Posted: 5:09 pm Thursday, December 29th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
As President Obama set out new sanctions against the Russian government over cyber meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, the Obama Administration ordered the closure of a Russian compound in Maryland, which has long been the subject of local diplomatic intrigue.
The compound, located across the Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has certainly not been a secret, as the Russians have long said that it is used by their diplomatic staff in the U.S. for quick getaways.
Sanctions target Russian compounds in Centreville, MD and Glen Cove, NY. Russia bought Killenworth, George Dupont Pratt’s estate, in 1951
— Aaron Katersky (@AaronKatersky) December 29, 2016
“Dacha Sweet Dacha,” was the title of an article from 2007 in Washington Life magazine about the retreat.
Another article written about the retreat by an online news site on the Eastern Shore, the “Chestertown Spy,” drew a number of interesting comments back in 2013.
“The Russians were always very friendly and spent a lot of money to keep the place in great condition,” wrote Jason Price, who told of making deliveries from his family’s store in Centreville, Price & Gannon.
“My dad even once told me of an anecdote involving the CIA visiting our store once, asking my grandfather if he would be willing to report back to them on the activities at the estate after delivering hardware,” Price wrote in September of 2013.
Others also wondered if there was some Spy versus Spy happenings in their community over the years.
“I understand that during the Cold War at least one farm outbuilding/barn on a neighboring farm was used by the US (CIA? FBI?) as an HQ for spying on activities (perhaps largely electronic communications) at what was essentially a dacha for the Soviets, mainly those associated with the embassy and consulate in DC,” wrote Marge Fallaw.
For others, it was more fun than anything else.
— MeghanWJZ (@MeghanWJZ) December 29, 2016
“We discovered a camera hidden by the Russians in an electrical box at the entrance and had many hours of fun with that,” one person wrote.
As you can tell, the Russian compound is well known to many locals, who have been by in their boats and crabbed up and down the nearby Chester River alongside the Russians – though some occasions were more unique than others.
“I thought it would be amusing to land on their beach and write something in the sand,” wrote Janice Dickson. “As we approached, we saw several large burly men in suits and shiny shoes carrying long guns appear out of nowhere and begin to patrol the beach.”
“Well, I soberly thought, no need to create a mini-international incident. Best to retreat,” she wrote.
Until now, it was all in jest – but now it appears the Russians won’t be gathering too often on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
No direct evidence was presented by the Obama Administration to say that the Centreville property was being used for intelligence gathering by the Russians.
But it has been around for many years.
Here is a 1992 article on Russia's 45 acres in Centreville, Maryland https://t.co/WlWnMNQb0X
— Boris Zilberman (@rolltidebmz) December 29, 2016
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.