Culture

President Obama Shuts Down Two Lavish Compounds Used By Russian Diplomats For Decades

This video claims to show some “inside” views of the luxury resorts used by Russian diplomats in the U.S., which is a slightly deceptive description. However, the clip does show some eye-popping aerial views of the two compounds shuttered by President Obama following his announcement of sanctions against Russia. The Obama administration also, according to the New York Times, referred to the luxurious properties as “spy nests.”

Obama is said to have given the inhabitants of these compounds 24 hours to vacate the premises. One of these properties is located on Long Island while the other sits in Maryland, about 70 miles away from Washington D.C.’s Russian embassy. Sure enough, this Google Maps screencap already labels the Maryland property as “closed.”

Here’s a NY Times‘s description of the lavish properties:

A pair of luxurious waterfront compounds outside New York and Washington have for decades been a retreat for Russian diplomats, places to frolic in the water, play tennis and take lengthy steam baths.

On Thursday, Obama administration officials described the compounds differently: as beachside spy nests sometimes used by Russian intelligence operatives to have long conversations on the sand to avoid being ensnared by American electronic surveillance.

The two compounds were both purchased by Russia decades ago (the Long Island retreat in 1954 and the Maryland retreat in 1972), although it’s not entirely clear how much time the 35 ejected diplomats spent at the estates.

Meanwhile, Putin has not disguised his disgust at Obama’s leveling of punishments for election interference. However, he has publicly declined to retaliate and eject U.S. diplomats from Russia, which some see as a signal that he expects Trump to lift the sanctions on January 20.

(Via New York Times, Washington Post & Google Maps)

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