The Russian authorities have established an exclusion zone around the alleged residence of Vladimir Putin on Lake Valdai. The area is equal in size to the island of Malta. Access to this area is prohibited to the ordinary Russians, reports the news outlet Meduza.
Journalists note that the lake itself is divided by the islands into two parts. The one on which the town of Valdai is located belongs to the recreational zone. Economic activity is prohibited there, but tourism, amateur fishing and hunting are allowed.
The second part has recently become a specially protected natural area, according to the order of the Ministry of Natural Resources which was issued on November 11 last year, and published on January 18 of this year.
According to the laws, it is possible to visit the territories that have the status of protected areas only "for the purpose of educational tourism". But at the same time, citizens are not allowed to go beyond the "limits of roads" or special excursion routes. There are no such roads on the official website of the Valdai Park, respectively, and it is not possible to visit the territory that has received the status of specially protected. It is separately noted that on this site "the stay of citizens is prohibited.
For staying without a permit in the territory that has the status of protected areas, a fine of 4 thousand rubles (about $52) is imposed. But there is a criminal liability in the event that a specially protected area has suffered "significant damage". The violator will already face a fine of 200 thousand rubles ($2600) or two years of corrective labor.
Officially, the access of Russians to part of the territory was closed due to the "deterioration of the ecological conditions" of the lake, in order to "reduce the rate of its eutrophication", that is, the increased plant and algae growth in the lake. However, journalists have their own version of what happened. In February, the publication Proekt published an investigation, according to which the house of Vladimir Putin, as well as the property of Putin’s mistress, Alina Kabaeva, are loctate don the closed part of the lake. It is noteworthy that the administration of the Valdai National Park announced the closure of access to part of the territory on March 3.
One of the residents interviewed by Meduza answered the question about the state of Lake Valdai as follows: "Everything is fine there. But the authorities are slowly squeezing out more and more territories."