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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Moves to Save University Theater

The Moscow City Duma appealed Wednesday to the Moscow State University not to evict a student theater from its premises after the ultranationalist Pamyat group carried out a demonstration to force the students to leave the building. Viktor Kruchnikov, a City Council deputy, told a press conference that 26 of the 35 deputies had signed an official appeal to the university's leadership. The university decided in December to give the student theater's premises to the Russian Orthodox Church. So far, however, the students have failed to quit the theater. "If the university does not heed the voice of the deputies, we will appeal to Mayor Luzhkov," Kruchnikov told reporters. "Definitely, these premises should be reserved for the theater." About 30 Pamyat members, armed with lashes, held a meeting Sunday to demand the eviction of the students who "defile the holy place." The student theater dates back to 1806 but the building was converted to an Orthodox church for students in 1837, a status it retained until the 1917 revolution, when it reverted to a theater. Vladimir Kamchatov, a high-ranking aide to President Boris Yeltsin, said that the student theater should be retained on its premises because of its "historical heritage" for Russian culture.