Russian President Vladimir Putin presented Valaam Monastery with the yacht “Pallada”, reported Kommersant FM radio in a broadcast about the President’s visit to the monastery.
"As it turned out later, this is a gift from Vladimir Putin to the Valaam Monastery," the report says.
However, the Russian President’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov denied the reports of the donated yacht, TASS reported. Peskov noted that Putin "has long been keeping problems of the monastery [on Valaam Island] under his control. He helps in terms of economic activities and in terms of addressing other issues."
The press service of the Valaam Monastery told Interfax that the Pallada was really donated to the monastery, though by Lukoil in 2005, not by the President of Russia.
The yacht is worth about $4 million. It was built in the Netherlands for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, celebrated in 2003. Until 2005, it was on the balance sheet of the presidential administration of the Russian Federation and then it was bought out by Lukoil and donated to the Valaam Monastery. In July 2005, it was reported that the yacht would be renamed from "Pallada" to "Vsetsaritsa."
However, the Gorod 812 publication reported that the Pallada, whose name hasn’t changed, is used by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, including for visits to the diocese. The vessel, the publication pointed out, is also used by high-ranking visitors of the Valaam Monastery.