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Suitcase Pavilion Earns Organizers Fine

Workers tearing down the controversial Louis Vuitton pavilion on Friday. Tatyana Makeyeva / REUTERS

The giant Louis Vuitton suitcase that had been set up on Red Square was partly dismantled by Sunday and is expected to be moved to another location in the city.

The Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography, which monitors land usage, said the pavilion's organizers had violated laws on land usage and would face an administrative fine .

The federal agency is currently conducting administrative proceedings to determine the amount of the fine the organizers of the event will have to pay for their illegal use of the land, RIA Novosti reported Saturday.

The president and CEO of Louis Vuitton, Michael Burke, said in a statement that the documents pertaining to the trunk's installation had been prepared by the GUM department store and that he did not understand what had happened.

"We have established long and warm ties with Russia," Burke said. "The purpose of the exhibition was to further strengthen these relations. This is what we will be working on in the coming months."

The pavilion — nine meters tall and 30 meters long — was set to host the "Soul of Travel," a six-week charitable exhibition on the history of Louis Vuitton's luggage, held in honor of the 120th anniversary of the GUM department store located across from the Kremlin.

The presence of a giant foreign luxury item on Red Square, the historical heart of Moscow, sparked outrage from all echelons of Russian society.

"It is not just that the suitcase 'spoiled' the view of Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral," Konstantin Mikhailov, the head of Arkhnadzor said in comments carried by Interfax.

"The problem here is decision making. Someone has allowed himself to treat Moscow's important sites like the garden of their dacha," he said.

The suitcase's new home has yet to be determined. On Friday, Sergei Kapkov, head of the department of culture at City Hall, said the pavilion's organizers had not requested help in finding a new place to set the giant suitcase up.

Neither the All-Russia Exhibition Center nor Gorky Park — the two potential candidates for the pavilion's new home — had heard anything from the organizers as of Friday evening, RIA Novosti reported.

Contact the author at g.tetraultfarber@imedia.ru

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