Putin Aide Photographed with Luxury Richard Mille Watch
Another week, another scandal involving public figures and extravagant timepieces. This time the subject of the controversy is Dmitry Peskov, an aide to Russian president Vladimir V. Putin. On Saturday, Pescov wed Olympic gold medalist Tatiana Navka in a lavish ceremony in the seaside town of Sochi.
At such a glittering occasion one would normally expect all eyes to be on the bride but in this case it was the groom who caught the attention of photographers with the luxury watch on his wrist. The red gold skull adorning the dial made the timepiece easily identifiable as the Richard Mille RM 52-01, a limited edition of only 30 pieces, each bearing a price tag of $620,000.
This raised eyebrows because that figure is four times the Putin spokesperson’s annual salary. When queried by the BBC, Peskov claimed that the pricey Richard Mille timepiece was a gift from his new bride. “The watch is indeed very expensive,” he stated, adding, “But it costs far less than some people have said.”
Both Peskov and Navka declined to answer questions about how a retired ice dancer could come up with the cash for such a watch. Peskov claimed that his bride had presented the timepiece to him on the day of the ceremony, saying, “I could not not wear a gift from my wife at our wedding.” There’s just one problem with that statement—Peskov’s daughter Yelizaveta had posted photos of her dad wearing the same watch on Instagram several weeks ago.
Oleg Mitvol, a Moscow city official and friend of the couple, offered this somewhat specious explanation for the brouhaha: “Peskov knew that he would be photographed during the wedding and that the pictures would fly across the Internet…and in this case the young couple decided to make a joke.
“Peskov borrowed the watch from one of his friends at the wedding. He posed with it. We waited for journalists to respond to this canard. And we were right. The next day everyone started tallying how much the watch costs and how a bureaucrat could allow himself such a luxury on his modest salary?”
Maybe Peskov should hire a public relations expert if he wants to make a “joke” like this more believable.