CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mansion owned by Annenberg publishing heir is sold: Inside the Russian mega-mansions

 

 

 

 

Historic mansion owned by Annenberg publishing heir is sold for $15million - to a businessman who can now count Taylor Swift among his neighbors

  • The Fairholme estate has played host to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and President John F. Kennedy
  • Built in 1875, it sits on 4.3 acres of oceanfront real estate along Rhode Island's Cliff Walk
  • The main house has more than 24,000 square feet of space, including 15 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms.
  • Real estate experts say it is the biggest sale in the area since singer Swift bought an £18m mansion there in 2013

A stunning historic home located along Newport, Rhode Island's Cliff Walk has sold for $15 million.

The Fairholme estate sits on 4.3 acres of land overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

According to Lila Delman Real Estate, which specializes in luxury Rhode Island properties, this is the largest residential sale in the state since 2013, when Taylor Swift bought a Newport mansion for $17.75million.

One of Fairholme's former owners, John Drexel, had many notable visitors, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and President John F. Kennedy.

The Tudor-style home dates back to 1875 and has more than 24,000 square feet of space, including 15 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms.

There is a ballroom that can accommodate 120 guests, a carriage house with six bedrooms, a five-car garage, and an ocean-facing hand-tiled swimming pool with a cabana pavilion, according to Providence Journal.

It was sold by the heir to the Annenberg publishing fortune, John Noffo Kahn, reportedly to businessman Doug Manchester, a real estate developer and former newspaper owner from San Diego, California.

This Tudor-style mansion, called Fairholme, is on Newport's Cliff Walk and has sold for $15million to a Californian businessman

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This Tudor-style mansion, called Fairholme, is on Newport's Cliff Walk and has sold for $15million to a Californian businessman

The oceanfront home dates back to 1875 and has been in the Annenberg publishing family for three generations

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The oceanfront home dates back to 1875 and has been in the Annenberg publishing family for three generations

The historic mansion sits on 4.3 acres of prime Newport gold-coast oceanfront real estate and has stunning views of the sea

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The historic mansion sits on 4.3 acres of prime Newport gold-coast oceanfront real estate and has stunning views of the sea

The home comes with a manor house on the property - just in case the main mansion isn't enough space

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The home comes with a manor house on the property - just in case the main mansion isn't enough space

Never mind the ocean: The property boasts a sparkling swimming pool with cabana pavilion that overlooks the Atlantic ocean

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Never mind the ocean: The property boasts a sparkling swimming pool with cabana pavilion that overlooks the Atlantic ocean

This is one of the sitting rooms in the main property, which boasts its own chandelier and period-style furniture

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This is one of the sitting rooms in the main property, which boasts its own chandelier and period-style furniture

There are 15 bedrooms, including this spacious one, which also has a chandelier and an impressive fireplace

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There are 15 bedrooms, including this spacious one, which also has a chandelier and an impressive fireplace

Previous guests to have slept in the sumptuous bedrooms include the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and President John F. Kennedy.

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Previous guests to have slept in the sumptuous bedrooms include the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and President John F. Kennedy.

Gorgeous greenhouses dot the property to nurture the many flowers needed to keep the expansive grounds looking their best

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Gorgeous greenhouses dot the property to nurture the many flowers needed to keep the expansive grounds looking their best

The ballroom, which can cater for 120 guests, is just one of the many decadent features of the Tudor-style mansion

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The ballroom, which can cater for 120 guests, is just one of the many decadent features of the Tudor-style mansion

Nearly every room has its own chandelier and fireplace, including this impressive wood-panneled sitting area

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Nearly every room has its own chandelier and fireplace, including this impressive wood-panneled sitting area

This dining room will probably be used by the owner for intimate family gatherings - when the ballroom is simply too large! 

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This dining room will probably be used by the owner for intimate family gatherings - when the ballroom is simply too large!

The mansion has a wet bar, cedar closets, marble and stone fireplaces and hardwood and parquet floors, include these polished beauties

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The mansion has a wet bar, cedar closets, marble and stone fireplaces and hardwood and parquet floors, include these polished beauties

The estate was designed by American architect Frank Furness and built by his company Furness & Hewitt

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The estate was designed by American architect Frank Furness and built by his company Furness & Hewitt

Almost everywhere you look, you can see the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean from the gorgeous property

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Almost everywhere you look, you can see the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean from the gorgeous property

This huge hallway is the first room guests step into when they arrive. It will now be used by real estate magnate Doug Manchester 

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This huge hallway is the first room guests step into when they arrive. It will now be used by real estate magnate Doug Manchester

The estate contains unique and intricate gables and trim - including this angel, who no doubt keeps a watchful eye over the residents

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The estate contains unique and intricate gables and trim - including this angel, who no doubt keeps a watchful eye over the residents

 

 

 

 

 

Helipads, climate-controlled fur coat closets and ostentatiously dripping in gold: Inside the Russian mega-mansions that've had £40m knocked off the asking prices as Moscow feels a financial chill (but they still cost £50m!)

  • Property prices in Russia are being slashed and up to £44m is being knocked of the value of the most lavish home
  • Sashing of house values shows how Russia's elite are reeling from low oil prices and punishing Western sanctions
  • In Rublyovka, known as Beverly Hills, property prices fell 36 per cent in the first half of this year compared to 2014
  • A palace advertised at the start of this year for £70m has been reduced to £26m - a little over a third its original price

Nine-bedroom mansions, swimming pools and climate-controlled rooms to keep furs in good condition can now be snapped up for a (relatively) bargain price in Russia as house prices plummet amid political uncertainty.

Some of the most stunning property bargains in the world are now available close to Vladimir Putin's own country estate with up to £44m wiped off prices.

The slashing of house values shows how Russia's elite are reeling from low oil prices and punishing Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Whether you're seeking an ostentatious palace in Moscow, a top ballerina's penthouse in St Petersburg, or the ultimate holiday home in remote Siberia, there are deals galore... but you'd still need a cool £50m to get your foot on the mega-mansion ladder. 

Lavish: This penthouse on two levels in St Petersburg - Putin's home city and tsarist capital of Russia - is worth £8million

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Lavish: This penthouse on two levels in St Petersburg - Putin's home city and tsarist capital of Russia - is worth £8million

Extravagant: This  home is listed for £51m but experts say it would have sold for in excess of £74 million or more before the crisis

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Extravagant: This home is listed for £51m but experts say it would have sold for in excess of £74 million or more before the crisis

Dripping in gold: This palace was originally advertised  for £70m - a similar price to a five-bedroom property at One Hyde Park, London

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Dripping in gold: This palace was originally advertised for £70m - a similar price to a five-bedroom property at One Hyde Park, London

Luxurious: This large home now on the market is at Sady Meyendorf, Russia, has a swimming pool, gym, solarium, sauna, and a wine cellar

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Luxurious: This large home now on the market is at Sady Meyendorf, Russia, has a swimming pool, gym, solarium, sauna, and a wine cellar

Famous name: This downtown St Petersburg penthouse of world renowned ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, has been on and off the market

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Famous name: This downtown St Petersburg penthouse of world renowned ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, has been on and off the market

For now, if you want to live like an oligarch and be neighbours with household names like Roman Abramovich, Alisher Usmanov and Oleg Deripaska, the dizzying discounts come in millions, and sometimes tens of millions.

In Rublyovka, known as Russia's Beverly Hills, close to Putin's own heavily-guarded Novo-Ogaryovo official residence with six-metre high fences, average new property prices fell 36 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2014 - when a downward spiral was already underway.

This catastrophic collapse in property values highlights the straitened financial circumstances of many Reds-to-Riches moguls as economic hardship bites, with some selling so they can flee to their luxury bolt-holes in the West amid the menacing economic storm clouds.

'Often the true scale of the fall in prices is not clear in advertised prices, and only becomes evident in the secrecy of the deal struck between the tycoon who is desperate to sell and the bargain-seeking buyer,' one estate agent dealing in upmarket Moscow homes explained.

'Make no mistake, the market has plummeted, and it shows no signs of stopping.'

Alexei Treschev, director of city and regional property for Knight Frank in Moscow, said discounts of '40 to 50 per cent' can be offered based on 'the personal financial situation of the buyer'. 

As Leonid Krongauz, of Kalinka Realty, said recently: 'The political and economic instability prevents everyone from buying real estate.'

For sellers in this area, where some mansions are connected to a closed-network Kremlin landline phone system, the pressure to cash-in is acute and the losses vast.

Regal: This mock baronial castle comes with its own lake and came on the market a year ago for £64m but the price has now fallen to £51m

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Regal: This mock baronial castle comes with its own lake and came on the market a year ago for £64m but the price has now fallen to £51m

Castle: The imposing property in Rublyovka is priced at £51m but it is believed the owner would settle for less in the current market

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Castle: The imposing property in Rublyovka is priced at £51m but it is believed the owner would settle for less in the current market

Imposing: This grand home boast a large patio area with a fountain, greenery and a staggering 43,000 square feet of living space inside

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Imposing: This grand home boast a large patio area with a fountain, greenery and a staggering 43,000 square feet of living space inside

Breathtaking: This castle in Rublyovka, Russia, is just one of the many properties which have had their asking prices cut by millions

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Breathtaking: This castle in Rublyovka, Russia, is just one of the many properties which have had their asking prices cut by millions

One jaw-dropping mock baronial castle with its own lake in Rublyovka came on the market a year ago for £64m, and as usual for elite property in Russia, was priced in dollars to seek to avoid the tumbling rouble.

With sweeping grounds, and a staggering 43,000 square feet of living space, the price fell to £51 million and there are hints the owner would settle for significantly less, which is certainly the case for many properties here on Oligarch Row.

A golden palace which was advertised at the start of this year for £70m demonstrated the scale of the collapse in prices. You could have bought a five-bedroomed property at the exclusive One Hyde Park, London, for a similar price.

It is supposed to be 'fit for a tsar' with nine sumptuous bedrooms, baroque-style living areas and two pools, while being awash with chandeliers and gold decorations throughout.

Yet there is a lack of buyers for its custom-made ornate furniture and rolling estate, replete with towering pine trees.

So much so that in just six months the price has nosedived by a staggering £44m to £26m - a little more than a third its original asking price.

With one bedroom themed entirely in red, black and gold, even down to the colours of the wooden floor, is still far from clear it will sell at this price.

One agent said: 'The interiors are reminiscent of baroque palaces. The rooms have a lot of gold, natural stone and precious wood. In some rooms the floors are made of natural marble and the billiard room and library are solid oak and mahogany.'

A walk-in shower is set on a marble plinth amid jokes the house is large enough to accommodate an oligarch and all his mistresses. 

Grand: This property was advertised at the start of this year for £70m - similar to the price of five-bedroomed property at One Hyde Park

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Grand: This property was advertised at the start of this year for £70m - similar to the price of five-bedroomed property at One Hyde Park

Flashy: This walk-in shower is set on a marble plinth at this property, which it is supposed to be 'fit for a tsar' with nine bedrooms

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Flashy: This walk-in shower is set on a marble plinth at this property, which it is supposed to be 'fit for a tsar' with nine bedrooms

Devalued: The price of this palace has fallen by a staggering £44m to £26m in six months - a little more than a third its original asking price 

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Devalued: The price of this palace has fallen by a staggering £44m to £26m in six months - a little more than a third its original asking price 

Sumptuous: The rooms are filled with gold, natural stone and wood. The billiard room and library are filled with solid oak and mahogany

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Sumptuous: The rooms are filled with gold, natural stone and wood. The billiard room and library are filled with solid oak and mahogany

Stunning: This property, now worth £26m, is filled with extravagant  chandeliers and decorations dripping in gold throughout

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Stunning: This property, now worth £26m, is filled with extravagant  chandeliers and decorations dripping in gold throughout

Kalinka agency has been selling a house in this vicinity for £70.5m, but the guaranteed discount is said to be £13 million. A sculpture of a naked woman made from small bullet casings is also negotiable.

Another stupendous estate on the market currently on prestigious Skolkovskoe Shosse is listed for £51m, subject to negotiation as all properties are currently in Moscow, but experts say it would have sold for in excess of £74 million or even more before the crisis.

It has its own cinema, a sports hall with showers, a swimming pool, Turkish hammam (bath), and sauna with an ice pool to cool off.

It boasts an wine cellar, a 'storage room for presents', and a garage for seven cars.

The property includes an office for the master of the house and another for his butler, along with a dining room to comfortably accommodate 14, and a separate house with accommodation for the servants, and another for the security guards.

On the second floor is a balcony overlooking the main hall with its fireplace, a main bedroom with his and hers bathrooms and showers, a boudoir, a 'resting room' and several dressing rooms.

There are two children's bedrooms with bathrooms, a play hall, and a bedroom for the nanny with its own dressing room and bathroom.

'This luxurious house was built according the design project of well known designer Nana Getashvili,' explains the Knight Frank brochure. 'Interiors are in art-deco style, they demonstrate sophisticated taste and the high social status of the owner.

'The main hall at the ground floor is decorated with exotic stairs shaped like a horseshoe. Accessories were ordered exclusively in Italy.'

Contemporary:  This mansion on prestigious Skolkovskoe Shosse has its own cinema, a sports hall with showers and a swimming pool

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Contemporary:  This mansion on prestigious Skolkovskoe Shosse has its own cinema, a sports hall with showers and a swimming pool

Pricey: This mansion is on the marketfor £51m but experts say it would have sold for in excess of £74 million or even more before the crisis

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Pricey: This mansion is on the marketfor £51m but experts say it would have sold for in excess of £74 million or even more before the crisis

Opulence: The property includes an office for the master of the house and another for his butler, along with an enormous dining room

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Opulence: The property includes an office for the master of the house and another for his butler, along with an enormous dining room

Desirable: If you have £51m you can buy this property which has a wine cellar, a 'storage room for presents', and a garage for seven cars

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Desirable: If you have £51m you can buy this property which has a wine cellar, a 'storage room for presents', and a garage for seven cars

Grandeur: On the second floor is a balcony overlooking the main hall with a fireplace and a main bedroom with his and hers bathrooms

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Grandeur: On the second floor is a balcony overlooking the main hall with a fireplace and a main bedroom with his and hers bathrooms

It was once said of this area: 'Along with vodka, Matryoshka dolls and AK-47s, Rublyovka has become a symbol of the new Russia and its new myths. Living at Rublyovka spells success for some, and for others is an example of bad taste.'

The highway along which some of Russia's most elite families live has been a place of privilege since long before Soviet times. In the Imperial period, it was known as the 'Tsar's Road' as long ago as the 16th century.

'The times changed, but the nobility continued to live at Rublyovka,' wrote one authority on Rublyovka, Valerij Panyushkin. 

'This is where the dachas of Lenin and Stalin were located, as well as the summer residences of all the subsequent general secretaries, from Khrushchev to Gorbachev.'

Today, the prized properties here are virtually all constructed since the Red Flag was hauled down in the past almost quarter of a century, before which private property was all-but non-existent.

Kitsch and gaudy, there are faux chateaus and palaces, all well guarded by armies of security operatives.

Another large home now on the market is at Sady Meyendorf, one of numerous elite guarded compounds in this suburb.

On three levels, it has a swimming pool, gym, solarium, sauna, wine cellar, and numerous bedrooms with a children's wing.

On the market for almost a year, its price has yo-yo'ed between £47m and £37m without finding a buyer.

Indulgent: This large home at Sady Meyendorf in Russia is heavily guarded and comes with an eye-watering price tag of £47m

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Indulgent: This large home at Sady Meyendorf in Russia is heavily guarded and comes with an eye-watering price tag of £47m

Splendour: The property is set across three levels and has its own swimming pool, a gym, sauna, wine cellar and numerous bedrooms

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Splendour: The property is set across three levels and has its own swimming pool, a gym, sauna, wine cellar and numerous bedrooms

Desirable: The enormous Russian home has been on the market for almost a year but it still hasn't been snapped up by a wealthy buyer

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Desirable: The enormous Russian home has been on the market for almost a year but it still hasn't been snapped up by a wealthy buyer

Beautiful:  On three levels, it has a swimming pool, gym, solarium, sauna, wine cellar, and numerous bedrooms with a children's wing

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Beautiful:  On three levels, it has a swimming pool, gym, solarium, sauna, wine cellar, and numerous bedrooms with a children's wing

Not sold: On the market for almost a year, this property's  price has yo-yo'ed between £47m and £37m but a buyer has not yet been found

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Not sold: On the market for almost a year, this property's  price has yo-yo'ed between £47m and £37m but a buyer has not yet been found

Tasteful: While some of the expensive Russian properties are kitsch and gaudy, this pricey home has been decorated tastefully

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Tasteful: While some of the expensive Russian properties are kitsch and gaudy, this pricey home has been decorated tastefully

Further out of the city, at Gorky-10 village, a slightly more modest home with swimming pool, cinema hall, library, gym and servants quarters and five bedrooms - together with a separate eight-room guest house - was on the market for £11.5m, before being slashed by one third to £7.7m.

Yet still it has not yet budged.

Still on the market, despite a £1.6m discount at Christmas is a high-tech modernistic four bedroom home now costing £11.2m at Zhukovka XXI settlement, also on the fringes of Moscow.

If these are houses for billionaires or well-stacked multi-millionaires, the same agony in shrinking values afflicts more humble simple millionaires in the wake of the rouble's plummet since Putin's annexation of Crimea.

This plight of wealthy moguls is highlighted by another property, a 'cottage' with swimming pool at Barvikha XXI settlement on Rublevo-Uspenskoe Shosse, put on sale for £6.4m in December 2014.

But online statistics show the dire state of the market: 727 people read the advertisement, 11 liked it, but nobody sent any offers or queries.

Another property that isn't moving is the downtown St Petersburg penthouse of world famous ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, which has been on and off the market in the crisis period.

Patriotically, this was priced in Russian currency not dollars, yet agents had to recalibrate the sum from 89 million to 130 million due to the sinking of the rouble.

Despite this hike, it still masked a reduction in the asking price from £1.6m to £1.46m, well below what she might have got for it a few years ago. And even so it is not selling.

Modest: At Gorky-10 village, this home has a swimming pool, cinema hall, library, gym and servants quarters and five bedrooms

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Modest: At Gorky-10 village, this home has a swimming pool, cinema hall, library, gym and servants quarters and five bedrooms

Property price: It has a separate eight-room guest house and was is on the market for £7.7m after being slashed from £11.5m

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Property price: It has a separate eight-room guest house and was is on the market for £7.7m after being slashed from £11.5m

Unsold: The home at Gorky-10 village has still not been sold despite the price being slashed by one third to £7.7m at Christmas time

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Unsold: The home at Gorky-10 village has still not been sold despite the price being slashed by one third to £7.7m at Christmas time

Fortune: A free-standing bathtub is joined by his and hers sinks in this opulent Russian property which will set you back £7.7m

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Fortune: A free-standing bathtub is joined by his and hers sinks in this opulent Russian property which will set you back £7.7m

Modern: Still on the market, despite a £1.6m discount at Christmas is a hi-tech modernistic four bedroom home now costing £11.2m

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Modern: Still on the market, despite a £1.6m discount at Christmas is a hi-tech modernistic four bedroom home now costing £11.2m

Clean lines: Situated in the Zhukovka XXI settlement, the property is monotone and boasts clean lines and incredibly tall ceilings

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Clean lines: Situated in the Zhukovka XXI settlement, the property is monotone and boasts clean lines and incredibly tall ceilings

Futuristic: The house the Zhukovka XXI settlement is filled with hardwood floors and stone walls and has been tastefully decorated

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Futuristic: The house the Zhukovka XXI settlement is filled with hardwood floors and stone walls and has been tastefully decorated

Little interest: This 'cottage' with swimming pool at Barvikha XXI settlement on Rublevo-Uspenskoe Shosse, was put on sale for £6.4m

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Little interest: This 'cottage' with swimming pool at Barvikha XXI settlement on Rublevo-Uspenskoe Shosse, was put on sale for £6.4m

No sale: This property was listed for sale in 2014 and 727 people read the advertisement, 11 liked it, but nobody sent any offers or queries

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No sale: This property was listed for sale in 2014 and 727 people read the advertisement, 11 liked it, but nobody sent any offers or queries

State of the market: Despite interest, no one has made an offer on this home at Barvikha XXI settlement on Rublevo-Uspenskoe Shosse

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State of the market: Despite interest, no one has made an offer on this home at Barvikha XXI settlement on Rublevo-Uspenskoe Shosse

In a grandiose building designed in the tsarist era by famed Italian architect Carlo Rossi, estate agents MK Elite boasts: 'The interior is breathtaking, it's made in a traditional palace style so anyone will feel like a member of a royal family.

'We'd like to point out the delicacy of the Venetian plaster, carving and gilding, as well as hand-carved mirror frames.

'There is even a fireplace in the apartment, you can set a fire on a cold winter evening and make the place feel even more cosy.'

From its windows are 'spectacular' views of historic St Petersburg, one of Europe's most beautiful cities and the heart of Russia's cultural capital.

The glamorous Volochkova, now 39, became famous in Britain when besotted millionaire admirer, lawyer Anthony Kerman, personally rented out the London Palladium to allow her to showcase her talents while also providing her with a flat in the capital and a chauffeur-driven limo.

Dubbed the 'wicked witch' at the time, a decade and a half ago the Bolshoi Ballet star denied being a marriage wrecker, even though her patron's marriage broke up following her arrival.

The Volochkova apartment includes a dining room, lounge, two bedrooms, bathroom and spacious kitchen, with a total area of 196 square metres.

It's ornate ceilings were painted by experts from the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

Another penthouse on two levels in St Petersburg - Putin's home city and tsarist capital of Russia - comes with a Steinway piano and its own 'smoking room', and is 'decorated in palace-style and worthy of a royal family' in an historical location close to St Vladimir's Cathedral. JJJ

This is now on sale for £8.07m but insiders say pre-crisis it would have been valued at up to £12.8m.

Penthouse: This home is in St Petersburg - Putin's home city and tsarist capital of Russia - and comes comes with a Steinway piano

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Penthouse: This home is in St Petersburg - Putin's home city and tsarist capital of Russia - and comes comes with a Steinway piano

Stipes: This penthouse has its own 'smoking room', and is 'decorated in palace-style and worthy of a royal family' in an historical location

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Stipes: This penthouse has its own 'smoking room', and is 'decorated in palace-style and worthy of a royal family' in an historical location

Cut price: This St Petersberg penthouse is now on sale for £8.07m but insiders say pre-crisis it would have been valued at up to £12.8m

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Cut price: This St Petersberg penthouse is now on sale for £8.07m but insiders say pre-crisis it would have been valued at up to £12.8m

History: This is the downtown St Petersburg home of world famous ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, which has been on and off the market

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History: This is the downtown St Petersburg home of world famous ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, which has been on and off the market

Unusual design: From the peroperty's windows are 'spectacular' views of historic St Petersburg, one of Europe's most beautiful cities

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Unusual design: From the peroperty's windows are 'spectacular' views of historic St Petersburg, one of Europe's most beautiful cities

Things are just as bleak in downtown Moscow.

One prestigious address - on four storeys - offers a 22-metre saltwater lap pool, a climate controlled room to keep furs in good condition, and a balcony that doubles up as a helipad. Its cost has dropped £28.8m to £19.2m.

The doldrums are reflected by reports this month that not a single prestigious flat in Ostozhenka Street - aka the Golden Mile, and packed with some of Moscow's most upmarket newly-built apartments - sold during the past six months. The average cost here is £4.2m.

If your taste is somewhere more off the beaten track, how about Siberia?

One epic mansion deep in the forest near Novosibirsk is now off the market after selling for 'well below' its quoted price of £5.4m.

With views over the Ob River - the seventh largest in the world - it has a delightful English-style lawn with fir and birch trees, as well as bushes, and an artificial lake stocked with fish and complete with a waterfall.

It perhaps alters the gulag stereotype about Siberia, but other plush homes in the region are harder to sell.

Five time zones east of Moscow is a gold leaf and stucco mansion in historic Irkutsk, close to the world's oldest and deepest lake, Baikal.

With baroque designs, a wide staircase, carved railings and handmade chandeliers, it boasts a swimming pool, billiard room, and fireplace, and is priced at £957,000, which insiders say is 50 per cent below the likely market level 18 months ago.

Magical: This address - on four storeys - offers a 22-metre saltwater lap pool and a climate controlled room to keep furs in good condition

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Magical: This address - on four storeys - offers a 22-metre saltwater lap pool and a climate controlled room to keep furs in good condition

Office: This stunning property has a balcony that doubles up as a helipad. It's price has dropped by almost £10m from £28.8m to £19.2m.

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Office: This stunning property has a balcony that doubles up as a helipad. It's price has dropped by almost £10m from £28.8m to £19.2m.

Capital: This Moscow property is suffering the same fate as others in the country - the value has dropped by a whopping £10m

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Capital: This Moscow property is suffering the same fate as others in the country - the value has dropped by a whopping £10m

Pool with a view: If you owned this property, you could take a swim while looking out across the skyline of Moscow in Russia 

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Pool with a view: If you owned this property, you could take a swim while looking out across the skyline of Moscow in Russia 

Prestigious area: Not a single flat in Ostozhenka Street - aka the Golden Mile - sold during the past six months. The average cost is £4.2m

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Prestigious area: Not a single flat in Ostozhenka Street - aka the Golden Mile - sold during the past six months. The average cost is £4.2m

Back in Moscow in the prestigious Rubyovka region, Ilya Menzhunov, director of elite real estate Metrium Group, admitted: 'Competition is growing and it makes owners cut prices or offer large discounts....Many buyers today want to get a 50 per cent discount - and more.'

Sellers are offering 30 to 35 per cent 'when they need to sell urgently. In general, a good discount is 20 to 25 per cent.'

But some agents - like Kalinka Group's Ekaterina Rumyantseva - thinks the market has now bottomed out, which means buyers including investors will make a killing as the market recovers. 

Others are more sceptical, seeing no end to the bitter dispute in Ukraine, even if there is currently less fighting, and an imminent end to Western sanctions as unlikely.

But she stressed those looking for bargains - and able to spend - 'have a good choice which allows them to find the optimum house in terms of location, budget, square metres, and infrastructure'.

With elite city property it is 'a buyer's market - he dictates his terms....prices in dollars in general went 30 to 40 per cent down, comparing to pre-crisis times'. 

Mr Treschev, from Knight Frank, puts the 'sagging' or decline in the market at up to 50 per cent but claims it can recover.

He admitted that not all houses in the elite top end of the market are visible to the public, perhaps because wealthy sellers in financial straits or buyers do not want to highlight their deals.

'There are about 40 houses in our database which belong to ultra-expensive segment of the market, those over 25 million US dollars. But many deals in the segment are closed from public view." 

Elena Iskovskikh, commercial director of Yard Real Estate Agency, which runs rublyovka.ru property site on which many of the elite houses are listed, said a few years ago the main buyers of elite houses were enriched apparatchiks - or officials - and 'big bosses from the oil and gas industry'. 

Today, within the new clients 'the number of bureaucrats is very low'.

While this is not an allegation she makes, some would believe such buyers had got rich on bribes while holding public positions, which enabled them to buy lavish property, but who are now desperate to sell. 

Magnificent: This enormous gold leaf and stucco mansion in historic Irkutsk is close to the world's oldest and deepest lake, Baikal

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Irkutsk

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Magnificent: This enormous gold leaf and stucco mansion in historic Irkutsk is close to the world's oldest and deepest lake, Baikal

Room for the whole family: This property is priced at £957,000, which insiders say is 50 per cent below the market level 18 months ago

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Room for the whole family: This property is priced at £957,000, which insiders say is 50 per cent below the market level 18 months ago

Style: nnn. With baroque designs, a wide staircase, carved railings and handmade chandeliers, it boasts a swimming pool, billiard room, and fireplace, and

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Style: With baroque designs, a wide staircase, carved railings and handmade chandeliers, it boasts a swimming pool, and a billiard room

Spacious: The property has spacious bedrooms and will set you back £957,000, 50 per cent less than it would have done 18 months ago

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Spacious: The property has spacious bedrooms and will set you back £957,000, 50 per cent less than it would have done 18 months ago

Market: Russians are returning from foreign countries - like Spain and possibly Britain - where they had made investments

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Market: Russians are returning from foreign countries - like Spain and possibly Britain - where they had made investments

Epic: This mansion deep in the forest near Novosibirsk is now off the market after selling for 'well below' its quoted price of £5.4m

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Epic: This mansion deep in the forest near Novosibirsk is now off the market after selling for 'well below' its quoted price of £5.4m

Ms Iskovskikh makes another point, that today's buyers seeking to cash in on the good value deals include 'people who are bringing capital back to Russia'. 

Putin has offered an amnesty with no questions asked to Russians who stashed away fortunes overseas and now bring them back.

'I know it contradicts with what we read in press that money is leaving Russia, but I am telling you about my own experience,' she said.

'There are businessmen who are bringing money back from offshore jurisdictions.

'This includes bureaucrats who were businessmen before but - when they got state jobs - could no longer own property abroad and have to return money to Russia.'

She also said that contrary to many reports, Russians are returning from foreign countries - like Spain and possibly Britain - where they had made investments, and are buying at home.

'The number of those who want to buy property abroad is going down,' she said.

'Before the offers in Spain and other places were very competitive, people were sitting at the table and saying that they were hesitating, whether to buy something here or there, but I think now this game is over.

'People got tired of differs in legislation and taxes, of constant fear that one day we are friends with this country, next day we are not, it means you may not enter the country one day. The trend is to come back home now."

Despite the good deals, foreigners 'are not buying anything' in Russia.

She admitted: 'The fat years are over, no doubt

 

 

 

 

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