MOSCOW — Georgy Alburov stood knee-deep in snow, having just posed as a tourist to gain access to an exclusive ski resort in southern Russia. Guards had checked his trunk as he drove in, but failed to spot the drone — a device that had become key to the opposition’s efforts to expose corruption among the Kremlin elite.
Under the watchful eye of security cameras, Alburov scrambled up a five-meter snowbank and used it as a launching pad to fly the drone toward its target: a sprawling Krasnodar Krai mountain estate reputedly owned by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The drone brought back just the type of footage that Alburov, a key activist for opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anticorruption Foundation, was seeking. It revealed sweeping, snow-capped grounds replete with luxuries — mansions, a private helipad, a swimming pool, and a spa complex — and would set the Russian Internet alight.