A prominent Russian TV host known for spreading anti-Ukrainian sentiment and propaganda publicly lamented losing access to his two multimillion-dollar Italian villas on TV due to sanctions spurred by Russia‘s invasion of the neighboring nation.
‘Is this the Iron Curtain?’ said journalist and Putin propogandist Vladimir Soloviev, on the set of his late-night program The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev on Friday, after learning new sanctions implemented by Italian officials would hinder his access to a pair of properties he owns off Lake Como – down the road from A-lister George Clooney.
‘I was told that Europe is a citadel of rights, that everything is permitted, that’s what they said,’ the Russian talking head, who for years has served as one of Putin’s most eminent mouthpieces, told a panel of pro-Russia pundits.
‘I know from personal experience about the so-called “sacred property rights,”‘ Soloviev, 58, asserted to the panel, who had been discussing the effects the ongoing conflict – which reached its fourth day Sunday and has left at least 245 Ukrainians dead – has had on Russian citizens.
However, upon learning the conflict would effect him and his assets personally after being hit with sanctions from Italian officials that forbid him from accessing his vacation homes – two expansive compounds valued in the tens of millions – the TV presenter went on an impassioned on-air tirade.
‘With every transaction, I was bringing paperwork demonstrating my official salary, income, I did it all,’ the host, known for condemning Europe and the West for their supposed perversion and decay, griped to his guests.
‘I bought it, paid crazy amount of taxes, I did everything. And suddenly someone makes a decision that this journalist is now on the list of sanctions. And right away it affects your real estate. Wait a minute. But you told us that Europe has sacred property rights!’
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‘Is this the Iron Curtain?’ said journalist and Putin propogandist Vladimir Soloviev, on the set of his late-night program The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev, after learning new sanctions implemented by Italian officials would hinder his access to a pair of properties he owns off Lake Como
Pictured here is one of Soloviev’s properties, likely valued in the tens of millions. The estate boasts 14 rooms, five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, an entrance hall, a boiler room and a pantry, as well as a 90-sq-m guest house with three guest rooms, two bathrooms, a cellar and a private, gated porch
Pictured here is the second of Soloviev’s multimillion-dollar Italian estates, also in Lake Como
Taken aback by the restrictions, which officials said may evolve into the journalist losing the properties altogether if the conflict worsens, Soloviev fumed: ‘All of a sudden, now they say: “Are you Russian? Then we will close your bank account, if it’s in Europe.”‘
He went on: ‘And if it’s in England, you’re allowed to keep no more than a certain amount there. Why? Because you’re Russian,’
Renowned Russian economist Mikhail Khazin, 59, interjected: ‘And that’s if you have an old account. They won’t open a new one.’
Soloviev then offered the panel the dramatic comparison between the consequences leveled against Kremlin propogandists by countries against Russia’s occupation of the Ukraine, and the Cold War.
‘Is this the Iron Curtain?’ the host, who appeared visibly emotional during the strange appeal, asked.
Germany-based pundit Alexander Sosnovsky replied: ‘Yes, absolutely,’ before offering a contentious reclassification of the backlash Kremlin supporters are facing following their full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.
News presenter Soloviev, one of Putin’s most used mouthpieces, complained on-air Friday about losing access to the properties as a result of sanctions imposed by Italian officials following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine – which has already resulted in 245 Ukrainian deaths
‘The Iron Curtain in its worst manifestation,’ the commentator said. ‘Painted in LGBT colors.’
Soloviev and the other panelists proceeded to nod in agreement, without mention of the effects the ongoing military occupation has had on Ukrainian citizens.
In 2019, Soloviev and other Kremlin propagandists came under scrutiny after a report by famed Putin rival and Russian anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny revealed the longtime NTV host had not one, but two multimillion-dollar properties just down the road from Clooney’s $100m estate on the historic Italian lake.
In 2019, Soloviev and other Kremlin propagandists came under scrutiny after a report by a Putin opposer and Russian anti-corruption activist revealed the existence of the longtime NTV host’s multimillion-dollar properties
Last Christmas, Navalny’s investigative team, FBK, videotaped the state TV host’s luxury abodes using a combination of drones and on-foot lensman, leaving the presenter Ukrainian chocolates – a jab at Soloviev’s repeatedly recorded use of anti-Ukrainian propaganda.
Soloviev subsequently became enraged with the grass-roots activist team’s reputation-damaging report, publicly calling it an ‘outrageous privacy violation.’
Later that year, Navalny was poisoned by nerve agent, which he blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities denied any involvement.
Navalny subsequently spent five months recovering in Germany, but was arrested upon his return to Russia and ordered to serve 2 1/2 years in prison, for what Russian officials said was for violating the terms of a suspended sentence stemming from a 2014 fraud conviction.
He is currently serving his sentence, and has since been branded a ‘terrorist’ by the Kremlin.
Following the revelation of the two sprawling properties’ existence – located within a few miles of each other – neighbors have clamored for Soloviev’s exile from the highly exclusive resort area, where properties such as Soloviev’s are commonly valued in the tens of million.
In 2019, residents launched a petition to get local authorities to ensure the TV talker did not obtain Italian citizenship through his residency.
Now, Soloviev says the sanctions since imposed by Italian government officials against the Kremlin following the full-scale military invasion could result in him losing ownership of both properties, if the conflict worsens.
Russia entered the fourth day of its military operations in the Ukraine Sunday, amid reports that the country’s invasion was lagging behind schedule and losing steam amid sanctions leveled against the nation by several countries that have expressed resolve to stand with Ukraine during the conflict.
Ukraine’s health minister, Viktor Liashko, said in a statement posted to Facebook on Saturday that a total of 198 Ukrainians had been killed in the fighting, up from 137 a day earlier, with more than 1,000 wounded. Three children, he said, were among the dead.
President Putin today praised his special forces for ‘heroically carrying out their military duties’ in a new televised address, as a British minister said his invasion had fallen ‘well behind’ its planned timeline and the autocrat could lose his grip on power if it fails.
To mark Russia’s special forces day, Putin thanked soldiers for ‘heroically fulfilling their military duty’ in Ukraine, before parroting his propaganda line that his armies are providing assistance to the ‘people’s republics of Donbas’ – referring to two rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine that Russia recognized as independent states ahead of its invasion.
Activist Alexei Navalny (left) was poisoned allegedly on orders from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
‘I want to thank the command, the personnel of the special operations forces, veterans of the special forces units for their loyalty to the oath, for their impeccable service in the name of the people of Russia and our great motherland,’ he said.
Russian forces today entered Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv after failing in their overnight efforts to seize control of the capital city of Kyiv. The Kremlin has so far not declared any fatalities from the fighting, although the head of the Dagestan regional government recently offered his condolences to the family of a slain paratrooper in what may have been a case of going off script.
UK Armed Forces minister James Heappey has insisted Putin’s ‘days are numbered’ if he fails in Ukraine, with his campaign falling ‘well behind’ its planned timeline and was facing several severe headwinds.
Heappey, a former major in the Rifles, said Putin’s forces had been unable to capture key cities in the first few days of fighting as intended and had left pockets of ‘well-armed’ Ukrainians to the rear of their front line.
A Russian military vehicle is seen ablaze in Kharkiv on Sunday morning after troops entered the eastern Ukrainian city
A view of a residential building damaged by recent shelling in Kharkiv on February 26. Russia ordered its troops to advance in Ukraine ‘from all directions’ as the Ukrainian capital Kyiv imposed a blanket curfew and officials reported 198 civilian deaths
This map shows the strikes Russia is so-far known to have carried out against Ukraine, with more explosions rocking the country in the early hours of Sunday morning
A picture is emerging of a haphazard and disorganised invasion effort, with armoured columns running out of fuel or getting lost, and some having to advance without air cover. Heappey wrote in the Telegraph: ‘After three days of intense fighting, spurred by dogged Ukrainian resistance, Russia is well behind its planned timeline.
‘Progress to Kyiv has been much slower than they’d expected, they were unable to take key cities early and now must try to bypass them.
‘This leaves pockets of well-armed and well-trained Ukrainians to the rear of the Russian front line, exposing a vulnerable logistics tail – an omen for what awaits Putin.’
At the same time, Ukrainians are volunteering in their droves, with ‘long queues’ at recruitment centres, the minister wrote.
Meanwhile, footage from the town of Koryukivka, near the Russian border, showed hundreds of locals massing on a road to block the advance of a Russian tank column. Heappey believes that if Putin fails and ordinary Russians realise ‘how little he cares for them … [his] days as president will surely be numbered and so too will those of the kleptocratic elite that surround him,’ he wrote.
‘He’ll lose power and he won’t get to choose his successor.’