MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Kremlin will not interfere in the ongoing dispute over the possible construction of a new church in Yekaterinburg and let local authorities settle the disagreements based on the results of a special poll recently conducted on the issue, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"Well, the survey has shown what it has shown. We cannot interfere in how further decisions will be made. Still, let's agree that this is the prerogative of the regional and city authorities", Peskov said, asked whether the Kremlin agreed that the poll had been conducted in an agitated society.
The spokesman also expressed hope that all problems would be solved based on a dialogue between the local authorities, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and general public. The statement comes after Russian Public Opinion Research Centre published the poll results on 22 May.
It revealed that 74 percent of respondents considered the square near the drama theater, which was chosen as the site for the new church, unsuitable for construction. The Yekaterinburg church authorities responded saying that the poll was conducted amid heightened tensions among the people and therefore did not clearly reflect what was happening. The poll also showed that 58 percent of respondents thought the new church had to be built in another part of the city, while only 18 percent were against the project altogether.
The protests against the construction of the St. Catherine church in the park started on 13 May. Protesters have claimed that there are enough churches in the area within walking distance and insisted that the park be preserved.
Local authorities have said the construction project meets all legal requirements. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed polling local residents as an easy way for them to express their opinions. He also said that the minority would have to accept the will of the majority depending on the results.