On Tuesday, July 10, the land administration office of the Free State of Thuringia in Central Germany decided to expropriate the Reinhardsbrunn Castle. The decision was unprecedented in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.
"I am very happy about this decision. It showed that the way we’ve chosen to take the land of the castle and a park back to state ownership proved its worth. Now the decay [of the property] and emergency measures taken by the authorities for the protection of monuments are behind us,” Prime Minister of Thuringia Bodo Ramelow assured in the communiqué issued by the press service of the Land Government, DW reports. The decision to nationalize the castle took a year and a half to implement.
The reason for the expropriation was the threat of ultimate destruction of the monument, whose fate had never mattered to the Russian owners since they purchased it in late 2008. According to DW’s investigation, the Ostryagin family from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Russia had owned the property for about ten years. Former Deputy of the Russian State Duma from the United Russia party Anatoly Ostryagin is at the head of the family’s business.
Russians bought the castle for 12 million euro which was transferred out of the accounts of an offshore company. After the purchase of the castle, the owners conducted a number of questionable operations that resulted in the castle being used as a collateral for a multimillion dollar debt. The purchase of the castle and further actions of Ostryagin became the focus of attention of law enforcement agencies in Germany.
The Government of Thuringia has already allotted 1.9 million euro from the 2018-2019 budgets for the reconstruction of Reinhardsbrunn. In general, priority rehabilitation measures are estimated at 5 million euro. There are plans to look for a new investor. Specialists estimate that the complete restoration of the castle will need from 30 to 40 million euro.