Russians have been flocking to Mariupol where their armed forces have caused upwards of 75,000 deaths, mass graves and widespread destruction in a frenzy of real estate speculation.

A documentary “Shock Prices for Apartments in Mariupol,” which explores the current Mariupol real estate market, dropped on YouTube in November and is now causing waves of outrage on TikTok and X (formerly Twitter).

Released on the channel “Mirnye”, the film was directed by Regina Orekhova, a journalist associated with the Russian state agency RIA Novosti. It dives into Mariupol’s real estate market, asking questions about buying property in a city that’s been devastated.

The documentary addresses questions such as: Is it worth investing in places wrecked by the war, hoping to make a buck when things get better? What apartments are offered for sale, and what does the price depend on?


The abandoned and ruined houses in Mariupol are called “razrushky,” which can be loosely translated as “ruins.”

The documentary features discussions with three local real estate agents showcasing properties across the city, abandoned hastily by residents amid the chaos of war.

They say, these ruined properties are not only in demand but are being touted as “invaluable investments.”

Natalia, one of the agents, demonstrates a rundown two-bedroom apartment in the city center, priced at 5 million rubles ($50,000). Despite its state, Natalia emphasizes the potential for return on investment, highlighting the apartment’s spacious layout.

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“Here we need to look not at what this apartment has experienced but at the future. The apartment has a very large area and a chic layout. If you invest in it and put it in order, it will be an invaluable investment,” Natalia says.

“We see that the owners of this apartment left their homes in a great hurry, while leaving everything, both personal belongings and children’s things,” she adds.


As the realtor explains in his story, if the real owners of the apartment claim their right to housing but do not want to return to the city and live there, the money from the purchase will still be sent to them.

Kyiv Post could not confirm the claim.

“For some, coming back here and cleaning up, seeing their home in such a mess is a great tragedy. People can’t go back and see everything in such a state. So, they are ready to sell it the way it was left. New potential residents can accept this or not,” Natalia says.

Some are selling actual ruins – just walls in a house battered by shelling. But Russian construction companies fix them up for free, causing the prices to shoot up.

The film also showcases untouched places and newly renovated apartments, now selling for 4 to 6 million rubles ($45,000 to $65,000).

Most buyers are residents of other Russian regions. Locals can’t afford to buy a new apartment instead of their ruined one.

As a regular practice, if not given compensatory housing, locals receive 35,000 rubles ($390) per square meter in compensation. Even if the demolished apartment was around 50 square meters, they would only get $19,500, which is not enough to buy even a smaller apartment in a worse neighborhood.


“This is sadness and pain – for the most part, people from other regions of Russia can afford an apartment in Mariupol, and Mariupol residents themselves, who receive 35,000 rubles per square meter in compensation, can neither buy out their housing in Mariupol after the repair works nor buy a new one,” Luiza, the Head of a Real Estate Management Company, said.

Some Mariupol residents are pushed out to the outskirts because their old neighborhoods in the city center are turning into “posh” mortgage housing.

“Those situations are particularly painful when the houses of Mariupol residents are destroyed, and mortgage housing is already going to be built in this place, which is several times more expensive than the compensation price,” Luiza said.

“People have apartments that were located in houses in the center of Mariupol, for example, 77 Metallurgov Avenue. This house was badly damaged due to the fighting, and the commission decided to demolish it. And these people are offered housing somewhere on the outskirts as compensation. Someone agreed to it. But there are others – why should they agree to this if they want to remain homeowners in the city center?” she added.


While the Russian authorities introduced a preferential 2% mortgage for residents of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), locals find it challenging to obtain approval for a bank mortgage due to being unemployed. There is simply no decent job with a decent salary in the war-ravaged city.

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