Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 03:21:14
21 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.

Church v. State

Author: The Editors
Illustrations/Images by Alexander Petrosyan

Mar/Apr 2017
Page 7   ( 2 pages)

Summary: City, state and citizens battle over the future of St. Issac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg


A long-mulled decision to hand over St. Isaac’s, St. Petersburg largest cathedral, to the Russian Orthodox Church has inspired an unprecedented protest campaign. Many locals are accusing the church of disregarding the wishes of the community and trying to seize control of prestigious landmarks at all costs.

Despite the impediments to demonstrations in Russia today, in January two rallies were held to protest the decision by St. Petersburg’s governor to return the cathedral to the Church. Governor Grigory Poltavchenko claimed that refusing to hand it over would be unconstitutional, because it would violate a law passed in 2010 (in the spirit of a decision made back in the 1990s by then President Boris Yeltsin), granting the Russian Orthodox Church the right to petition for the return of religious buildings as compensation for the harm done by Soviet era anti-religion policies.

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