Vladimir Putin Calls For A Public Poll To Ease Protests About Church Construction In Yekaterinburg Park

Vladimir Putin Calls For A Public Poll To Ease Protests About Church Construction In Yekaterinburg Park
Russian President Vladimir Putin at news conference in Beijing, China, 27 April 2019. Recently, the Russian leader suggested holding a poll and suspending current construction of a church in a Russian park that has sparked protests among locals. (Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool via REUTERS)

Locals have been gathering to protest in a popular central park in Yekaterinburg, Russia, since May 13. The park is a construction site for a church which is to be named St. Catherine's Cathedral.

The thousands of residents are protesting against the city's plan to construct this replica of a cathedral which was destroyed early on by Soviet authorities. Over 100 of the protestors have been arrested and detained over the past three days.

Yekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia. And the site on which the city plans to construct the cathedral is one of the most popular central parks in the area.

The protestors oppose such a move because the park is one of the few remaining green spots in the city. It is one of the few luxuries left for the residents to visit and enjoy. They go on to express their disagreement with the site chosen for the construction and call for it to be relocated elsewhere.

The protestors have ignited such a big fire about the reasons for their opposition of this church's construction and have gained support from thousands of citizens across Russia. Due to this, the issue has grabbed the attention of the Russian president.

President Vladimir Putin suggested that a poll be held for the residents in order to determine the stand of the majority. He added that everyone had a right to their view on the issue.

If the protestors were truly locals who were defending their own rights to a public park in the city---and not activists from Moscow who were merely there to add to the chaos for publicity's sake---Putin thinks that such views need to be heard and considered.

The Russian leader believes that churches should bring people together, not tear them apart or cause discord in the community. He believes the best solution to this unrest is a poll. Additionally, he says the minority has to accept and go with the choice of the majority, since that is the very essence of democracy.

True enough, shortly after President Putin's public statement, the mayor of Yekaterinburg, Mayor Aleksandr Vysokinsky, announced that all transactions and construction matters in line with the building of the church were being suspended to allow time for the poll, as well as to wait for the verdict ensuing.

However, other residents have spoken up to question the credibility and necessity of this poll. One resident voiced out how it could be rigged, saying that whoever held the poll had control over it and could very much influence the outcome or the results of the poll.

The poll for the continuation or dismissal of the project in the central park of Yekaterinburg started on May 16 and will need about 20 days to complete. After this, the results would be announced. Then the Yekaterinburg residents will know the fate of their popular central park.

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