Yekaterinburg Mayor Alexander Vysokinsky has suspended the construction of a cathedral in October Square Park, delivering a surprising, if temporary, victory for demonstrators who have protested the project for four consecutive days. Vysokinsky says construction work will not resume unless the project wins the approval of local residents in a sociological survey.
Earlier in the day on May 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly suggested that a survey be conducted in Yekaterinburg. “A cathedral is meant to unite people, not divide them,” Putin reasoned. “The minority should follow the majority. That’s the basic principle of democracy,” he added.
The Socium Foundation conducted a survey after protests in Yekaterinburg had begun. In a sample size of 300 adult residents of Yekaterinburg, 52 percent of respondents said they were opposed to the cathedral while 28 percent supported it and 20 percent had no opinion. In December of 2018, however, an analogous survey found that 41 percent of respondents favored the cathedral with only 24 percent opposed.