Several thousand people have demonstrated in St. Petersburg to protest against the transfer of St. Isaac's Cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Speakers at the March 18 sanctioned rally included historian Lev Lurie and several local deputies who urged the crowd to resist attempts to destroy St. Petersburg’s cultural heritage.
The protest was the latest to take place following the January decision by city authorities to return the cathedral to church control.
It was seized by the state after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and became a museum. It's now a popular tourist destination.
Supporters of the transfer say the Orthodox Church is the rightful owner. But critics fear that under church control, tours will emphasize the cathedral's religious aspects at the expense of its cultural importance.
Thousands Protest Cathedral Transfer In St. Petersburg