High-ranking Russian officials must not own real estate in US and Czech Republic

High-ranking Russian officials should not have real estate in Russia-unfriendly countries, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said May 17. For the time being, the list includes the United States and the Czech Republic.

"High-ranking officials are prohibited from owning any type of real estate abroad and owning real estate in the Czech Republic or America. If they have real estate there, then they are not high-ranking officials. If they are high-ranking officials and have real estate there, then they should cease to be high-ranking officials, and it is up to our relevant departments and divisions of the presidential administration to deal with it," RIA Novosti quoted Peskov as saying.

The Russian government approved the list of states that commit unfriendly actions against the Russian Federation on May 14. In accordance with the decree, the United States and the Czech Republic fall under the the provisions of the presidential decree from April 23, 2021 N243 "On the application of measures of influence (counteraction) in response to unfriendly actions of foreign states." The decree, among other things, makes it possible to prohibit "unfriendly states" from hiring citizens of other countries for work at their diplomatic missions on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Not that long ago, it was reported that son-in-law of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Alexander Udodov, owned real estate both in the United States and in the Czech Republic.

According to income and property declarations from 2020, 13 Russian MPs and five senators own property overseas. Yet, no one declared real estate either in the USA or  the Czech Republic.

During his Address to the Federal Assembly on January 15, 2020, President Putin suggested implementing a constitutional regulation that would prohibit persons holding positions "critical to ensuring the country's security and sovereignty" from both having financial accounts abroad and holding foreign citizenship. 

"The mission of civil service is all about service, and the person who chooses this path must first of all decide for themselves that they link their life with Russia, without and our people, and there is no other way about it, there is no half-tones and assumptions," Putin then said. 

MPs Nikolai Arefiev (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) and Konstantin Slyshchenko (United Russia) introduced amendments to ban foreign real estate, but they were rejected. Sources of the Vedomosti newspaper said that many Russian MPs and officials would have been forced to refuse from their real estate in other countries and step down from their positions, if such regulations had appeared in the Russian Constitution.