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Yekaterinburg church protests: Putin calls for poll to solve row

May 17, 2019 5:09 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin has intervened in the ongoing row over a new church in Yekaterinburg.

He said the Russian Orthodox Church “should unite people, not divide them”, and called for the plans to build a church in a park to be put to a poll.

The city’s deputy mayor quickly announced construction would be suspended while a survey was conducted.

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It comes after three days of protests by thousands of city residents, during which 21 people were arrested.

Protesters say that building St Catherine’s Cathedral on a park square will destroy one of Yekaterinburg’s few green spaces, which one local activist group says is “a favourite place for residents to relax”.

But the Russian Orthodox Church says it needs new churches to replace the many buildings destroyed under Soviet anti-religion laws.

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