There are currently 150,000 architectural monuments in Russia. According to Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, a majority of them are in a “horrific condition.” In order to save these properties from ruin, Medinsky has implemented a plan to auction off the estates and mansions to private citizens who can properly care for and restore them.
As reported in The Art Newspaper, a majority of the historic properties in Russia fell to ruins in the 1990s and 2000s. Although the Russian government had plans to manage the properties, it failed to follow through. The Art Newspaper explained, “Many of Russia’s historic properties were allowed to crumble in the post-Soviet bureaucracy of the 1990s and 2000s to make way for more lucrative residential and commercial buildings.”
According to Medinsky, “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.” Through the new program, the properties will be offered for rent or even sale to private citizens.
The program is already being implemented in Moscow and Medinsky is campaigning to adapt it in other regions. It has already shown positive results in Moscow because of the restoration efforts of the private renters or owners. One couple, Yury and Vera Voicehovsky-Kachaloff, recently purchased the remains of a mansion for approximately $100,000. They have since paid ten times the sale price of the mansion to have it restored. The Voicehovsky-Kachaloffs plan to turn the mansion into multi-use property, which will include a museum, cultural center, and Sunday school.