Andronikov Monastery of the Savior vs. kebab house, shooting range, boozer, and center of Chinese medicine 

 Andronikov Monastery of the Savior vs. kebab house, shooting range, boozer, and center of Chinese medicine
Business on bones Photo: The CrimeRussia

Back in February 2013, the Prosecutor General's Office issued a warning to the Ministry of Culture, pointing to the facts of corruption: "The objects and land of the Central Museum of Old Russian Culture and Art named after Andrei Rublev are illegally used by a commercial structure headed by the son of the director of the museum."

The history of Andronikov Men’s Monastery of the Savior located on the left bank of the Yauza River in Moscow is going back centuries. The monastery includes a necropolis where warriors slain in the Battle of Kulikovo, Great Northern War, Seven Years' War, and Patriotic War of 1812 are buried – as well as religious leaders and representatives of the oldest noble families: Golovin, Saltykov, Trubetskoy, Naryshkin, Stroganov, Volkonsky, Baratynsky, Demidov, Tret’yakov, etc. In addition, victims of the plague and political prisoners (in 1918–1922, one of the first concentration camps of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Speculation, and Sabotage for officers and politically unwanted persons was located there; mass executions were carried out in it) are buried in the monastery. The thousands of burials in the necropolis form eight layers.

Currently the monastery is inoperative; the temple complex named “Andronikov Monastery Ensemble” is managed by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The Central Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art is located in the monastery. Scandals, including land and asset disputes, erupt in relation to the temple complex every year – entrepreneurs running ‘business on bones’ there have fierce arguments with the clergy and parishioners.

Back in February 2013, the Prosecutor General’s Office has issued a warning to the institution and brought allegations of corruption: “The facilities and land lot of the Central Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art are illegitimately used by a commercial structure managed by the Museum Director’ son. A restaurant building has been illegally erected on the territory of “Andronikov Monastery Ensemble”, a cultural heritage object of federal significance. Business meetings and conferences are held in the Temple of Archangel Michael built in the 17th century...”

As a result of the audit, a submission has been issued to Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky – however, private restaurant Khlebny Dom v Andronikakh (Bread House in Androniki) belonging to Fedor Ryndin, son of Gennady Popov, ex-Director of the Central Andrey Rublev Museum, still operates. Back on August 9, 2010, a governmental contract “to create an exhibition within the museum territory” worth 3 million rubles ($52.1 thousand) and signed personally by Gennady Popov was posted on the governmental acquisitions web site. This is how the restaurant owners have concealed their private restaurant Khlebny Dom v Andronikakh under the guise of “an exhibition within the museum territory”.

Video: Vesti Program, Russia 1 TV Channel: An illegally built private boozer operates on graves of the plague cemetery in Andronikov Monastery of the Savior

Upon receipt of the submission issued by the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Culture has removed Gennady Popov from the post of the Director of the Central Andrey Rublev Museum (currently he is the Deputy Director for Science) – just to be on the safe side. In May 2016, Mikhail Mindlin, who was in charge of the National Center for Contemporary Arts for 22 years, has been appointed to that position. By the way, according to the museum personnel, immediately after the appointment, he said that “there would be no priests in the Rublev Museum” because he practices Judaism. Not a single icon by Andrey Rublev is exhibited in the Rublev Museum – business is the top priority for the museum management.

On June 1, 2016, Mikhail Mindlin was arrested on suspicion of swindling committed by an organized group on an especially large scale (part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation); Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory Pirumov was the leader of that group. After the questioning, Mindlin has been released, currently he is a witness in the criminal case pertaining to embezzlements committed during the restoration works.

In September 2016, the situation with Andronikov Monastery has hit the headlines: the businessmen have erected, under the guise of restoration of a burned structure, a capital building for the shooting range on the land seized from the monastery – i.e. on the cemetery. The necropolis has been mercilessly dug by excavators; human bones were mixed with fragments of sarcophagi, tombstones, and family vaults. The builders had tried to haul away 15 KamAZ trucks of soil – but the parishioners have prevented this, literally, by lying under the wheels. The Department of Cultural Heritage of the City of Moscow claims that the actions of the developers are legal and authorized. Historians, archaeologists, and public activists had addressed the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation – but with no result.

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Despite protests of the parishioners, the shooting range has been built in a few months

In addition, a kebab house – currently suspended due to the conflict – is located in the necropolis; a boozer had earlier operated ‘on bones’ there. According to CrimeRussia sources, the businessmen supported by the Ministry of Culture intend to establish a restaurant on the basis of the kebab house. The establishment has been purchased by Management and Audit Technologies Limited Liability Company in 2014 in the absence of any rights on the land lot. Furthermore, the developers are going to build there a center of Chinese medicine.

Currently, the Arbitration Court of the City of Moscow is examining two lawsuits filed by Management and Audit Technologies Limited Liability Company against the Orthodox Christian Parish of the Church of the Holy Image of the Savior Not Made by Hands in the Andronikov Monastery and Municipal Property Department of the City of Moscow:

Case № 1: To oblige the Parish to make no difficulties in the usage of the kebab house, restore the driveway/passage to the land lot, dismantle the fence installed along the perimeter of the lot, exhume items resembling human remains earlier buried by the defendant on the lot, and dismantle graveside structures, stones, and crosses.

Case № 2: To recognize the right of Management and Audit Technologies Limited Liability Company to use the ½ share of the land lot.

The CrimeRussia become aware of this from lawyers helping the parishioners to protect the monastery lands.

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A nazi slogan on the front of the ‘cemetery boozer’

It is necessary to note that human remains still can be found near the shooting range and kebab house: despite the efforts of activists striving to rebury the bones after the sacrilegious actions of the developers, these still lie on the ground.

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People collect the remains and rebury those in collective graves

“During one of the funeral ceremonies, the kebab house owner had literally raged! He had jumped into the grave and did not allow to bury the remains! Because these burials hinder his Napoleonic plans to seize the lands surrounding his building through court action, asphalt the cemetery, and demolish the temple-chapel,” – Orthodox activist Sergei Moiseev tells.

Overnight into May 28, 2017, some unknown persons have axed into pieces and burned a four-meter memorial cross in the necropolis. Aleksei Shapkin, Duty Officer of the Press Service of the General Administration for the City of Moscow of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, has reported at that time as follows: “a criminal case has been instituted for vandalism; the police officers are taking the required steps to identify and arrest the suspects”. Too bad, but nobody has been identified and arrested so far.

In the meantime, the museum administration, in the person of its current Director Mikhail Mindlin, has decided, citing some “tourism Mecca concept” approved by the Ministry of Culture, to establish elevators, public toilets, and cafes in the Temple of Archangel Michael, where dozens of representatives of the Lopukhin noble family are buried. According to that concept, the iconostasis in the Cathedral of Our Savior where the Divine Liturgy is currently celebrated has to be demolished as well to allow the tourists to observe the temple sanctuary. This is a direct insult to religious feelings of believers – i.e. a crime stipulated in Article 148.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

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‘Culturologists’ believe that this temple needs elevators and public toilets

In addition to Article 148.1, the cultural workers and businessmen who use the territory of the Andronikov Monastery of the Savior in such a barbaric way can be charged under at least three more Articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: Spending Budgetary Funds for the wrong purposes (Article 285.1), Illegal Participation in Business Activity (Article 289), and Outrages upon Bodies of the Deceased and their burial places (Article 244).

It is also necessary to note that the team of Minister Medinsky responsible for the Museum of Victory on Poklonnaya Gora (Worshipful Submission Hill) is transforming this historical institution into an entertainment venue with beer and selfies. For instance, a restaurant unofficially named Blokadny Leningrad (Blockaded Leningrad) has been launched in the administrative building of the museum; weddings, birthdays, and corporate parties are celebrated there, while chosen museum employees dine in it on the daily basis. In addition, scantily clad models pose in front of the Reichstag installation and the recently-built viewing platform on the roof, recognized an unsafe structure, generates good revenues thanks to tourists willing to make a selfie against the legendary memorial.

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