Author Topic: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised  (Read 45521 times)

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Offline Belochka

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #45 on: July 17, 2004, 12:32:02 AM »
The Konstantinovsky Palace Ensemble was funded by local businessmen and private citizens by subscription contributions after the formation of the International Charitable Foundation in 2001. Some funds were also donated from abroad as well.

As far as I am aware no State funding was provided.

FARRELL_THORNE I do like your idea of "Adopt a Palace". Something like this could actualy work well, provided the finished product was for the benefit of all Russians and not just a way to take possession of an Imperial residence for private use only. ;)

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline Mike

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2004, 06:33:01 AM »
Quote
The Konstantinovsky Palace Ensemble was funded by local businessmen and private citizens by subscription contributions after the formation of the International Charitable Foundation in 2001.

Belochka, this Charitable Foundation was chaired by V. Kozhin, Putin's powerful chief of staff. Now imagine such a person calling a bank or financial holding and saying "Look, we have a foundation here, and Mr. VVP thinks it could be a good idea for you guys to donate a couple of million bucks. Any objections?".

Konstantinovsky Palace was restored not for Russian and overseas tourists to enjoy, but for entertaining top bureaucrats and their privileged guests. The Charitable Foundation was a smart trick allowing Putin & Co. to declare that not a rouble of taxpayer's money was spent for building another glittering governmental residence.

Offline Belochka

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2004, 11:30:34 PM »
Quote
The Charitable Foundation was a smart trick allowing Putin & Co. to declare that not a rouble of taxpayer's money was spent for building another glittering governmental residence.


Yes I understand Mike, it does look good on paper.

Parts of the Moscow Kremlin are closed off for similar purposes, such as the Terem Palace, the Hall of Facets which includes the famous Red Staircase and the Great Kremlin Palace (the official residence of the President + official State ceremonial rooms such as the St. George, St. Vladimir Halls anor.

Under the present circumstances (security issues come to mind), I personally have no problem that the Konstantinovsky Palace is used for similar purposes.

;)


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Offline PucknDC

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2005, 10:53:32 AM »
Belochka;
I was just curious after reading this thread whom your ancestors were, and what SPB property did they own??
Thanks!
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Offline hikaru

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2005, 11:10:23 PM »
As for tourist'e enjoy, you could enjoy Konstantinovsky palace as tourist now every day by participating in the
organized tour. (when there is now official ceremonies)
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Offline Tania+

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #50 on: November 16, 2005, 12:30:57 AM »
Lisa,

I agree with your statement, but so many families were forced to flee without even their personal papers, as well save their lives. With all that was done in the stealing of private property, there may not be any way for the heirs, to gain back their families estates, etc. It's a mad go around of catch 22, and nothing worked out to date.

Again, who says that laws regarding confisticated private property by the Russian Government, will be honored, or carried forth on the side of the heirs.
Thank you for your post.

Tatiana


Quote
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.

TatianaA


Offline David

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #51 on: March 08, 2006, 09:46:29 PM »
All my family's properties and assets were seized without recompense.                                                                                          
                                                                                      Belochka

Realizing the above quote was written some time ago, I also am wondering if Belochka is open to sharing who her family in Russia was and the properties-assets they once owned. It could be quite interesting to learn of this family who once owned then lost assets and has seen the transitions their country has taken the last 80+ years. Belochka, are you willing to share about your family with us?



Offline Monarchist

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #52 on: March 14, 2006, 10:32:25 PM »
Quote
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.


In the city that I live in I used to walk by an abandoned old mansion that was in ruins and admire the work of art it was. My fear was that someday the city would demolish it an convert it into another ugly parking space or apartment building. But the property was bought by a medical group that not only restored the outside to it's original greatness but you will never know that the inside is now medical offices. Thanks to them the mansion was saved and restored to a new function in the community.

If the Russian government can't afford the expenses in so many palaces, maybe they could consider privatizing them with the condition the property not only will be restored but it's structure respected as much as posible. At least on the outside.
Anything to save them from being demolished.    

Offline Vassili_Vorontsoff

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #53 on: May 17, 2006, 12:25:12 PM »
AN ARTICLE FROM A NEWSPAPER...

Russia's aristocrats fight to prevent sale of old palaces to new billionaires
By Julian O'Halloran
(Filed: 17/10/2004)
A group of Russian aristocrats whose ancestors escaped death after the 1917 revolution are demanding compensation for thousands of mansions and palaces seized from the nobility by the Bolsheviks.
They are also mounting a campaign of resistance against a proposed new law that would allow regional governments to sell off the property that was taken into public ownership by the Communists more than 80 years ago.Regional officials have been summoned to the Kremlin for a meeting this week about an increasingly contentious issue that has reopened the deep wounds left by the destruction of Russia's property-owning classes.
The meeting follows a call for new legislation by the governor of St Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko - Russia's first woman governor and a leading ally of President Putin - to allow the seized houses to be sold off. The city authorities in Russia's former imperial capital have already identified more than two dozen palaces and mansions they want to put up for sale.
Across Russia, up to 100,000 large properties were nationalised after the revolution. Many were used to house the poor or turned into communal flats. Others were used as schools or institutes, or to accommodate Communist Party bodies. They range from dilapidated shells that would cost tens of millions of pounds to restore to mansions such as those that line the English Embankment of the River Neva in St Petersburg.
Princess Vera Obolensky, a travel agent in St Petersburg whose family spent most of the last century in exile, is infuriated by these moves. "The whole proposal is a complete shame and disgrace," she said, pointing out one of her family's former homes, a large and elegant apartment building in the city. "Of course, I realise we can't have all our properties back. Maybe one flat in one of the houses that was owned by my family would be enough."
Princess Vera says she is the 34th generation to hold her title but, like many 18th and 19th-century Russian aristocrats, speaks Russian with a distinct French accent. Her ancestors did so because of cultural preference and fashion; the princess does because her grandparents were forced to flee to France as the Bolsheviks closed in on one of their country estates, intent on murder.The family, disguised in peasant clothing, made their way to the Crimea before ending up in Paris. Princess Vera, 51, saw Russia for the first time only in the 1990s when she returned to St Petersburg after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
She points out that in a bidding war for any stately home, she and other surviving aristocrats would be unable to compete with Russia's billionaire oligarchs. "It's very cynical, because naturally we don't have any money," she said. "We've already been robbed by the Bolsheviks, back in 1917."
Russia's oligarchs, themselves mostly former Communist government officials, are already circling historic properties in St Petersburg. In 2002, Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, bought a small mansion known as Tenisheva's Palace on the English Embankment for a reported £280,000 on behalf of the government of the region of Chukotka, where he is governor. In a fully competitive market, however, it is thought that the price for even a small palace in St Petersburg could run into several million pounds.
The cards seem heavily stacked against the aristocrats. If the proposed law is passed, one political analyst predicts a privatisation scandal like those of the 1990s, when state assets were sold off to individuals with connections to government at rock-bottom prices. "I think there will be no open competition for this type of property," said Igor Leshukov, of St Petersburg's Institute for International Affairs. "It will be decided by the city authorities."
In Moscow, other dispossessed aristocrats belong to the League for the Protection of the Rights of Owners. It is monitoring about 100 legal cases in which claimants have tried - and failed - to win back properties seized in the early days of the Soviet Union.Prince Yevgeny Meshchersky, 53, a former nuclear engineer, was living in the Ukraine when communism collapsed. For decades his family had hidden their aristocratic identity, with good reason. Both his grandfathers, he said, were killed during Stalin's purges in the 1930s.
In 1997 he returned with his wife and children to the family estate of Petrovskoye-Alabino, south-west of Moscow. Today the family palace - where, he says, Napoleon stayed during his retreat from Moscow - is a ruin.
Prince Yevgeny says that the local authority is intent on selling the land for housing development. In an attempt to reclaim the site, he decided to squat in an outbuilding.
His arrival in the village of Alabino split the community, however, and his efforts ended in a bitter dispute.Finally, five years after the family occupied their former estate, the authorities evicted them.
"I moved into this palace in accordance with Russian laws," said Prince Yevgeny.
 "There was nothing criminal about my actions. But bandits are in power. The district court sent 10 armed policemen who broke into this building and physically kicked us out."I think eventually the descendants of the nobility will be leaving Russia," he said. "There is just no safety, no future, no security and no justice here."
Julian O'Halloran's

Offline Vassili_Vorontsoff

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2006, 12:33:43 PM »
nostalgicglass.org/photographs.html

The adress of a website where you could find lot of things about olds estates.

Has anyone ever seen a website which would deals with the return of  famil(ies) of aristocrats in Russia so as to restore their family's inheritance ?Or an newspaper article?

Thank you very much in avance,

Vassili

Offline Vassili_Vorontsoff

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #55 on: May 26, 2006, 05:17:05 AM »

As youc ould read it,a building has always returned to the heir of the pre revolutinary owners,an extarct froman article
RIA

Novosti
December 6, 2005
Should nationalized property be restituted to former owners in Russia?
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Vladimir Simonov.) There is an old wooden house standing amidst modern high-rise buildings in central Moscow.

The municipal authorities recently handed this historical building over to the well-known actor Nikolai Porokhovshchikov, to whose family it belonged in the past. Perhaps, this is one of the rare cases of the restitution of property nationalized by the Bolsheviks after the 1917 revolution.
Nevertheless, the idea of restitution still arouses public interest in the country, and has both supporters and opponents. This problem sparked a heated discussion the other day at the conference on restitution organized in St. Petersburg by the descendants of the Russian nobility with the support of a local news agency.
The participants in the forum discussed the experience of some European countries, including the former members of the socialist bloc, which have successfully used various forms of reimbursement for the real estate nationalized by the state, ranging from tax exemptions to financial compensation in cash or securities.

The heirs of the St. Petersburg nobility were interested in the latter option. Andrei Sorokin, a lawyer and leader of the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Imperial Union, which unites the descendants of the nobility, believes the state would be wise to issue special restitution certificates which could be accepted in lieu of tax payments.
Earlier, the Russian Orthodox Church made an attempt to restore historical justice. Many of Moscow's religious communities filed suits demanding the return of the churches confiscated by Lenin's decree on the separation of the church from the state in 1917.
Today, most churches, like the land on which they were built, belong to the state. As a result, the church has found itself in a situation where it must pay over 300 million rubles (over $10 million) in taxes for renting the land under "public buildings used for the exercise of religious rites," something that cannot but irritate it.

The initiators of restitution in the State Duma have many active supporters. Alexander Chuyev, deputy from the Rodina (Homeland) faction, has prepared the draft of the law to restore the historical rights of the church and private owners to the property that belonged to them in the past. He believes that some form of restitution is necessary to strengthen national stability because "otherwise, no property owner in Russia can be certain about the future."
However, Chuyev's opinion is at variance with current official and public opinion. Mikhail Barshchevsky, a well-known lawyer who represents government interests in the Constitutional Court, says that this is just another attempt to stage a universal re-division of property, which is more likely to result in chaos than the present situation.

Let us suppose that the court will side with the church, he says. Then, the heirs of the Romanov dynasty may bring up the question of recovering the Winter Palace. The heirs of the Tretyakov Art Gallery founders may also demand the return of the buildings and the collection of paintings. Barshchevsky believes that nationalized property should not be restituted to former owners, which would result in social upheavals on a scale that no state would survive.

Meanwhile, many historical palaces and estates in Russia and West European countries are becoming dilapidated and falling into ruin because their owners, be it the state as in Russia, or the impoverished nobility as in Britain, cannot finance their maintenance. This lamentable situation recently prompted St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko to put forward a proposal to transfer some of the city's historical buildings and museums into private hands. The draft law prepared by Matviyenko is designed to give the green light to the privatization of carefully selected architectural monuments, in some cases on exceptionally favorable terms - at half the price. The governor makes it clear that in this situation the authorities have no choice: unless this is done now, in five to ten years there will only be ruins left.

Matviyenko's initiative has also sparked heated debates. The heirs of the nobility see the sale of the real estate owned by their families in the past as a second attempt to dishonor them. The Russian nouveau riche are happily anticipating the auctioning of historical monuments, certain that no one will be able to compete with them. Meanwhile, scholars and lawmakers are concerned about how to make the new owners fulfill their duties to restore and properly maintain the national heritage that is to fall into their hands.

Offline Vassili_Vorontsoff

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #56 on: May 26, 2006, 05:23:16 AM »
Families Eye Return Of Palaces / The St. Petersburg Times

Two young women conduct a conversation in the Alexandrovsky Park on a sunny day. They are seated on park benches, perhaps drawn together earlier by outdoor chess enthusiasts.
Buildings in the center of St. Petersburg that the Bolsheviks confiscated should be given to descendants of the original owners, a round table was told last week.
Representatives of the Russian Empire Union and the organization Our Heritage and Alexander Chuyev, a State Duma lawmaker, who has drafted a bill on restitution, took part.
The round table, organized by Rosbalt, addressed the concerns of descendants of noble families for the fate of St. Petersburg's Palaces.

"If privatization takes place in Russia without any discussion on restitution, this would be illegal and immoral," Chuyev, a Rodina deputy, said at the round table on Thursday.
"The question of the privatization of cultural memorials should be approached in a way that respects the descendants of those who owned them," he said. "The nationalizations should be condemned and the descendants should be given the right to determine what happens to the properties. Apologies should be made to descendants of those people who were deprived of their property."
While conceding that the time is not right for the buildings to be restored to the families of the former owners, participants at the round table said that in the future the government should revisit the issue and that descendants would lobby for more progress to be made on restitution.

Many of the buildings that were once palaces belonging to noble families are today apartment blocks and some apartments have been privatized. Even those that are not residential and are entirely state-owned have been poorly maintained.
While other former Socialist countries have addressed the issue of returning confiscated real estate, Russia has shown little initiative on the issue and many citizens are opposed to it.

"It would be a significant step if the leadership of the country rehabilitated its relations with compatriots, many of whom live abroad," Chuyev said. His bill, which urged that architectural y significant sites be handed to the descendants of their former owners, has been filed in the State Duma, but was rejected by the Duma's property committee.
Meanwhile, representatives of the former owners admitted that the topic might be too sensitive to raise in the current circumstances."We don't call for restitution, but we want to attract the attention of society to this problem," said Boris Turovsky, head of the Russian Empire Union.

"The architectural sites have two kind of owners, a factual and historical. The historical successors can prove their rights in court," Turovsky said.However, he said that if a law on restitution is passed it could lead to social unrest.
"We don't want a second revolution," he said. Chuyev said almost every building in the center of St. Petersburg could be subject to claims from the descendants of the former owners and could theoretically be returned if it was taken away against the will of the owners, according to the Civil Code.But, considering that the descendants have had little success to get the buildings in the past 12 years, this is a theoretical possibility only, he added.

Since 1993, when talks on restitution started in earnest, almost the only former owner of seized sites to have succeeded in getting back even part of its former real estate is the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time several groups representing the interests of former owners, such as the Moscow-based Union of Merchants, have failed to prove their ownership rights in court, according to reports in the local media.
Princess Vera Obolenskaya, who grew up in France and has moved to St. Petersburg, said when she came back she found an estate that had belonged to her family in the Tverskaya region was in an awful condition."There are only ruins left, but in the past we exported cheese to Holland from there," she said."This is just a nightmare. There are only poor peasants left everywhere around," Obolenskaya said.

"The question of restitution was not initiated by us, but by the St. Petersburg governor, when she said that if buildings that are considered as architectural monuments are put up for sale, descendants will have the first right to buy them," Interfax quoted Dmitry Shakhovsky, honorary chairman of Our Heritage, as saying Thursday."I am more concerned about the legal and moral aspects of this question, but not the practical one," he said. "I am concerned about protecting the appearance of these buildings and about the future of the city."

But the restitution seems to be far from a priority for Governor Valentina Matviyenko."It is unlikely that there will be any developments on this matter in the near future," Natalya Kutabayeva, the governor's spokeswoman, said Friday in a telephone interview. "There hasn't been any information on it recently."
Matviyenko and LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov in April last year signed an agreement that the oil company will invest up to $100 million in the local fuel market development until 2007, and spend another $30 million renovating the Stieglitz Palace at 68 Angliiskaya Naberezhnaya. But last week LUKoil backed out of its plans to renovate the palace."It was planned to renovate part of the palace to be used for the office of the company, but it was unsuitable.

Offline Vassili_Vorontsoff

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #57 on: May 26, 2006, 05:28:26 AM »
The late article I'm able to post now...As for me,restitution shoud concern not builings as winter palace but palace Obolensky etc...

Aristocrats Put Forward Proposal On Restitution
By Galina Stolyarova Staff Writer

Descendants of nobles whose homes and estates were nationalized by the Bolsheviks following the 1917 Revolution have proposed that the state resolve the sensitive issue of restitution by introducing a new form of bond entitled a restitution certificate.
The proposal was voiced by St. Petersburg lawyer Andrei Sorokin, deputy head of the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Imperial Union-Order (RIUO) at a conference on restitution issues organized by Rosbalt News Agency on Thursday. The RIUO is an organization headquartered in the U.S. representing Russian aristocrats living abroad.

“The experience of post-communist countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region shows that restitution can take different forms, and doesn’t necessarily mean the physical return of lost properties,” Sorokin said. “Victims of totalitarian regimes may receive financial compensation, land or bonds. In the light of international practice, we are suggesting this new solution.”The proposal to create restitution certificates comes as a response to recent initiatives seeking to make possible the sale of a number of St. Petersburg’s crumbling historic mansions.

Plans to put some of the city’s historical mansions into private hands, which have received the support of Governor Valentina Matviyenko since April 2004, have also been backed by leading politicians in Moscow. A barrier to this move results from many of St. Petersburg’s palaces and mansions being listed as historical and architectural treasures. This means that they are under the protection of federal authorities rather than municipal authorities, complicating the privatization process.
Initially, Matviyenko planned to initiate changes in the Russian legislation which would allow the privatization of historic buildings held as federal property, but the controversial proposals failed to receive the necessary support and were not even discussed by the Federal Duma.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref has made several statements over the past few months calling for the privatization process to be stepped up. Culture and Communications Minister Alexander Sokolov said in June that privatization of the country’s crumbling architectural monuments could start in the next six months.The aristocrats have attempted to initiate a dialogue with the state but the city authorities have ignored them, Sorokin said.
Speaking at the Rosbalt conference, Galina Arkhipenko, head of the real estate department of City Hall’s Culture Committee, cited a number of palaces and mansions that currently house museums and theaters, and said it would be a disaster if these buildings were returned to their former owners.

“The former owners are remembered through the names of the buildings. Take, for instance, the Shuvalovsky Palace or the Sheremetev Palace,” she said. “It’s a sign of respect.”Some of the aristocrats present at the conference were not satisfied with this remark.
“Respecting a person means at least talking to them but the authorities speak about this as if we don’t exist. They speak as if communists themselves built loads of palaces and estates, and now there are too many of them, so the state wants to share the burden of maintaining them,” said Princess Vera Obolensky, director of the St. Petersburg branch of the French travel company CGTT Voyages. “But they didn’t build them, they expropriated them.”
Boris Turovsky, head of the St. Petersburg branch of the RIUO, said that the restitution issue should not only be a concern for aristocrats.

“By 1913, up to 90 percent of all land in the country was in the hands of the peasantry, and workers owned some property as well,” Turovsky said. “Besides, restitution is a gesture of honesty and self-respect, and a country which demonstrates this to its citizens would be much better trusted by foreign investors.”
Alexander Chuyev, a lawmaker of the State Russian Duma from the Rodina faction, and deputy head of the Duma’s Committee on NGOs and religious organizations, agrees. He believes that restitution has to be carried out to ensure future stability in Russia. “People need to support it, if only for the personal safety of themselves and their children,” Chuyev said. “Otherwise, there is always a risk that a new president or a new Duma will launch a new, irreversible expropriation campaign.”


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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #58 on: June 25, 2006, 08:49:54 PM »
I notice that the last article was published in November of 2005. Has anything happened since then?

Offline Vassili_Vorontsoff

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Re: St Petersburg palaces to be privatised
« Reply #59 on: July 04, 2006, 07:52:28 AM »
To answer you,ther is this website:http://www.restitutio1917.ru/pub.php?id=1004  in russian

In the page dedicated to the family Youssoupov we mainly talks about restitution...
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/YaBB.cgi?num=1148601012

On top of that ,I' sorry not to find something more about restitution...I've spent few hours on the web and don't find something more ...If you have ideas of key words...try!!

Vassili