RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin denies intervening in Yekaterinburg church row” – Interfax
(Interfax – May 17, 2019)
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has downplayed suggestions of Kremlin interference in the row over construction of a church in Yekaterinburg, after the city’s mayor announced he was suspending the project.
Following days of protests, Mayor Alexander Vysokinsky said on 16 May that he was suspending the controversial project until a survey is carried out, hours after President Vladimir Putin suggested that the matter be decided by a poll.
Peskov on 17 May denied any connection between the two, saying the local authorities were in a dialogue with the city’s residents before the president’s statement.
“The president simply articulated this more clearly. And in this case they, as a regional authority, listened, including to the head of state’s opinion,” he was quoted saying by the Interfax news agency.
It would be a “distortion” to suggest that the president had interfered in the situation, he added.
Peskov also rejected suggestions that the incident had shown the Yekaterinburg authorities to be incapable of taking a decision on the issue without direction from above.
“It seems to me that, based on this, it would be wrong to talk about the ineffectiveness of the authorities,” he added.
[featured images are file photos from other occasions]