The pillars of power

More recently, the wind picked up. For Russia it is not a matter of course, to thoroughly ensure that it was cozy, comfortable and still and energy is not wasted. The one who pushes high, four metres high decorated with ornaments of the door, enters the St. Isaac’s Cathedral or leaving, are now protected from strong drafts. The latest technology makes it possible. For such costs, there has to be a reason.


St. Isaac’s Cathedral is one of the jewels of St. Petersburg, the second largest city of Russia. One of the symbols and major attractions religious building with a giant gold dome, height of 101 meters is one of the largest in the world. The author of “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll (Lewis Carroll) was described in 1867 in his travel diary “hopelessly unclear” to him the Church service in the Cathedral, who was then only nine years old and in which there were “so few Windows that the inside was almost dark if it hadn’t hung so much a candle-lit icons”. Last year, the famous building was visited by 2.4 million people. It is located just steps from the Hermitage Museum and is the goal of every coach. Is there here to argue about? Yes, there is. It started at the end of December.


Shortly before the New year, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko received a request from the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch, whose residence is in Moscow, expressed the wish to transfer to St. Isaac’s Cathedral from the state of the Russian Church. And that’s exactly what is now planned. Although the monumental building remains state property, but the rights of use pass to the next 49 years to the Church. She would then be responsible for the content of a UNESCO world heritage site, for current expenses of the Museum and permanent restoration work. This is despite the fact that the Church as organization will have to cancel part of the payment for the entrance and thereby significantly reduce the most important is still the source of income. The city would then in the future only for the extensive restoration work.

A year and a half ago the Governor rejected the same request of the Church. Resistance has now become so strong that the head of the expert Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, just in case, called St. Petersburg “not to organize the revolution” because of the transmission- exactly one hundred years after the February revolution and the overthrow of the Russian Tsar.


The Presidium of the Museum Union warned in a warlike message from “the destruction of one of the most successful museums in the whole of Russia”, which formed generations of Museum workers. In the days of the great Patriotic war (the so-called Russia the second world war) were saved more than 120 thousand of Museum exhibits furniture, paintings, works of art in bronze, marble, glass, porcelain from Imperial palaces in Peterhof and Pavlovsk. By the way, on the facade of St. Isaac’s Cathedral are preserved a few fragments from the shelling.

During the siege of Leningrad, the message says, in the cellars lived in “harsh conditions” protect cultural heritage for future exhibitions, dozens of employees of different museums. Is that supposed to mean: the Union just doesn’t trust the Church that it will be in the case of a transfer to be responsible, because they do not have the spirit of the Museum. The Foucault pendulum under a dome, apparently, will be shot, said, according to “Moskovsky Komsomolets”, the Director of St. Isaac’s Cathedral Nikolay Burov. “What will happen to the exhibits that have nothing to do with the Church?” And in General: two daily Church service in the side chapel come no more than 30 people, less than one percent of all visitors, writes the Union of museums.


But it is not only that it is a spasmodic reflex of those concerned about the fate of the Museum of the Cathedral, and maybe also about his own influence. In political terms, against advocate in St. Petersburg, the deputies from several opposition parties. They call to be held on 28 January in the city center protest against plans to transfer Council. Critics have said that can apply to the court. One of them, Boris Vishnevsky, wrote in his blog: “the issue is not resolved, the struggle is just beginning.”


Thus, this struggle can escape and the struggle for culture, after the Church has greatly expanded its influence in close partnership with the Russian state. Not all Russians approve of the new support for the government. On Internet forums asking why the question of who will take care of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, is not solved by the population. Supporters of the decision by the city, by contrast, is reminiscent of the act of 2010, signed by then-President Dmitry Medvedev. Thus, we are talking about many churches, not only about St. Isaac’s Cathedral. He just shines all the brighter.