Dispute over building church in Ekaterinburg continues


Interfax-Religiia, 16 May 2019


The number of detainees as a result of an unsanctioned demonstration against construction of a church on the embankment in the center of Ekaterinburg, occurring Wednesday evening, reached seventy persons, the press secretary of the Russian directorate of the MVD for Sverdlovsk oblast, Valery Gorelykh, reported.


"Seventy persons were arrested, of whom three are minors," Gorelykh specified.


As of now, the total number of charging documents in several days of the conduct of demonstrations is 102 with respect to 98 persons.


As reported, the decision to build a cathedral of the Great Martyr Saint Catherine on October Square of Ekaterinburg, where at the present time there is a park, was made in September 2018. . . .


On 13 May a fence appeared in the park, enclosing the site of future construction. On the same day, residents of Ekaterinburg gathered for the first protest demonstration, which began in the evening and lasted until morning. On 14 May, a second demonstration was conducted in the park, during which 26 persons were arrested and three were hospitalized. A protest demonstration also was held on Wednesday, 15 May. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 May 2019)



Interfax-Religiia, 16 May 2019


Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the necessity of taking into account the opinion of local residents in the matter of building a church in Ekaterinburg and of conducting a survey of the population to have regard for the interests of both the supporters and the opponents of this project.


"You know, I heard about this, and just a little, only yesterday. I am even a bit surprised and do not understand what is happening there. This is often your regional story," Putin said on Thursday at the media forum ONF, responding to a request of one of the participants to comment on the situation concerning construction of a church in Ekaterinburg.


He said, "as a rule, people ask for a church to be built; here somebody is objecting."


"But all people have a right to their own opinions. And if we are talking about residents of this microdistrict, then certainly it is necessary to take this opinion into account, if it is not a matter of hardcore activists who came from Moscow in order to make noise there and promote themselves," Putin emphasized.


"If we are talking about local residents," the head of state said, "then of course this must be taken into account."


The Russian president noted that a church is supposed to unite people, not divide. In this regard, Putin said "some steps are necessary on both sides in order to resolve this matter in the interests of all people who really reside there."


"There is a simple device—conduct a survey. And the minority should submit to the majority. The principle of democracy consists in this. But at the same time, certainly, it is necessary to consider the opinion and interests of that minority," Putin declared.


He noted that in the situation that has arisen, investors and city authorities who intend to build the church should ensure that another forest is planted near the right spot for people so that the park that people need will be laid out."


"There is no need for a tug of war and cursing one another, but for sitting down and agreeing. And the city authorities should do just that—find the best resolution for the people living there," Putin declared. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 16 May 2019)

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