A majority of residents in Russia’s fourth-largest city of Yekaterinburg oppose the construction of an Orthodox cathedral in a popular riverside park, according to a state-run poll released on Wednesday.
Thousands of residents took to the streets last week to protest plans to replace the park with a replica of a cathedral demolished in the Soviet era, resulting in dozens of arrests and clashes with vigilantes and riot police. Yekaterinburg's mayor announced May 16 that construction would be suspended in order to conduct a poll to measure support for the project.
Seventy-four percent of Yekaterinburg residents are against the church’s construction in the city park, according to the poll published by the state-funded VTsIOM pollster.
Meanwhile, 68 percent of respondents said they had a good understanding about the plans for the church.
The poll was conducted among 3,000 respondents between May 16 and May 20.
Update: Yekaterinburg Mayor Alexander Vysokinsky said Wednesday that the VTsIOM poll's results are not decisive. A survey conducted by the mayor's office will decide the outcome of the cathedral's location, he told the RBC news website.
Sverdlovsk region governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev said later Wednesday evening that the poll results indicate the need to choose a new site for the church. Writing on his Instagram page, Kuyvashev said he would ask Vysokinsky to exclude the park from the city's list of potential construction sites for the church.