Author Topic: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised  (Read 43275 times)

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Offline Thierry

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St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« on: April 21, 2004, 01:36:47 AM »

Offline Olga

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2004, 02:40:33 AM »
The only good I can see in this is the money coming from private hands, rather than the government, who needs it more at the moment. But, as mentioned in the article, there is a risk of the new owners just renovating the palaces to their own tastes and desires, rather than what is historically accurate and correct.

Offline Reed

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2004, 10:18:30 AM »
It's too bad they don't offer these back to the original families who owned them first.  Admittedly, they may not have the money or inclination to do anything with them.  It just seems the "right" thing to do.  

Offline Forum Admin

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2004, 10:30:36 AM »
There is always the "thorny" question of which is better, to let them decay and disappear...or privatise them and at least save them. I vote to at least save them for now. Given Russia's lack of funds, they can at least be saved for future "accurate" restorations in the future.

Offline jackie3

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2004, 07:07:24 PM »
The tricky thing is once the govt. sells them off there's NO chance the original owners can get them back even if they make a claim to do so - the former King of Greece Constantine won a settlement in the EU courts against the Greek govt. for land which they confiscated from him that was the personal property of his family (bought out of their pocket) and not part of the State estates. Unfortunately he was suing for $100 million and was only rewarded $20 million (less than the estates are worth) with no chance of them getting it back since the land has been put to other purposes now.

In Austria and the Czech Republic I know the Hapsburgs are also suing for the return of land that was taken from them when they were deposed that was their personal property not paid for with state funds. Other minor aristocrats who lost their homes in former communist countries are doing the same.

It makes one wonder what legal leg a direct heir (if any had survived) of Nicholas II would have to get back Livadia, which I believe was also a personal property and not a state one.

Offline JM

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2004, 07:22:49 PM »
I think it's a good idea to privatise some of these palaces. How many museums do we need of how the aristocracy lived in pre-revolutionary Russia? I don't think restoring some of these palaces is or should be a priority in modern Russia. The only way they can survive is if they are put to good use.

It would be nice to return these properties to their former owners. However, I think that the palaces are less likely to be restored properly in the hands of people who don't have the funds.

Offline Jane

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2004, 07:32:12 PM »
I'm inclined to agree that a privatisation scheme would be better than letting them fall apart, as the FA previously noted.  To some extent, the Russian government is in a triage mode regarding funds.  Frankly, I'd rather see it spend money on former nuclear site security and cleanup measures, feeding the people, etc.  I think allowing interested investors to step in is a good measure at this point.

Jane

Offline Joanna

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2004, 07:12:01 PM »
Although the issue of how to preserve the palaces appears to be a modern problem given the century that has passed, it was a considerable concern prior to 1917 in St. Petersburg. Julie Buckler of Harvard University has written an apt paper titled "The City's Memory: Texts of Preservation and Loss in Imperial St. Petersburg". She quotes of the loss from the 1770's through to today and the preservationist movement in 1915 "...made major textual contributions to the cult of "Old Petersburg" in the form of books, articles, and catalogues..." Her description of Strelna is interesting in that this was written just prior to 2003 and President Putin's restoration of the Konstantinovich palace.  She also gives her Russian and English sources.


Joanna
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 05:06:11 AM by Svetabel »

Offline Olga

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2004, 02:43:13 AM »
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It's too bad they don't offer these back to the original families who owned them first.  Admittedly, they may not have the money or inclination to do anything with them.  It just seems the "right" thing to do.  


We must remember that the rich and aristocratic families in Imperial Russia made their wealth (money, land etc) from the exploitation of the majority masses of serfs and proletariat. You could argue that the numerous palaces belonged to the people, because they were the source of the wealthy families income and more or less, lifestyle.

Offline Adele

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2004, 07:17:50 AM »
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Privatization could be the salvation we have all been hoping and praying for...let's hope that there are people there who can do for those beautiful places what Rockefeller did for Colonial Williamsburg. At this point, anyone or any group of people willing to spend the money to secure the structures (roofs, walls, foundations...BASICS) to ensure their survival would be heroes. If the Forbes Faberge can be returned to Russia, which before it actually happened would have been considered a wild dream, then anything can happen, can't it?  Melissa K.



I have a question:  what would stop a private owner from razing the building and replacing it with a parking garage?

I would be for privatizing if there were restrictions placed on the private owner; like the buildings couldn't be resold to developers .

This isn't an exaggeration:  It's happening in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA), where I currently live. Right now, as we 'speak' an entire street  of historic small buidlings is being razed. It's  argued by the developers, the small buildings are 'only' 19th century buildings, and that Philadelphia must 'move on'.

I personally feel that is the problem with privatizing the St. Petersburg mansions.

--Adele

Offline Thierry

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2004, 07:47:53 AM »
I do not know if there is a law in Russia which protects old buildings.

In some European countries, old buildings of historic, architectural value are "inscribed", "classified", etc., so they cannot be altered without a specific authorization and of course cannot be demolished and replaced by a parking !

It would be a solution if the palaces must be privatized.

Offline Forum Admin

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2004, 09:01:37 AM »
Current law in St. Petersburg protects the exterior of the building, the shell. The exterior must remain, and must be preserved without alteration to the original appearance. The interior is left free to be done with as the new owner pleases. So, parking lots are not possible, but the entire interior could be lost and replaced with anything.

Offline Adele

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2004, 10:54:41 AM »
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A good model for the palaces being privitised would be Spencer House in London...the template exisits if anyone has the wisdom and sensitivity (always a huge "if") to learn from it... Melissa K.


Thanks for all the responses; it makes me feel much better.  I'd hate to see in St. Petersburg what is happening here in Philadelphia.

Adele

Joanna Mayer

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2004, 10:59:25 PM »
I do hope for the sake of fine architecture that some of these wonderful sites may be preserved rather than just refitted into some Dasha for a New russian mafioso.
Only time will tell.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2004, 10:21:15 PM »
I am likely in the minority on this, but I strongly believe that private property laws have to be respected. Stolen property needs to be returned to the heirs of the original owners. If there are no heirs, then and only then should the property be sold to non-family members. This may not be the easiest method, but unless that fundamental point of law is respected once more, I do not see any possibility for the economic prosperity of Russia - or any place else where this type of theft by the government has been permitted.