Nothing to see here Journalists uncover secret construction site near Putin’s official residence outside Moscow

Journalists from MBX Media have published an investigation into a major construction site near Novo-Ogaryovo, Vladimir Putin’s official residence on the outskirts of Moscow. Work on the project, which experts estimate could cost 20–50 billion rubles (about $269–672 million), reportedly began in the summer of 2020. The property in question is now home to two massive guest houses, as well as a wellness center and a sports complex, which allegedly includes an underground tunnel that connects directly to Putin’s estate. Journalists uncovered the site after construction began on a bridge across the Moskva River, just a stone’s throw away from the presidential residence. According to MBX Media, the Russian Secret Service (the FSO) is responsible for both the construction site and the bridge. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says “there are no construction projects at Novo-Ogaryovo.”

A large-scale construction project is underway not far from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official residence outside Moscow, says a new investigative report from MBX Media. According to the publication, the land, where several buildings have popped up since the summer of 2020, is in use by the Russian Secret Service (the Federal Protective Service or FSO). What’s more, there are no public documents on the construction project, which experts estimate could cost anywhere from 20 to 50 billion rubles (about $269–672 million). 

MBX Media’s video investigation titled, “Putin’s Secret City?”MBX Media

Construction is taking place on a 10.7-hectare (26.4-acre) plot of land that was once the site of a three-story mansion. However, according to the construction workers “the owner didn’t like it and it was demolished.” Two cottages located on the property were also torn down, and replaced with a two-story, 4,000-square-meter (43,000-square-foot) guest house worth an estimated 800 million rubles ($10.7 million).

The property is also home to a five-story sports complex worth 6 billion rubles ($80.5 million). Construction workers from the complex told the journalists that it houses an ice arena. The facility is 30,000 square meters (about 323,000 square feet), but this doesn’t take into account the underground floors, which can be reached through separate entrances. One of the engineers working at the site told MBX Media that an underground tunnel in the sports complex is supposed to connect the property to Vladimir Putin’s official residence.

There are two more buildings on the site: a four-story guest house and a “therapeutic complex.” MBX Media writes that the guest house has a total area of 10,000 square meters (nearly 108,000 square feet), excluding the verandas, and is worth 2 billion rubles ($26.8 million). The journalists estimated the value of the 16,000-square-meter (172,000-square-foot) wellness facility at 3.4 billion rubles ($45.6 million). According to one unnamed source, it houses “gigantic wards and offices” the likes of which “you won’t see in a district clinic.” “It’s just the highest class,” the source said. 

Next to the property is a 180-hectare (445-acre) field that belongs to the Russian Federation — its market value is 92.2 billion rubles (nearly $1.24 billion). According to MBX Media, “something resembling a helipad” is being built on one part of the field; in another area, a second construction site is being set up — despite the fact that the property is still classified as farmland. 

The journalists discovered the mysterious construction site after work began on a bridge across the Moskva River, just a few meters from the FSO pier by Putin’s residence. Preparations for the build began in the summer of 2020 and by September construction workers had arrived. Construction of the bridge, worth an estimated 180–200 million rubles (approximately $2.4–$2.7 million), was completed in May 2021. According to MBX Media, the FSO is responsible for the bridge and the facility itself is off-limits to outsiders. 

The Crimea-based company MS-Group was involved in the construction of the bridge. As noted by MBX Media, company CEO Vasily Spirin’s car was spotted at the construction site several times. In a telephone conversation with MBX Media, Spirin initially urged them “not to write anything” about the bridge across the Moskva River, since “it’s a private facility.” He later said that he had never been to this part of the Moscow region and knew nothing about the bridge. Workers from the major developer MonArch Group were also involved in the construction of the bridge; MBX Media’s journalists spoke with construction workers wearing MonArch Group jackets at the site, who claimed they didn’t know any details about the project. The journalists were unable to find any government contracts linking any MonArch Group companies to the construction of the bridge near Putin’s residence.

According to MBX Media, construction of the major facilities on the main property appears to have been completed, as evidenced by the appearance of workers from the company Olva, which removes construction waste.

Who the sports complex, guest houses, and wellness facility near Putin’s residence were built for remains unknown. One of the builders told journalists that “a residence is being built for [Prime Minister Mikhail] Mishustin.” Another claimed that the site is a recreation complex “for families with multiple children.”

MBX Media reached out to the FSO, Federal Security Service (FSB), Presidential Administrative Directorate, presidential press service, and the leadership of the Moscow region for comment, but didn’t receive any responses.

However, during his daily press briefing on July 20, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov insisted that “there are no construction projects at Novo-Ogaryovo.” Peskov specified that he knows nothing about the facilities under construction near Putin’s official estate, underscoring that “there are no construction projects on the territory of the president’s residence.” Peskov also said that MBX Media is “a prohibited website in our country.” “We don’t read it. It’s a banned publication,” the Kremlin’s spokesman told reporters. 

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