A Russian defector reveals Putin’s “hidden train” network

Putin Offers Condolences to Prigozhin's Family After Reported Plane Crash Death
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A senior Russian security officer who defected last year provided “rare insight into President Vladimir Putin’s paranoid lifestyle,” detailing a “secret train network, identical offices in different cities, a strict personal quarantine, and escalating security protocols,” according to a media outlet.

Gleb Karakulov, who served as a captain in the Federal Protection Service (FSO), a powerful body tasked with protecting Russia’s highest-ranking officials, said that the measures were “designed to mask the whereabouts of the Russian President, whom he described as “pathologically afraid for his life”, The Guardian reported.

The train, according to the 36-year-old, was utilised because “cannot be found on any information site. It’s done for covert reasons “, according to the news site.

The existence of the train and a secret railway network including parallel lines and stations near Putin’s residences in the Valdai national park in Novo-Ogaryovo and near his Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi was previously reported by the Russian investigative outlet Proekt.

Karakulov was a member of the Presidential Communications Directorate’s “field team,” which encrypts senior Russian leaders’ messages, and he said he had been on more than 180 trips with key officials. According to the article, he looks to be the highest-ranking intelligence official to desert since the start of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

Karakulov described a virtual state inside a state that comprises firefighters, food testers, and other engineers who go with Putin on his foreign visits, offering a unique first-hand glimpse into the Russian president’s levels of paranoia and insulated lifestyle, it said.

Karakulov also described “setting up secret communications for Putin on planes, helicopters, lavish yachts and even in a bomb shelter at the Russian embassy in Kazakhstan during an October 2022 visit when Karakulov ultimately fled to Turkey and from there to an undisclosed country in the west”.

According to Karakulov, Putin “relies heavily for information on reports provided by his security services”.

“Putin did not use a mobile phone or the internet, and did not even bring an internet specialist with him on foreign trips. “He only receives information from his closest circle, which means that he lives in an information vacuum,” he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.