Vladimir Putin has escaped to his secret lakeside 'palace' amid brutal suppression of anti-mobilisation demonstrations in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Despite denials from the Kremlin, Putin appears to have vanished on holiday to his 'most secret official dacha' in northern Russia.
The residence, nestled in the forests of the Valdai Hills - about halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg - boasts a three-storey spa complex with a 'personal beauty parlour' nicknamed the 'temple to his asceticism'.
His vacation comes as more than 700 people were detained by Russian authorities today at protests against the partial mobilisation ordered this week by the president, according to independent monitoring group OVD-Info.
There has been unrest in more than a dozen major cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita and Ivanovo, after 300,000 Russians were conscripted for perfunctory military training before being sent to Ukraine.
While the initial protests were quickly stamped out by Putin's well-trained domestic security troops, new protests have broken out this afternoon in Moscow.
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