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New ‘Proekt’ investigation uncovers millions of dollars in real estate belonging to Patriarch Kirill and his family members

Source: Proekt
Kremlin Press Service

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and two of his second cousins own 225 million rubles ($2.87 million) worth of real estate in Moscow, the Moscow Region, and St. Petersburg, reports a new investigation from the website Proekt. 

According to the investigative report, Patriarch Kirill owns three apartments under his secular name, Vladimir Gundyaev:

  • A 145-square-meter (1,560-square-foot) apartment in the House on the Embankment on Serafimovich Street in Moscow — with an estimated value 70 million rubles (about $893,000), according to Proekt
  • A 38-square-meter (409-square-foot) apartment on Nikoloyamskaya Street in Moscow valued at 12 million rubles (about $152,000).
  • And an 83-square-meter (893-square-foot) apartment on Bolsheokhtinsky Avenue in St. Petersburg valued at 9 million rubles (about $114,000). 

The House on the Embankment apartment

The apartment in the House on the Embankment became known in 2010 when Patriarch Kirill’s second cousin Lidia Leonova, who was living in his apartment in central Moscow, filed a lawsuit against a neighbor due to damage from dust allegedly caused by renovations. The neighbor in question was former Health Minister Yuri Shevchenko. The sum of the damages Leonova filed for turned out to be comparable to the cost of Shevchenko’s entire apartment. Nevertheless, the court upheld the plaintiff’s claim. Now, the name of the apartment’s owner is hidden in the property registry (Rosreestr) — as is typically the case with data on government officials and their relatives.

Meanwhile, the patriarch’s second cousin, 73-year-old Lidia Leonova, owns four pieces of real estate, Proekt reports: 

  • An 83-square-meter (893-square-foot) apartment on Gagarinsky Pereulok in Moscow with an estimated valued of 47 million rubles (about $597,000).
  • A 300-square-meter (3,229-square-foot) house in the “Zelenaya Roshcha-1” village located in the Moscow Region’s Odintsovsky District valued at 10 million rubles (about $127,000).
  • A 121-square meter (1,302-square-foot) apartment on the Kryukov Canal Embankment in St. Petersburg valued at 42 million rubles (more than $533,000).
  • A third of the non-residential space (200 square meters or 2,152 square feet) in the same building on the Kryukov Canal Embankment in St. Petersburg, which is valued at 3 million rubles (about $38,000).

Lidia Leonova became the owner of the apartment on the Kryukov Canal Embankment in St. Petersburg in 2001 — this piece of real estate was gifted to her by an old friend of Patriarch Kirill, businessman Alexander Dmitrievich. 

Proekt notes that this took place six months after the Moscow Mayor’s Office withdrew its claims against Dmitrievich’s business partner, Italian national Nicola Savoretti, who also claims to have known Patriarch Kirill for a long time. Savoretti told Proekt that the patriarch wasn’t involved in settling the dispute with the mayor’s office, adding that Dmitrievich wasn’t associated with his projects. 

Another second cousin of the patriarch, 63-year-old Elena Kholodova, was previously on the board of directors for Peresvet bank. According to Proekt, she owns:

  • A 63-square-meter (678-square-foot) apartment on Raspletina Street in Moscow valued at 22 million rubles (nearly $280,000).
  • And a 63-square-meter (678-square-foot) apartment on Odesskaya Street in St. Petersburg valued at 10 million rubles (about $127,000).

Proekt underscores that the Russian Orthodox Church has never initiated proceedings over the real estate owned by Patriarch Kirill and his family members.

In December 2019, Novaya Gazeta drew attention to previous media reports about Patriarch Kirill’s involvement in automotive, oil, jewelry, and fishing businesses. The newspaper cited unconfirmed reports claiming that the patriarch’s estimated net worth is $4–8 billion, underscoring that these figures can’t be verified since Kirill keeps his savings in banks in Switzerland, Italy, and Austria.

According to Novaya Gazeta, the patriarch also owns a chalet in Switzerland, near Zurich, and allegedly owns shares in various properties in Moscow, as well as in the Moscow, Smolensk, and Kaliningrad regions.

In addition, Patriarch Krill has more than 20 residences at his disposal, which belong to various religious organizations under the Russian Orthodox Church. 

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