung together like a string of pearls.

  • razdory moscow oblast russia
  • razdory moscow oblast russia
  • razdory moscow oblast russia

Images: LiveEO/Skywatch, LiveEO/Google Earth

Razdory, where the Marsalek estate stands, is just five kilometers from Moscow and is part of an entire housing development financed by billionaire Roman Abramovich. His British construction company, Millhouse Capital, is said in Moscow to have commissioned the architects to design a “cozy settlement in the Gregorian style.” As a result, the majority of the houses, with their brick facades, are more reminiscent of England. However, in the northern part of the village, where the Marsalek hideout is located, there are the much more expensive individual projects with purchase prices of at least ten million euros. It is unclear whether the wanted man is still there.

According to the Russian investigative portal “Projekt”, two vice presidents of the Russian oil producer Lukoil, a former minister of economy and a vice president of the mining company Norilsk Nickel live in the immediate vicinity. Even further north, closer to the meanders of the Moskva River, there is a specially fenced-off area. Here, in an estate, live Anton Siluanov, Minister of Finance, and Ruslan Zalikov, Deputy Minister of Defense Sergei Shoygu.

The Razdory estate, however, offers only a taste of the world of Moscow’s super-rich. Just a few kilometers to the west, for example, is the estate of Shoygu, who plays a key role in the current conflict with Ukraine. No wonder, since his friendship with Putin has lasted for two decades. As Minister of Disaster Management, Shoygu gained great popularity among the Russian people, which he used in 1999 to campaign for Putin as the frontman of the newly launched Kremlin party Unity, which later became United Russia. Since 2012, when Putin returned to the Kremlin, Shoygu has now served as minister in charge of the Russian army.

  • barvikha moscow oblast russia
  • barvikha moscow oblast russia
  • barvikha moscow oblast russia

Images: LiveEO/Skywatch, LiveEO/Google Earth

The opulent Japanese-style mansion in the settlement of Barvikha was discovered by oppositionist Alexei Navalny and his comrades-in-arms in 2015. The estimated value at the time was 18 million euros. Actually unaffordable for a minister; the Russian opposition suspected corruption. Shoygu tried to conceal the ownership. At first the property belonged to a daughter of Shoygu, later to the sister of his wife. Today the property is owned by a shell company.

Vladimir Putin lives even more secluded in the neighborhood of Rublyovka. From Razdory via the village of Barvikha past luxury stores, a Ferrari car dealership, a school for VIP children, the Rublyovka road leads directly to the village of Ussovo. A turnoff prepares the way to Putin’s estate in Novo Ogaryovo. It served as a state residence and guest house for international visitors even in Soviet times. The large number of such state residences and guesthouses from Soviet times had ensured in the first place that the western suburbs of Moscow became one of the most expensive areas of Europe after the capitalist turnaround in Russia. Since 2000, Putin has converted the residence in Novo Ogaryovo into a kind of private residence.

  • novo oyaryovo ussovo moscow oblast russia
  • novo oyaryovo ussovo moscow oblast russia
  • novo oyaryovo ussovo moscow oblast russia

Images: LiveEO/Skywatch

Secluded in the forest not far from the Moskva River winding, the house offers security and seclusion – exactly what the Russian president has come to appreciate most recently.

In recent years, more houses have also been built around the property. Slightly to the west of the main villa, an entire sports and health complex has sprung up in recent years. North of the Moskva River, a kind of helicopter terminal has been added in recent months, connected by a new bridge to Putin’s estate further south.

Novo Oyaryovo, Ussovo, Moscow Oblast, Russia
Novo Oyaryovo, Ussovo, Moscow Oblast, Russia
23.06.2021: At the other end of the site is the current landing pad for helicopters, a greenhouse and a church – just for Putin and his family.
Novo Oyaryovo, Ussovo, Moscow Oblast, Russia
Novo Oyaryovo, Ussovo, Moscow Oblast, Russia
07.07.2021: Secluded in the forest not far from the Moskva River winding, the estate offers safety and seclusion. It stretches the entire length of the picture, wetslich the red-marked border to the river.

Images: LiveEO/Skywatch, LiveEO/Google Earth

But it is not only in western Moscow that politicians and VIPs from the Kremlin’s sphere of influence have settled. In the south of the capital, for example, there is the former artists’ village of Peredelkino. In the Soviet Union, the settlement was considered a refuge for the intelligentsia, poets and writers. According to the portal “Meduza”, the Ukrainian ex-president Viktor Yanukovych lives not far from Peredelkino today. After the Maidan revolution, the politician, who is considered to be pro-Russian, fled to Russia. His whereabouts became known after a prominent resident, the pop singer and MP Iosif Kobzon, complained about the dense and high fences of Yanukovych’s house.

The property does not belong to Yanukovych himself, but to Russia’s Interior Ministry. The ex-president lives in good neighborhood. A little south of his residence is an even larger park-like complex. Its landlord: Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Peredelkino Moscow Oblast RussiaPeredelkino Moscow Oblast Russia
Peredelkino, Moscow Oblast, Russia
25.09.2015 (left picture): The Patriarch’s compound can be seen at the bottom of the image. It was built five years earlier for the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
07.07.2021 (right picture): The property at the top of the picture is occupied by Viktor Yanukovych. The former Ukrainian president fled his country after the Maidan revolution in 2014.
Images: LiveEO/Skywatch, LiveEO/Google Earth

But Moscow is by no means the only city famous for its mansion estates in its suburbs. Confidants of the president also live in and near St. Petersburg. One of these places has been christened the “Versailles of the North” by the developers. It is a pompous new housing estate in the northwest of the city. It consists of about three dozen detached houses in pseudo-classical style. Tsarist palaces in miniature. The settlement was built by a company owned by Putin’s friend Yevgeny Prigozhin. Russian investigative journalists describe the man as the head of the notorious Wagner private army, which is currently also fighting alongside regular Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. Prigozhin himself is also said to have a place to stay here.

Despite its good location near the Baltic Sea and the Lakhta Center – the tallest skyscraper in Europe – the development has a poor reputation among Petersburg’s real estate agents. While house prices are as high as five million euros, the architectural design and construction quality do not live up to this high standard, the industry says.

Far away from Moscow, Dmitry Medvedev has also acquired a stately home. According to concordant research by Russian journalists, the former president and current head of government has an unofficial residence in the tranquil little town of Pljos. Once the residence of a wealthy factory owner during the tsarist era, the property remained largely unused until 2008 and fell into disrepair. After Medvedev came to power in the Kremlin, the complex was extensively renovated. Helicopter landing pads, a guest house, a swimming pool, an open-air theater and a pier for yachts were built.

Plyos, Ivanovo Oblast, Russia
Plyos, Ivanovo Oblast, Russia
19.04.2022: The unofficial residence of Russia’s head of government Medvedev: After his accession to power, landing pads for helicopters, a guest house, a swimming pool and an open-air theater were built.
Images: LiveEO/Skywatch

Alexei Nawalny’s anti-corruption foundation FBK estimates the cost of the renovation at at least 500 million euros. At the time, it attracted particular attention that the pond at the center of the estate had even been given its own little house for the ducks that live there. During his term in office between 2008 and 2012, Medvedev stayed in Pljos at least nine times, but is also said to have used the place later as a quasi-private residence. Since then, tranquil Plyos, about 400 kilometers northeast of Moscow, has become a popular resort for the Russian capital’s elite, but also for ordinary tourists.

Get in touch!