MOSCOW -- An investigation published earlier this week into a Black Sea property owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin is once again putting the spotlight on the Russian leader's ties to rampant corruption.
The investigation, published on opposition leader Alexei Navalny's blog with an accompanying two-hour YouTube video recorded before his return to Russia, claims the property cost $1.35 billion and was paid for "with the largest bribe ever".
The report alleges that the property, situated along Russia's Black Sea, is 39 times the size of Monaco and features a casino inside a 17,691-square-metre mansion, along with an ice rink and vineyards.
The video investigation can be seen here on YouTube, and as of Friday (January 22) has been viewed over 55 million times since it was released on Tuesday.
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) owns about 7,000 hectares of land surrounding the property and the complex was financed by Putin's close allies, including Igor Sechin, chief of Russian oil giant Rosneft, and billionaire tycoon Gennady Timchenko, according to the investigation.
A mini-state for a tsar
"It is a truly separate state within Russia. And in this state there is a single and irreplaceable tsar. Putin," Navalny said.
The investigation was published a day after a court sentenced Navalny, whom police detained after returning from Germany for the first time since he was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in Siberia in August, to 30 days in jail.
The Kremlin opponent on Monday (January 18) called for his supporters to take to the streets in response to his arrest, with his allies planning rallies in Moscow and in cities across the country on Saturday.
The Kremlin on Friday (January 22) vowed to crack down on the protests.
The new investigation, which ends on a call for Russians to rise up against the authorities, echoes a 2017 YouTube video in which Navalny accused then-prime minister Dmitry Medvedev of controlling a luxury property empire.
That investigation sparked large-scale opposition protests.
The existence of the Black Sea property and its links to Putin first became known in 2010 when whistle-blower businessman Sergei Kolesnikov described them in a public letter to Medvedev.