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Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko attends a concert at the Gazprom Arena stadium in Saint Petersburg on Jan. 27, 2024. (Vyacheslav Prokofyev/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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A private company connected to Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is building a luxury residence in the mountains near Sochi, Russia, according to a joint investigation by the Polish news outlet Belsat and the association of former Belarusian security officials BELPOL.

Lukashenko has been the only president of Belarus since he came to power in 1994, in what is widely considered the first and last time free elections were held in the country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The residence is reportedly being built in the elite resort town of Krasnaya Polyana on a plot of more than 97,000 square meters. Investigators obtained the purchase agreement for the plot along with Lukashenko's secret orders to transfer ownership of the property from the state of Belarus into the hands of Lukashenko's private associates.

The site in Krasnaya Polyana was owned by Belarus from 2009 to 2022, investigators said. Belarusian authorities acquired the land in exchange for Belarusian lands given to Russia in an agreeement signed in May 2009.

The plot was reported sold in February of 2022, the same month Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The listed buyer was Kompleks-Invest LLC, a Russian entity created six months before the sale. Around the time the LLC was set up, Lukashenko reportedly issued secret orders for the privatization of the land.

Plans for the residency include a swimming pool, a movie theater, Russian and Turkish baths, a massage room, and a fitness center, among other amenities. The site will also include a restaurant and a hotel.

According to Belsat investigators, Lukashenko may have decided to establish a residence outside of Belarus after mass protests broke out following the falsified 2020 election results. The luxury complex may be his intended home after he leaves office, either voluntarily or forcibly, journalists suggested.

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11:25 PM

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