The staff of the state Museum-monument “St. Isaac’s Cathedral” has written an open letter to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. It was published on Wednesday, March 29, on the website of the institution.
The message, signed by all 322 employee referred deep concern over the situation surrounding the transfer of the Cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church. The Museum staff believe that the ROC will not be able to adequately support the preservation of Isaac, also a UNESCO world heritage site.
There pay attention to the fact that the establishment in the last 20 years does not receive subsidies from the budget and ensures the maintenance and restoration of the monument, spending annually for this purpose between 80 and 100 million rubles, “received from the statutory activities”.
“Professionally organized work (…) allows you to not only make the Cathedral more than 2.5 million tourists a year, but donated (…) ensure that the daily morning and evening Church services and all holiday services with the participation of Patriarch and metropolitans”, — stated in the message.
The authors of the letter point out that the ROC is a nonprofit organization, “existing on donations, i.e. do not have a known budget”, which means that the costs of the Isaac will fall on the shoulders of taxpayers.
“From the media we know that the government of St. Petersburg, without the consent of you, preparing a “holiday” program of the Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church in an expedited manner on 16 April 2017. Formally, it has the right to make this decision, but in this case the question is not about the city, and public property! All these actions are done with gross violations of the current legislation!” — it is noted in the text.
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In this regard, the Museum staff called on the President as the guarantor of law and a native Leningrad to suspend the aforementioned law “to the consideration, discussion and decision about the peculiarities of its application in relation to facilities used by state agencies in cultural purposes.”
On March 28th the municipal electoral Committee of St. Petersburg approved the registration of the initiative group for holding a referendum on the fate of St. Isaac’s Cathedral. The authors of the petition hope that now the documents on the referendum will consider the city legislative Assembly. The ROC initiative referendum called a legal nonsense.
In January, the St. Petersburg authorities have agreed to transfer to St. Isaac’s Cathedral to the gratuitous use of the Russian Orthodox Church for 49 years. Governor Georgy Poltavchenko has promised to keep the Museum function of the building. The decision caused the discontent of the citizens.