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GORKI, Moscow region, September 29 (Itar-Tass) — Handover of church buildings formerly occupied by state organizations to religious communities should not mean the eviction of these organizations to nowhere, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday as he met with workers of the cultural sphere in the town of Vyazma in the Smolensk region.
He urged the authorities of municipal entities across Russia to pay more attention to the problem.
Representatives of the local cultural communities complained to Medvedev over the planned resettling of the Vyazma museum of local lore and history that was formerly housed in a church building. Still the museum workers are completely discontent with the conditions of the facility the museum has been offered to move to.
They also said the situation is the same with the city library, the archive and the literary club.
“The government today is really seeking to facility the use of church buildings for the purposes they were designed for,’ Medvedev said.
However, the restitution of former properties to religious organizations does not mean in any way that the institutions of culture, which had to use the buildings of closed churches quite unwillingly, should be thrown out to the street or resettle with an apparent deterioration of conditions.
He relegated the responsibility for this to the regional and municipal authorities.
“I think the officials governing your district and your town will hear me – please say ‘hello’ to them on my part and I think they’ll take the necessary decisions,” Medvedev said.
“The problem that has emerged isn’t from the realm of the Church and the local authorities should look for funds /for solving it/,” he said.
“No doubt, I can push the button and all the problems will be settled here but this won’t be honest as regards a huge number of other cities and towns,” Medvedev said.
“These monies shouldn’t be allocated from the federal budget – they should be taken from the sources inside our constituent regions,” he said.