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Russia Will Now Have to Pay Rent for Consulate Buldings in Czech Republic

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According to a document from the Foreign Ministry, the Czech state plans to request rent from Russia for houses in Prague and consulate buildings. The properties in question include a complex of apartment buildings in Schwaigerova Street in Prague, as well as the former Russian consulates in Karlovy Vary and Brno. The Czech government recently revoked previous resolutions that granted free land use to the former Soviet Union for diplomatic purposes. Since Russia is now using the land for other purposes, the government believes it is appropriate to demand rent for these properties.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala stated that the state will request customary rent from Russia for the specific land. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský added that the Czech Republic will also demand the return of unjust enrichment for the past three years. The government’s decision is expected to result in a claim of tens of millions of crowns against Russia.

The decision affects 59 parcels of land with a total area of 49,271 square meters. These include various plots in Prague’s Bubenč district, such as Ovenecká, Pod Kaštany, Romain Rolland, Schwaigerova, Wolkerova, and Sibirské náměstí. The occupied areas encompass the Orthodox Church of St. Ludmila, apartment buildings, the villa of Hugo Sieburger, and a recreation center in Vlkančice.

The Foreign Ministry has identified 42 buildings owned by Russia in the Czech Republic, previously described as mission buildings for diplomatic purposes. However, it was discovered that many of these properties were not being used as declared. The ministry has requested clarification from Russia regarding the manner of use and warned them about apparent inconsistencies and tax obligations.

Diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and Russia have been strained since Czech intelligence services and investigators revealed Russian involvement in the 2014 explosions at ammunition depots in Vrbětice, Zlín region. The number of Russian diplomats in the Czech Republic was further reduced following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Currently, the Russian embassy in Prague has six diplomats. The reduced diplomatic mission makes it impractical to use all the buildings for diplomatic purposes.

The Foreign Ministry highlighted the lack of reciprocity regarding land use, stating that the total area of land used freely by the Russian Federation in the Czech Republic (92,001 square meters, of which 87,863 m2 are state-owned) and by the Czech Republic in Russia (26,875 m2) does not adhere to the principle of reciprocity.

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