Atlantic coast of France - Biarritz. Russian history began here at the end of the 19th century. The favorite resort of the nobility, at the turn of the era there were so many immigrants from the Russian Empire that it seems that every fourth inhabitant of the city spoke the language of the king. From the Grand Dukes of the Romanovs to Igor Stravinsky and Fyodor Chaliapin, they all had their own villas here. “When Napoleon III arrived in Biarritz with Empress Eugenie, since he was an important person, all diplomats, consuls and, of course, the entire Russian aristocracy began to come here. This is Tsar Alexander II, Alexander III, their widows,” says Olga Danilyuk, representative Biarritz tourism office. For several decades, perhaps the last bearer of Russian culture on the beaches of Biarritz was the writer Vasily Aksenov.
But in the 2000s, a new wave of Russian-speaking troops began. From the top executives of Gazprom to the wives of the oligarchs, the portrait of those who partake of the blue Atlantic blood of Putin's Russia is very different from the Russia of a century ago. The new hero of gossip in the local market is Artur Ocheretny, known as the new husband of the former first lady of Russia, Lyudmila Putina. In the Chiberta residential area of the city of Anglet, next to Biarritz, is the same villa "Suzanne" - or "Modern" - that Arthur Ocheretny acquired last year . The new owners did not manage to remain in the shadows - French law obliges to disclose the name of the owner in the building permit document, which must hang on the fence of any construction site. At first, Arthur Ocheretny did not want to "shine". But after the bailiffs issued a warning to him, the name of the owner still had to be entered.
The fact that Lyudmila Putina married the head of the Center for the Development of Interpersonal Communications Arthur Ocheretny became known two years ago. Artur is 38, he was born and raised in Lyubertsy near Moscow. I met Lyudmila at the beginning of the 2000s. After the official divorce of the Putins in 2013, Lyudmila and Ocheretny got married, and the ex-first lady even changed her last name. In Biarritz, the Ocheretny family began to meet regularly last summer. The former first lady does not like to appear in public in Russia, which is why she chose not the most popular resort among Russian tourists. Here, if you meet someone, it is more like people closer to your circle than onlookers. But not only the distance from prying eyes played a role in choosing a place. As real estate agent Bruno Aspiazu recalls, Lyudmila Putina visited Biarritz with her first husband, who was not yet the president of Russia. "There used to be a funny story about the Putin family.
When President Yeltsin decided to hand over power to Vladimir Putin, while Mr. Putin was on vacation on the Basque coast, he often came here with his wife and children. He especially appreciated this region. It is believed that that Putin was here when Yeltsin called him to offer a high position that is known," Aspiazu says. The purchase of the villa cost Ocheretny 5.5 million euros. The same amount will be spent on repairs and decoration. By local standards, this is not so much - there are villas on the coast for 20 million. The neighbors of the Ocheretny, among whom there are famous people, do not want to discuss the Russian couple - this is not accepted here. Without a camera, the NV correspondent managed to meet with a local resident.
She remembers how, in July last year, Lyudmila Putina personally came to see the house with her daughter Katerina, surrounded by several guards. "Having found out who was behind the construction site, the unknown covered the fences with curses - in Russian," the neighbor said. “Previously, the owner of the house was a lawyer who had his own office there, where he received his clients. Among them were many foreigners, especially from Spain. He lived there for about 20 years, and after his death, his widow decided to sell the villa,” says the agent real estate agent Bruno Aspiazu. The alleged daughter of Ocheretnaya is Katerina Tikhonova , champion in acrobatic rock and roll and head of the innovation center of Moscow State University.
She spent excursions along the coast of Biarritz for her mother for a reason - her husband, billionaire Kirill Shamalov, owns the Altamira villa in Biarritz - the same mansion that Reuters wrote about two years ago. According to property records, the house was formerly owned by Putin's old friend Gennady Timchenko. In 2007, Timchenko and his wife registered the real estate company Atlantic, to which the mansion was assigned.
Then this firm three years ago resold the villa to Shamalov.
"There aren't many luxury real estate agents, which means a certain level of confidentiality. I knew the person who made the transaction for the villa very well. I didn't find out right away, because the secrecy of the transaction still had to be kept - I found out that the family was behind the buyer Putin, who wants to buy a house," says Aspiazu. Neighbors say that the lights are often on in the house, gardeners come from time to time and occasionally you can see tinted cars leaving the garage. 300 square meters of living space, two large lounges for receiving guests, a pool overlooking the beach, where people come to surf from all over the world.
According to the latest estimates, Villa Altamira is worth about 4 million euros after the work. Both Lyudmila Putin and Katerina Tikhonova are rarely seen in Biarritz. But sometimes they still come to the Atlantic coast. And, as they say, they even stroll through the local market. In general, in Biarritz, Anglet, Bayonne, wealthy French people like to spend their old age playing golf and enjoying the sunset. They promise to finish the renovation of the new house by June, and perhaps Lyudmila Ocheretnaya will come to Biarritz this summer to her own house, and not to her daughter's villa.