Russia has introduced legislation to take effect next month that will increase the maximum penalty for destruction of or damage to cultural monuments to $20 million. This is a vast increase from the previous fine of $1,200 which was assessed to a 2011 purchaser of a 19th century Rosenburg Mansion, who demolished the monument to develop the site.
The highest penalty, $20 million, will be imposed upon those who demolish sites on the UNESCO world heritage list. This legislation is being introduced in the wake of the loss of 40 cultural heritage objects in Russia in 2012 alone.
Russia Beyond the Headlines explains:
Experts continue to look for ways to save cultural sites. In addition to the introduction of heavy fines, another possible option would be the privatization of historic buildings, following the preparation of strict conditions for mandatory preservation and retention of the right of the authorities to terminate any contract in case of violations.
“We have to give these buildings to the private sector. We simply do not have enough money for all these cultural objects. We must involve private capital,” says Tsvetnov, summarizing the situation.
In the wake of the privatization of Russia’s cultural monuments, the new legislation is designed to keep developers from doing things like undertaking renovation projects which result in the demolition of protected sections of monuments, as is happening with the Bolkonsky Mansion, pictured.