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Regional governor says Yekaterinburg cathedral should not be built in contested square

Update: The mayor of Yekaterinburg has rejected the governor’s proposal.

Sverdlovsk Region governor Yevgeny Kuvaishev has announced that “a new location must be found” for the planned cathedral that Orthodox Church supporters hoped would be built in a central square. In mid-May, thousands of protesters converged on the square for several days because they saw the area as a rare and valuable section of green space in the city.

“I think the data published by [polling agency] VTSIOM are grounds to exclude the square by the Drama Theater from the list of possible locations for the construction of St. Catherine’s Cathedral,” the governor wrote on Instagram. A VTSIOM poll conducted between May 16 and 20 found that 74 percent of Yekaterinburg residents considered the square to be a poor choice of location for the cathedral. Kuvaishev said he would ask for the square to be excluded from an upcoming citywide poll on possible locations for the building, adding that “the opinions of the city’s residents were not adequately considered” in initial planning for the cathedral.