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Russian Activists Protest Demolition Of 'Literature House'

Members of a historic preservation group have protested plans to demolish a famous building in St. Petersburg known as the House of Literature, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

At least 30 activists of the Living City movement gathered in front of the late 18th-century building on January 10 in an attempt to prevent its demolition.

Prominent Russian writers Ivan Panayev, Andrei Kraievsky, Ivan Goncharov, Ivan Turgenev, Dmitry Pisarev, and Vissarion Belinsky all lived in the famous house.

Activist Antonina Yeliseyeva told RFE/RL that a local construction company -- Avtokombalt -- has been renovating the building to turn it into a modern hotel with underground parking.

The company promised to preserve the building's original facade, but has been slowly destroying it, activists said.

Avtgokombalt suspended the renovation work temporarily in the wake of today's protest.