Russia’s cathedral-in-a-park cancelled after protests and poll

Plans to build a cathedral in a small waterfront park in Russia’s fourth city, Yekaterinburg, have been cancelled after the poll urged by President Vladimir Putin found that 74% of the city’s residents opposed it.

Violence erupted last Monday, 13 May after an estimated 2,000 protesters pulled down fencing that had gone up around the Drama Theatre Square (pictured).

The protests, by people angry about the loss of one of the city’s few green spaces, continued daily until Putin intervened on 16 May, saying the building plans should be put to an opinion poll.

State-funded pollster VTsIOM conducted the poll of 3,000 respondents between 16-20 May, finding overwhelming opposition (74%) to the cathedral in the park. Some 58% of respondents said the cathedral should be built somewhere else in the city.

After VtsIOM published the results yesterday, Yekaterinburg’s mayor, Alexander Vysokinsky, claimed the poll results were not decisive and that a survey conducted by his own office would decide where the cathedral would be built, reports The Moscow Times.

But, as the Times reports, the mayor was later overruled by the governor of Sverdlovsk region, Yevgeny Kuyvashev, who said via Instagram that the poll results were clear, and that he would ask Mayor Vysokinsky to exclude the park from the list of potential cathedral construction sites.

Image: The Drama Theatre Square, Yekaterinburg, Russia, where the cathedral was to have been built (Leonid Makarov/Public Domain)

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