Top 10 Ugliest Palaces of the Russian Elite
The "houses" of the top figures of Russia and their confidants are mostly reminiscent of some absurd relics of the past centuries. Who would even come up with the idea of building a palace for himself, so that, like the emperor, he can walk around the huge halls of hundreds of square meters?
"The combination of avant-garde with luxury is not a uniquely Russian thing; in the 2000s the whole world was into that – above all, mostly Arab customers, before the Arab spring of 2010. But Russia now ranks second in the world for the number of billionaires. Nowhere in the world in the 2000s there were customers so greedy for prestigious consumption, who were not connected either with the Protestant ethic of the US and Europe, or with Chinese ceremonies. It would seem that here, in Russia, the main masterpieces of this branch of the avant-garde tree should have been created. And where? Our customers have now stopped relying on the Motherland – they set up property in Europe. Conditions for the glamorous avant-garde are long gone, these days, social policy and environmental awareness are trendy. Where are you, our monuments of early Russian neo-capitalism, masterpieces of deconstruction from crocodile skin with Swarovski rhinestones? Once in my career of a critic, I saw a front door covered with a sheared mink of an abstract design – but that's all. Our interiors, unlike people who live in them, did not get into European or American Vogue, Tatler, Vanity Fair and AD, although there were plenty of Arabs, Japanese and Chinese there. ‘This is not a defeat, it is a total shame,’ wrote one of the most influential architectural critics, Gregory Revzin, in his essay called The Magnificent Twenty: Moscow Architecture and Why it Was. "
Style? Taste? Avant-garde? Money! Just have a look.
The first place, of course, is due to the homes of the Russian businessmen and billionaires close to President Putin, the Rothenberg brothers. They are located in the suburban village of Zhukovka.
The house of first vice-premier Igor Shuvalov in Skolkovo occupies the honorable second place. As you have noticed, the Rothenbergs’ and Shuvalov’s houses are made in the same range of colours. Its area is 4174 sq. m. and the price is about $10 million.
The palace of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Black Sea coast is ranked third in our chart. The main building occupies 17 692 sq. m. and cost more than a billion dollars.
This is Igor Zavyalov’s house in Akulinino, the Moscow Region. He is Sergey Chemezov’s deputy, the head of the state corporation Rostekh. Zavyalov supervises financial issues in the organization. The area of the plot is 4.3 hectares. Chemezov's house is also nearby. However, his taste is clearly better, which is why he did not get into our ranking.
The fifth best – or worst – is the piece of architecture, in which the Minister of Construction of the Samara Region, Alexey Grishin, lives.
In the already mentioned Akulinino, Sergey Yastrzhembsky lives. Under Yeltsin, his post had a very weird title: deputy head of the Presidential Administration – the presidential press secretary. Then he was deputy prime minister of the Moscow government, and under Putin he became an assistant to the president. Yastrzhembsky’s house, if not ugly, then at least is strange.
Seventh place goes to the main railway enthusiast in Russia in retirement and a very religious person – Vladimir Yakunin. His extensive housing complex (there is no other name this huge territory with buildings) is located in Akulinino. The area of the plot is 14.8 hectares.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with a house in Rublyovka occupies an honorable eighth place. (The total area of buildings is about 4000 sq. m., its price amounts to 5 billion rubles).
This is the supposed palace of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill on the Black Sea coast. It is located to the north of the village Divnomorskoye of the Krasnodar Territory. For the construction site, ten hectares of Pitsunda pine, listed in the Red Book, were cut down.
Perhaps, the most pleasant design and least ugly one is the house of the Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu in Barvikha, the Moscow Region. But the oriental style and the surrounding Russian reality break the mold completely. The approximate cost of the building is $18 million.