CNN  — 

Theirs is a world of private jets, posh Parisian apartments, Austrian ski vacations and schooling at elite universities in London and New York.

Their parents own prime real estate on the most exclusive avenues of Europe’s capitals. Their social media profiles are filled with designer dresses and red-carpet events. One young woman posted photos of her 22nd birthday, poolside at the Adriatic Sea villa of one of Putin’s oligarchs.

Meet the kids of the Kremlin.

While their parents publicly rail against the West, their kids grow up in the very countries whose societies they claim to reject.

“It is obviously extreme hypocrisy,” said Daniel Treisman, a professor specializing in Russian politics at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“They may not even see a contradiction,” Treisman said. “They believe that there’s this competition between the US and Russia, but why should that affect their daughter’s educational plans? Or where they have their chateaus?”

Putin himself blasted Russians who may “mentally” align with the West in a speech last month, accusing them of thinking they are part of a “higher race” and working with the “collective West” toward one goal: “the destruction of Russia.”

“The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths,” Putin said.

The US recently sanctioned Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, his wife and two adult children, saying they live "luxurious lifestyles that are incogruous with Peskov's civil service salary."

One of the first families of alleged Russian corruption and hypocrisy is that of Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff and chief spokesman – a role that makes him Putin’s loudest megaphone, one who on a near daily basis dispenses the Russian President’s hardline vitriol against the West.

The United States recently sanctioned Peskov, his wife and two adult children (from two previous marriages), stating that the family lives “luxurious lifestyles that are incongruous with Peskov’s civil servant salary and are likely built on the ill-gotten wealth of Peskov’s connections to Putin.” At least two of his children were largely raised in Western Europe before returning to Moscow as adults.

While the US Treasury didn’t spell out the questionable excesses, Peskov – who’s held his role for nearly a decade and reportedly made $173,000 in 2020 – has been seen wearing a $600,000 designer watch and went on a honeymoon that included a roughly $430,000-a-week yacht off the coast of Sardinia, according to an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Based on property records, social media posts and traffic violation databases, the Anti-Corruption Foundation also revealed Peskov’s wife, ex-wife and children own luxury vehicles and multimillion-dollar homes all over the world – including Russia and France – a display of riches in stark contrast with the nearly 20 million Russians living in poverty.

The staggering, yet seemingly inexplicable, wealth of such families in Putin’s world, experts say, boils down to a single concept: kleptocracy.

“A kleptocracy is merely a government that is ruled by thieves,” said Georgetown University professor Jodi Vittori, an expert on corruption and global policy, “where the policies and decisions made are on behalf of those thieves.”

A complicated web of shell companies, offshore banks and hidden transactions often obscures their wealth, with accounts spirited away inside one another, making it complicated to trace where funds are coming from.

The wealth accumulated by Russian kleptocrats is frequently spent in Western economies.