Alexei Navalny's associates show Putin's superyacht, which avoided arrest and bypassed sanctions

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Alexei Navalny's associates have shown the luxury of Vladimir Putin's yacht, Graceful, which was urgently transported from Germany before the invasion of Ukraine and finished already in Russia during the war. They also revealed schemes to circumvent sanctions to decorate the yacht.

Source: investigation by the Russian Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF), published on Alexei Navalny's YouTube channel and website

Details: The Graceful is one of Putin's three big yachts. Like the Olympia and the  Scheherazade, Graceful is not designed for the President of Russia, but it was made for him. According to ACF, the Graceful was made based on Putin's old yacht with the help of large-scale reconstruction, full repair and very expensive equipment.

The Scheherazade was arrested in the port of Marina di Carrara in Italy, and Graceful had been "evacuated" before it came under sanctions.

It was Graceful on 19 January 2022 that the owner ordered to be transported from the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg (Germany), although her repairs there were to last another year, and the superyacht was not ready. The yacht was towed to Kaliningrad.

In June 2023, during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the refurbished Graceful came from Kaliningrad to St. Petersburg.

And just now, a superyacht with a special escort worldwide via the Northern Sea Route is on its way to Sochi, Navalny's team says.

One of the proofs that the Graceful is intended for Putin is that it is staffed by members of the Russian Federal Security Service and sails with a motorcade. In September 2022, it was spotted in Estonian waters on its way from St Petersburg to Kaliningrad, accompanied by a Russian Coast Guard boat under the FSB command; the vessel is known by its codename, Kosatka (Killer Whale).

The yacht's owner's office is equipped with a Prestige-CB, a special communication phone, which cannot be just bought: it can be used by the authorities to work with information classified as "top secret".

Navalny's associates obtained a deck plan of the yacht Graceful and an estimate for repair works.

Upstairs, on the open deck, there is a helipad, a lounge with a round table that seats 12 people, a dining elevator, a large bathtub and two contrasting fonts typical for Putin's residences.

On the deck, where the captain's deck is located, there is a lounge area with a grand piano, three sofas and a TV.

The owner's deck features a transformable swimming pool that can be transformed into a dance floor or movie theatre. The same design is on the Scheherazade. On the same deck, there is a dining room with a table for 12 people and a fireplace. There is also an owner's area with two huge cabins. There are men's and women's cabins. In the master's bedroom, there is a huge bed framed by columns. In the room next to the bedroom, there's a cabin office with a special telephone and a model of the Scheherazade.


The office of the owner of the yacht "Graceful" with the special communication phone "Prestige-CB" and the model of the yacht "Scheherazade"

From the cabins of the master and mistress, you can go down the stairs to the gym. American Hoist leg exercisers were purchased for Graceful.

Cabins for guests and crew are located on the same deck. Several jet skis and two boats are also there.

The renovation included repainting the hull, replacing the helipads and decks, installing deckchairs and sun umbrellas, repairing furniture, polishing marble, modifying the sound zone of the sauna, working on the elevators, swimming pool and jacuzzi, equipping a new cabin for the owner.

The total budget of the yacht, with all repairs and entertainment for 2022 alone, amounted to 32 million dollars, or almost 3 billion roubles at the current exchange rate. Wooden products cost 240 million roubles, sofa – 4 million roubles, carpets – 6 million, coffee table – almost 8 million, installation of two deck fireplaces – 10 million, and a pool connected to the yacht – 208 million roubles.

Expensive dishes, a comb for 11,000 roubles (almost the size of an average living wage in the Russian Federation), backgammon for half a million roubles and three armoured umbrellas for 1.2 million each were bought for the Graceful.

The Graceful was subject to American sanctions a few months after the start of the war, but for the sake of its repair, a complex system was built, a whole infrastructure of assistants in Europe, Türkiye and Dubai, who help circumvent American sanctions daily.

Back in September 2021, the MTU system with displays, which allows you to adjust engine parameters, broke.

Estonian company Briz Marine agreed not only to buy and bring to Russia displays for Putin's yacht but also to help with their reprogramming. An Estonian intermediary picked up the equipment in St. Petersburg, found a courier who took everything to a factory in Germany, and in the spring of 2023, the repaired equipment was returned to Russia.

Italian suppliers continued business relations with the head of the Graceful, despite the sanctions. The invoice for the form was prepared, omitting all compromising details. The invoice was processed several times: first, it was issued to a Russian company that manages the yacht, then to an Estonian company, and in the end, the form was paid by a company from Dubai. After payment from Italy, the goods were sent to Lithuania to be delivered from there to Kaliningrad, directly to the yacht.

They also carried umbrellas for yachts on the route Türkiye – Lithuania – Kaliningrad.

The Estonian firm that helps buy clothes to circumvent sanctions is headed by the same person who helped with the displays for the yacht. And after the invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, the company's affairs went uphill.

ACF intends to file a complaint against each of these firms involved in serving Putin to circumvent sanctions.

Navalny emphasises that already during the war, 3 billion roubles (US$31.8 million) were spent on "Putin's toy", of which two billion (US$21.4 million) were spent on repairs and another billion on maintenance (crew salaries, overheads, communication, storage in dry dock, fuel, representative expenses). And the money will continue to be spent.

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