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Georgia protests destruction of royal grave in Moscow

by | Apr 12, 2012

Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, a prince and writer who lived in the 18th century, is buried at Vsesvyatsky Cemetery in Moscow.

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Foreign Ministry has formally protested against how Russia is treating a royal cemetary in Moscow.

Tbilisi believes that authorities in Moscow are going ahead with construction work on the cemetary, which contains the graves of the Georgian royal family Bagrationi.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry sent an official note to Russia demanding a stop in the constructions works. The note went via the Swiss embassy. Georgia and Russia do not have diplomatic relations.

Nino Kalandadze, Deputy Foreign Minister said on Monday that Switzerland will try to find full information about what works are being conducted on the grave and in case it is true, they will appeal to Russia to stop the construction works.

“Afterwards, we will appeal with request to raise the issue of reburial,” Kalandadze added.

The Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection is waiting for additional material about the construction works over the grave in the cemetery with the help of the Swiss embassy.

“The fact that they treat a Georgian monument as vandals, we can consider a continuation of actions to delete Georgian traces. After studying the situation, very soon there will be put issue to rebury Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani in Georgia. We are waiting for additional material, which will be given to us with the help of the Swiss embassy,” the agency says.

The agency has very little information about the details of the photo and video material in its possession.

“We don’t yet have precise and detailed information of what territory is destroyed and where constructions are conducted.”

The cemetery is located in the northern part of Moscow. Georgian noblemen, including royals, were buried there in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, after Georgia was integrated in Russia. Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, Georgian famous writer and Ioane, father of Petre Bagration, a famous Russian General with Georgian origins, are also buried in the yard of church in this cemetery.

Vsesvyatsky Cemetery existed until 1982, when it was destroyed, following an order to liquidate cemeteries in Moscow. Despite of this, some tombstones still remain there, including the one of Ioane Bagrationi.

There is a plan to build a park there instead. Construction work started in 2008, but were stopped because of disputes. In 2011, the work continued and is in progress. Currently, a one-story concrete building is being built over the graves and there is no constriction permits for this.

The church is on the list of protected monuments. So Moscow Cultural Heritage Protection Department made a decision to take away buildings; however, construction is still in progress.



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