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Russian MP claiming to be at the frontline writes patriotic posts from Antalya, Turkey

The Insider has discovered that the family of United Russia MP Dmitry Sablin regularly travels to NATO member Turkey — even amid the invasion of Ukraine. The MP has also successfully hidden a billion-rouble ($10.28 million) yacht from sanctions.

Dmitry Sablin is the main “hawk” in the Russian parliament — a former serviceman, head of the organization Boevoye Bratstvo (“Combat Brotherhood”) and first deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Sablin has been building a public image of an MP on the frontline, and has even claimed to have signed a contract with the Defense Ministry.

“This is Dmitry Vadimovich Sablin. He’s in the field all the time, starting from the battles for Mariupol, and in general, from the first days of the operation. [He has] always helped Donbas,” — is how Sablin was presented in an interview by self-styled “military correspondent” Semyon Pegov (also known as WarGonzo) last October. In the video, Sablin is dressed in camouflage and can be seen carrying a weapon on his shoulder.

Contrary to that statement, however, Sablin isn’t “in the field all the time,” Just a few weeks prior to that interview, the MP concluded a vacation in Antalya, a resort in southern Turkey — a country that has been a member of NATO since 1952.

The Insider gained access to Sablin and his wife Alla Nalcha's travel records through the Sirena Travel airline reservation system. According to data reviewed by The Insider, Sablin and Nalcha traveled from Moscow to Antalya on October 7, 2022, with a layover in Sochi, and returned directly to Russia’s capital on October 12.

While vacationing in enemy territory, Sablin continued to publish patriotic posts in his Telegram channel. On October 10, he discussed the “double standards” of the West and once again called for a war against the “Kyiv regime.” On that day, Antalya had clear weather with a temperature of 27°C., and the sea was pleasantly warm at 26°C.

This was by no means the family’s only flight to NATO territory during the war. The “Sirena-Travel” system has data on monthly flights to Turkey during the summer season taken by Sablin himself and his wife, as well as their daughter Evgenia, daughter-in-law Anastasia, and son Georgy. The MP notably used a diplomatic passport when traveling.

Notably, Turkey has not aligned with EU sanctions, allowing Sablin to travel there. Sablin came under European sanctions towards the end of the preceding year — notably later than the majority of his Duma colleagues. The time lag can be explained by the fact that Sablin simply wasn’t there for the vote recognizing the so-called “independence of the DPR and LPR” — it was this ruling that placed the majority of Russia’s legislature under Western sanctions.

The EU's delayed response provided Sablin with the opportunity to safeguard his billion-rouble yacht, the Bacchus Alla, from being impounded. In the previous spring, the Bacchus Alla was docked in a Montenegro port, a nation that adheres to EU sanctions. If Sablin had been sanctioned like his parliamentary colleagues at the time, the authorities in that country could have confiscated the yacht. However, Sablin successfully concealed it before he was officially placed on the sanctions list.

Dmitry Sablin is one of the wealthiest members of the State Duma. He possesses a variety of assets, including restaurants, hotels, an agricultural corporation, and is actively involved in real estate development. Notably, one of his companies specializes in selling apartments to orphans. Government contracts are often awarded to his companies without open competition, and are frequently marked by inflated prices. Sablin's Boevoye Bratstvo (“Combat Brotherhood”) organization is also one of the largest recipients of presidential grants.

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