Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

“Moscow-on-Seine” Orthodox Cathedral by Eiffel Tower gets Green Light

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A massive Russian-style cathedral is set to transform the iconic skyline of the French capital, Paris. In the wake of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev‘s visit to Paris, his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault said that France backed the construction of a controversial Orthodox cathedral not far from the Eiffel Tower. During a press conference with Medvedev, Ayrault said, “France shall stick to the realisation of the project. However, to build in Paris is more difficult than elsewhere, due to all the architecture and heritage protection laws”.

Moscow‘s plan to build a large cathedral and cultural centre with five onion domes and an undulating roof of glass panels beside the River Seine was stopped earlier this month. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë described the project as “pastiche architecture” and an “ostentation totally unsuitable for the banks of the Seine”. Russia bought the 4,000-square-metre (43,055 square feet. 0.4 hectare. 1 acre) land plot that once hosted the headquarters of the French weather service in 2007 for about 60 million UK Pounds (3 million Roubles. 96 million USD. 75 million Euros). Medvedev finalised plans to build a second Orthodox cathedral in Paris with then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.

However, when the joint design by Spanish architect Manuel Nuñez, agency Sade, and Russian company Arch Group was unveiled, many Parisians raised their eyebrows. They soon dubbed the project “Moscow-on-Seine”. The French government subsequently suspended an agreement with Russia whereby it pledged to study ways to make the building “harmoniously fit the surrounding landscape”. Ayrault said in conclusion, “I’m sure we’re on the right track to find a good project. I’m sure we’re going to find a solution”. Tens of thousands of Russians live in or near Paris. In the 1920s, the French capital became a favourite destination for anti-Bolshevik “White Russians” fleeing the Communist takeover of Russia.

28 November 2012

International Business Times

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/409305/20121128/paris-orthodox-cathedral-moscow.htm

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep this one simple. On the one hand, you had the Mayor of Paris, homosexual activists, and posturing pseudo-intellectuals (think the SVS crowd, and you’ll have ’em nailed). On the other hand, you had the Russian government and the powerful builders’ trades union. There was NO contest. However, Hollande had to mollify the loud activists, so, he took a week to make his decision to allow them to posture to their heart’s content. Now, it’s time for real work, and the project’s going forward, as originally planned. After all, Russia ships in the natural gas and the builders’ union has a lot of clout. This was over before it even started…

BMD

 

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Monday, 26 November 2012

26 November 2012. From the Russian Web… A REAL “Hobbit Motel” Down Under

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This is for real; I kid you not. Click here. See… it’s a real motel in Waitaimo NEW ZEALAND on North Island. Just when you thought that you’d seen it all…

BMD

26 November 2012. A Photo Essay. Only in Russia… Our Dream House in Minsk

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Well, these folks built their dream house in Minsk in Belarus. It has five main rooms and has a floor area of 180 square metres (1,940 square feet). That’s about the size of an average American suburban tract house. It looks achingly normal… just why are there sanctions against them anyway? They don’t need to sell out to American corporate interests…

BMD

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hollande Under Pressure Over Paris Russian Orthodox Cathedral… Plans Suspended for Russian Cathedral in Paris

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According to reports, François Hollande is under growing pressure to approve plans for a Russian Orthodox cathedral and cultural centre near the Eiffel Tower or risk straining diplomatic relations with Moscow. The plan to build the whitewashed cathedral, complete with five golden domes reaching up to 85.6 feet (26 metres) high, was meant to “promote Russian civilisation”, and comes “directly” from President Vladimir Putin. However, the design caused controversy in Paris, earning some strong criticism from President Hollande’s ally and mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, who described it as “an ostentation” of “pastiche architecture” and “mediocre”.

As the deadline for approving the cathedral building contract approaches on 29 November, pressure’s been mounting on Mr Hollande, who has the final word. According to the Journal du Dimanche, his cabinet held a special meeting without the mayor last week; Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev will visit Paris two days before the deadline. Nevertheless, officials in the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said, “We hope the project will move forward”. In what appears to be an attempt at compromise, the French Ministry of Culture said it was holding, “discussions with the Russian state and the Orthodox Church to define adaptations and improvements to the project, to permit its construction”. Russia purchased the 45,692 square foot (4,245 square metres. 1.05 acres. 0.4 hectare) property for 70 million Euros (£56 million) two years ago from France, as part of a French programme to sell off little-used, state-owned buildings to help reduce debt.

11 November 2012

Devorah Lauter

The Daily Telegraph (London UK)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9670446/Francois-Hollande-under-pressure-over-Paris-Russian-Orthodox-cathedral.html

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The French government said that Russia suspended its bid for a permit to build an Orthodox church with five domes on the Seine riverbank in Paris after the mayor of the world’s most-visited city labelled the project a showy eyesore. Ahead of a Paris visit next week by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, France’s culture and foreign ministries said in a joint statement that Moscow agreed to review the plan, which is close to President Vladimir Putin’s heart, noting, “The Russian Federation has decided a provisional suspension of its request for a construction permit”. Wary of diplomatic sensitivities, a government official insisted that the parties involved would reach a compromise.

In Moscow, the Kremlin‘s property management department said that it’d study ways to make the planned building “harmoniously fit the surrounding landscape”. Then-President Nicolas Sarkozy endorsed the project to build a church and cultural centre in central Paris was in 2010, but at the time, the design was only in an embryonic stage.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë described the final plans, with five golden domes and a wavy glass roof that would share the skyline with the nearby Eiffel Tower, as “ostentatious” and unsuited to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Russia bought the land for the church and cultural centre in 2007, a 4,000-square-metre (0.4 hectare. 1 acre. 43,000 square feet) plot less than a kilometre (0.62 mile) from the Eiffel Tower and overlooking the Seine. Paris already has a Russian Orthodox church, the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, but it reports to the Patriarch in Constantinople, outside the control of the MP.

Putin has been pushing to increase the MP’s influence abroad, especially in areas with large expatriate Russian communities. He viewed the reunification of the New York-based Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and the MP in 2007 as one of his biggest achievements as a Russian leader. Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow came under criticism in Russia after he openly sided with Putin during his recent presidential campaign, calling his rule “a miracle of God”.

Public opposition to the church’s increasing political engagement culminated in an anti-Putin performance by the feminist punk band Pussy Riot inside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Two band members are now in jail. With 165 million members, the Russian Orthodox Church (sic) is the second largest in Christianity after the 1.3-billion strong Roman Catholic Church. Its profile has risen both at home and abroad since the end of Soviet communism in 1991.

22 November 2012

Vicky Buffery

Gleb Bryanski

John Irish

Reuters

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/11/22/uk-france-russia-church-idUKBRE8AL0R020121122?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

Editor’s Note:

It’s rather simple and straightforward. Delanoë is openly gay… he’s attacking the project because he supports both gay activists and anti-government oppositionists in Russia. Any questions? I didn’t think so…

BMD

 

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