When Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, married his girlfriend of five years Saturday, not all the attention focused on the groom or the glamorous bride, former champion ice dancer Tatiana Navka. Instead, it was Peskov’s expensive wristwatch that drew scrutiny.
In a photograph of the bride and groom kissing, strapped around Peskov’s right wrist was a Richard Mille RM 52-01, worth at least $620,000. Opposition activist Alexei Navalny repeatedly tweeted Sunday an image showcasing the model and value of the watch, along with a magnified version of the skull that forms the background of the watch's face.
— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) August 2, 2015
Such a watch is reportedly worth at least four times Peskov’s annual salary. The watch was not included in Peskov’s valuations of his income and property, Global Voices reported Sunday. The watch wasn't officially disclosed as a gift either, meaning where the watch came from and how Peskov came by it remains a mystery, at least publicly.
Peskov’s annual income is unclear, although in February, Putin cut the salaries of his administration by 10 percent, Reuters reported.
The wedding itself was also reportedly a decadent affair, held at the most expensive hotel in Sochi, Russia, where the price of a room ranges from $580 to $3,250 per night.
In 2012, in a report titled “The Life of a Galley Slave,” leaders of the Russian opposition described jets and luxury cars that comprised a few of the plum benefits Putin had accumulated as president of Russia. Putin had 15 helicopters, four large yachts and a presidential jet that was one of 43 airplanes worth $1 billion, the New York Times reported.
Putin also appeared to have a taste for expensive wristwatches — 11 of them — with a total value of $687,000, or six times the presidential salary.
Peskov said in April that Russia was consistently and seriously fighting corruption in the country. Transparency International, an anti-corruption organization, gave Russia a score of 27 out of 100 on its Corruption Perceptions Index in 2014, ranking it 136 out of 175 countries.