The building of the temple in ‘Torfjanka’ park has been a major cause of dissatisfaction for local residents. There have been attempts at solving the problem with force, when strange people played the role of ‘defenders of the temple’, many of which in the past have been connected with ultra-right movement. The Patriarch shared his ideas regarding this situation.
It is of utmost importance to note that the opinions of the patriarch are of a special interest, since he always waits for a long time before commenting on a new scandal. This is what he tells:
“The truth was wholly and entirely on the side of the believers; all authorization documents had been received. People were waiting for the new temple. However, very powerful political and information attacks were thrust upon the local residents. The community was unprepared for it, and a part of the public opinion turned against the creation of the temple”.
We would like to remark that he makes this statement after the court has already recognized that the records of public consultations for the erection of the temple had been falsified. It was clearly indicated:
“Notification of public consultations, scheduled for the 16.01.2012, had never been published in any print media outlets […], which led to a breach of citizens’ rights”.
Therefore it is not very clear, why the said ‘truth’ was entirely on the side of the believers. In any case, it may be possible that for the patriarch, that is the truth. That may even be the way in which he sought to achieve success.
To summarize another manipulation of his, he talks of a certain attack on local residents. If we were to look at the situation from a different perspective, we could perhaps see that it was the local residents who were protesting against the erection of the temple, and, vice versa, the people defending the temple were, by far, not locals.
How to solve such problems? The Patriarch considers:
“This is a lesson for all of us, particularly for the deans. Awareness must be built up in advance. Sectarians go door-to-door and fill mailboxes with their literature. Why shouldn’t our activists take a stroll and drop some information on temple-building in the local residents’ mailboxes? A short description, the building due dates, so that people would learn how the temple will look, what services it will offer.”
Clearly, he has a vested interest in the revenues of these retail outlets. Nevertheless, on another side, he probably understands that such means will simply not work, because local residents were clearly in the know. After all, it is hard to not notice, that the park is about to turn into a construction site.
The patriarch went on:
“When the local population does not know anything, and moreover, fear tactics are being employed against them, as if “the park will be taken by force”, “corpses will start travelling here regularly”, “children will have to go elsewhere, as they will be traumatized from the sight of hearses”, “bells will start ringing at 4 am”, that’s when the protest mood movements usually arises even among those, who are not against the building of a temple”. Many say so: “We are not against, but here, a temple should not be built. We don’t want to not be able to go for a stroll here”.”
On one hand, the population doesn’t know anything, on the other hand – fear tactics. It is hard to understand the logic of the ‘holiest’ priest. It is also not clear, how will the widely informed population improve the situation, when, in any case, opponents of the construction will be found, whose arguments will, probably, become more popular among the local population when rumours of the construction of a retail plaza in the park will spread.
The main idea is that the temple will be built directly inside the park. It is doubtful that even the opponents of the church would oppose its construction, if it were to be built on wasteland. Nevertheless, the park is a place for all and not just a point of sales for another commercial organisation. All in all, local residents often oppose such construction projects, and not only temples, but different shopping malls and such.
Formally, the building has been cancelled for now, however orthodox activists still hope that the temple will be specifically in the park.
Originally published on 27.12.2015 on the online platform kritix.ru.