Urban activist Natalya Bulycheva takes care of Sobornaya Street, where she has lived for most of her life. She makes sure the trees and lawns get trimmed, the fences are painted and replaced, and lighting is installed. She spent two years ensuring that the memorial houses on Sobornaya, where people still live, received the status of “run-down and dilapidated housing.” This status makes it possible to provide people with new apartments, though it does not entail the restoration of the memorial houses.
Bulycheva: Sobornaya Street is between the Odigitrievsky Cathedral and the Church of the Savior. There are 16 cultural heritage sites within 400 meters. The houses at Sobornaya Street 12/1 and 12/2 are in a terrible state, and the degree of decay is 90%. I’m trying to get officials to take up their reconstruction. I repeatedly went to the municipality, the government, and personally to the head of the republic, Alexei Tsydenov. The register of memorial houses was created in 1996. In 2002, Federal Law No 73 “On Objects of Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of the Russian Federation” was issued, and at the same time the state allowed the privatization of premises that are cultural heritage sites. The authorities were supposed to carry out extensive renovations, but decided to abandon the responsibility for preserving cultural heritage and not spend money on it. These obligations were shifted to future owners, who did not understand or did not know that, having become the owners of cultural heritage sites, they bear the responsibility for their preservation.
Specialists from the Committee for the State Protection of Cultural Heritage Objects have been legally responsible for carrying out repair and restoration work over the last three years. The drafting of a restoration project can reach RUB 200,000 (about $ 3000) – huge money for most Russian families.
Mikhailov: Not only does the owner have to use his own money to restore the site, but there is also a complicated procedure for performing the work. Since 2015, the owner must involve an organization that is licensed by the RussianMinistry of Culture to work on cultural heritage sites.