St PETERSBURG, June 16. /TASS/. Committee for Culture of the St Petersburg city government appointed fine arts historian Yuri Mudrov to the position of director of the St Isaac’s Cathedral Museum, a committee spokesperson told TASS.
"Following the selection of candidates nominated for the post, the St Petersburg Committee for Culture took a decision to appoint Yuri Vitalyevich Mudrov director of the St Isaac’s Cathedral Museum," he said. "Mr. Mudrov will gets down to the execution of his duties as of today."
Yuri Mudrov has had various jobs in the sphere of culture in Leningrad and later on St Petersburg since 1982. His occupation records includes administrative positions in the world-famous museums of Pavlovsk and Oranienbaum (Lomonosov), the St Petersburg Culture Fund, the State Museum of Religious History, and some other cultural institutions.
The position of director at St Isaac’s Cathedral Museum was vacant as of June after the voluntary resignation of the previous director, Nikolai Burov.
Writer Irada Vovnenko, formerly a deputy director of the museum, was acting director of the museum as of May 31.
The St Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the grandiose historic and architectural landmarks of St Petersburg, came into the focus of red-hot public debates at the end of last year when St Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko passed a decision to transfer the compound of the cathedral to the administrative realm of the Russian Orthodox Church for a period of 49 years.
On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin answered a question from the public on regarding the transfer of the cathedral during an annual face-the-nation question time televised show.
He recalled that, historically, the St Isaac’s never belonged to the Church had always been an item of ownership of various government agencies - in Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation likewise.
Putin said, however, that the Russians Czars, the rulers of the Empire, were also official heads of the Russian Orthodox Church then. He also said the St Isaac’s had been built as a church for religious services, not as a museum.
Putin called for ridding the situation around the majestic cathedral compound of its current political underpinnings and said he would like to see the cathedral retain its museum functions.
The St Isaac’s, built upon the design of French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand and consecrated in 1858. The Bolshevik authorities turned it into a museum in 1928. Church services resumed there in 1990.
At present, apart from the St Isaac’s the museum also includes the Church of Savior on Spilled Blood.
The government of St Petersburg is the official owner of the St Isaac’s building, which also enjoys the federal status of a specially protected facility and is a UNESCO world heritage site.
A total of 3.9 million Russian and foreign tourists visited the St Isaac’s museum last year.