The decision of the authorities of St.-Petersburg about transfer to the Orthodox Church of St. Isaac’s Cathedral predictably provoked a chain reaction. The Federation of Jewish communities of Russia (FJC) urged the local administration to return to the Jews all that was taken away from them in the Soviet years. Because in Russia all religions are equal, it is possible that the requirements of the FJC will also support the Catholic, Protestant and Muslim communities.
In our country the law on restitution, as we know, no. But there are N327-FZ “On transfer to religious organizations property of religious significance owned by the state or municipal property”. It is for this law of the ROC want to pass St. Isaac’s Cathedral, although, as many experts claim, in this case it does not work because Isaac Church never belonged. (However, in the legal service of the Moscow Patriarchate believe these arguments are baseless, pointing out that the important property rights, and the actual use of the building, which before the revolution was always a Church).
Not formally intervening in the dispute of the Orthodox Church with the public, the FJC decided to benefit from it in their own benefit. The head of the Federation Alexander Boroda has actually encouraged regional authorities to follow the example of their St. Petersburg colleagues and actively engage in the return of the Jews taken away during the Soviet years religious property.
We strongly support N327-FZ. But we also like to see the authorities, especially regional ones, more actively involved in restitution, said Beard, noting that “the restitution is the restoration of historical justice”.
According to the head of the FJC, even if local authorities are to meet the requirements of the religious community, the process of transferring historic buildings is a complicated and not fast. “It is clear that these premises are already occupied by other organizations. Most often it is medical or educational institution. Nobody is going to drive as no one wants the voltage in connection with the return to religious organizations of religious buildings. To translate these institutions in other buildings, you need a healthy interaction”, – said the head of the FJC.
Recall that the Russian Jewish Congress a few years ago announced his intention to begin active work on return of the equipment seized by the Bolsheviks the Jews after the revolution. Initially it was planned to compile a list of ekspropriyovano real estate to assess the feasibility of return or compensation. In many Russian cities, for example, in Novocherkassk — the number of the Jewish community is now small, therefore, require the transfer of a huge building of the synagogue is simply meaningless. And, for example, in Moscow, restitution of historical sites (especially those that were in the center of the city), as a rule, futile. Better to ask for compensation. According to the FJC, and recently religious communities have been returned to the historical synagogue buildings in Kaluga and Rybinsk, in a number of cities in negotiations.
Experts, in turn, noted that if the municipal authorities oppose the Jews, as a rule, seeking restitution through the courts. In particular, the court’s decision at the end of 2016 the Jewish community in Orel region was returned to the synagogue building, which recently housed Orlovskiy road College. (Students, of course, will have to move to another room). Although the building is a cultural heritage site of regional importance and is in good condition, representatives of the Jewish community stated that it will be rebuilt. In particular, it is planned to restore the dome.
We add that the Federal government maintains close contact with the Jewish religious organizations and not against the increase of Jewish population in Russia. In early 2016 at a meeting with representatives of the European Jewish Congress Vladimir Putin suggested European Jews suffering from anti-Semitism, to move to Russia, where such problems, in his opinion, no.