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Thursday, January 3, 2013

RUSSIANS INVITED TO BUY BACK OR RENT THEIR OLD FAMILY ESTATES



Russians invited to buy back or rent their old family estates
Culture minister backs plan to save historic monuments heading to rack and ruin by privatising them

By Sophia Kishkovsky. Web only
Published online: 22 December 2012

The Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has begun a campaign to auction pre-revolutionary estates and mansions to save them from potential ruin. He said that architectural monuments in the worst condition would be a priority and would be offered for long-term rent or even sale to those who can demonstrate that they are committed to restoration.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia rejected the idea of property restitution to descendants of the noble families and wealthy merchants who owned such homes before the Bolshevik Revolution.

Medinsky said that the government had failed to follow through on previous plans to manage the properties and that the situation had reached a crisis point.

“There are 150,000 [architectural] monuments in the country,” said the minister according to the RIA Novosti state news agency. “Some of them are in private hands, a majority are in state hands and even more are in a state of ruin. About ten years ago there were instructions to hand over about 2,500 monuments to the monuments administration agency. [But] the government’s instruction was not carried out. Two hundred and forty-one monuments were handed over. The monuments are in [a] horrific condition.”

Medinsky said that the ministry had already proposed that Rosimushchestvo, the state property agency, auction the right to rent those sites that are in good condition at market rates, on the condition that they are properly maintained. Sites that are in a ruined state would be leased at a peppercorn rate. Olga Dergunova, Russia’s deputy economic development minister and the head of Rosimushchestvo, said firm plans were yet to be put in place, however. 

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