The museum is planned to be built opposite the Novodevichy Convent in Khamovniki. A plot of 0.7 hectares at Luzhnetsky Proezd, 15 was allocated for the use of the State Historical Museum in March 2020. This follows from the data of the unified state register of real estate.
“In clause 2 of the list of instructions of the President of 11.05.2018 No. PR-803 on the preservation of a particularly valuable cultural object “Novodevichy Monastyr Ensemble”, V. Putin demanded that the site at 15 Luzhnetskiy proezd be transferred to federal property. Sobyanin saluted and handed it over. This happened contrary to the position of the residents of Khamovniki, who received the support of the Council of Municipal Deputies ... A huge building will be erected, which will distort the historical appearance of Novodevichy! From this point of view, the proposal of residents and deputies is much more useful for the purpose of "preservation", since nature, by definition, cannot spoil the historical appearance of the monastery!", - writes the deputy of the Moscow City Duma Sergey Mitrokhin on his Facebook.
For the construction of its branch, "an exposition and exhibition center on the history of the Russian Orthodox Church", the Historical Museum requested no less than 3.8 billion rubles. The State Historical Museum turned to the Ministry of Culture with a request to allocate finances. If the Ministry of Culture gives the go-ahead, construction work will begin in 2021.
The question of building a museum of the Russian Orthodox Church on the site of a natural park in the ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent turned out to be so painful that it was brought up for discussion in the Moscow City Duma. Local residents did not stand aside and began a massive and organized collection of signatures against this controversial project.
Let's start with the facts. “According to the census, more than 500 trees, shrubs and herbs are growing on the site where construction is planned. On the border of the site on which they want to build a museum, there are 3 residential buildings. If construction starts, the ecology of the district, the city and residents of nearby houses will suffer: the quality of their life will deteriorate”, - said Aleksey Antipov, an honorary resident of the Khamovniki district.
Indeed, this park was a kind of oasis for the residents of Khamovniki. Especially when you consider that the Third Transport Ring and the MCC are nearby. If a new facility with underground parking is built, the traffic flow will surely increase. And he is already great.
But it's not only that. Experts consider the construction of the ROC museum on the territory of the historical ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent illegal. In an interview with the correspondent of Novye Izvestia Moscow City Duma deputy Sergey Mitrokhin explained: “This decision is contrary to the Law on Cultural Heritage. After all, this is a security zone of the Novodevichy Convent. In addition, this piece of land is the property of the subject of the Russian Federation - the city of Moscow. How could the president dispose of this land bypassing Moscow legislation? In addition, there is a clear prescription from the Ministry of Culture: buildings that violate the historical appearance of a cultural monument cannot be built on the territory of historical complexes, ”stressed Sergei Mitrokhin.
Indeed, the Federal Law of June 25, 2002 N 73-FZ "On cultural heritage objects (historical and cultural monuments) of the peoples of the Russian Federation in Article 5.1 provides: "On the territory of a monument or an ensemble, the construction of capital construction objects and an increase in the volumetric and spatial characteristics of existing the territory of a monument or an ensemble of capital construction objects; carrying out earthworks, construction, reclamation and other works, except for works on preserving a cultural heritage object or its individual elements, preserving the historical and urban planning or natural environment of a cultural heritage object".
Why should an exception be made for the ROC museum? And what is so special they plan to place in this museum? Why sacrifice a protected area, the territory of the ensemble of a historical monument and one of the favorite parks of Muscovites?
As Archpriest Leonid Kalinin, Chairman of the Expert Council for Church Art, Architecture and Restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church, explained to reporters, the collections donated to the church will be placed in the new center. Some of them are now in the museum squares of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. “It will be a stationary center, which will allow exhibiting the maximum number of exhibits”, - said Leonid Kalinin. According to him, apart from the collection of icons, the museum plans to display archival documents. The museum will be multimedia.
All this is wonderful. But what does not suit the Cathedral of Christ the Savior as a museum, where most of these exhibits are now located? Why are the cathedrals of the Moscow Kremlin not satisfied, each of which is a museum in itself? In the end, not so long ago, the question of transferring the Andrei Rublev Museum to the ownership of the Russian Orthodox Church was raised. Isn't all this enough for the history of religion?
This is what art critics and cultural historians are now arguing about. “There are very few complete ensembles of the previous centuries, such as the Novodevichy Convent. All civilized countries of the world are trying to preserve functioning old buildings, this creates the uniqueness of their appearance. It is possible to break the architectural organism, which has been created since the 16th century, only out of poverty: either people have nowhere to live, or the developer is so greedy that he is ready to concrete his own fingers. What will be on display in the ROC Museum? Icons? Utensil? Vestments? Why not exhibit them in the vestibules of existing churches, strengthening their educational function? If you build a new building for the ROC museum, then it would be logical to do it in New Moscow, which the cultural institution will enrich”, - art critic Maria Santi told Novye Izvestia.
Voting in the Moscow City Duma regarding an appeal to the mayor of Moscow with a request to revoke the decision to transfer the site at 15 Luzhnetskiy proezd for the construction of the ROC museum did not bring any result. Out of 40 who voted, 16 deputies voted in favor, 24 - against. Among the latter are representatives of the "party in power". But this did not stop protests against the construction site.
During popular gatherings and meetings of a special working group, which included municipal deputies and activists from among local residents, an alternative project was proposed in Khamovniki - the placement of the ROC museum in historical buildings located within walking distance from the Novodevichy Convent complex. “Each house in our region separately collects signatures for such a decision and sends it to the authorities. To date, more than 800 signatures have been collected. A branch of the Historical Museum is a necessary project. But at the same time, we must not forget about the Presidential Decree on the strategy of environmental safety until 2025. It is worth recalling that the residents themselves have made a concept design for a nature park in the center of the capital. Such a park is the capital for any metropolis. This should be especially appreciated now, when we all began to value our health especially. Residents of the Khamovniki district urge the Moscow authorities, federal ministers, and the President of Russia to listen to their opinion in their appeals", - said the honorary resident of the Khamovniki district Alexey Antipov.
“There is such a concept - emotional hunger. Depriving a city of its history and uniqueness can lead to this. And emotional hunger is akin to physical hunger. The deprivation of Muscovites' favorite park, part of the historical ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent oppresses residents, and this can negatively and unpredictably affect all aspects of life”, - art critic Maria Santi believes.
When dealing with history, it is inadmissible to think only in terms of the present day. Otherwise, God forbid, the well-known prophecy will come true: "If you shoot at the past with a gun, the future will shoot at you with a gun".