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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Melnikov Daughter Drops House Claim

Yelena Melnikova abandoned her claim to half of her family's house, a downtown Moscow 1920s Constructivist landmark, settling a 20-year-old ownership conflict and paving the way for the creation of a museum in honor of the Soviet architect who built it, Konstantin Melnikov.

Melnikova appeared in a Moscow court on Thursday to drop her demand to inherit half the house in which her father, Viktor Melnikov, lived until his death on Feb. 4.

Viktor Melnikov, who owned only half the house, called in his will for the whole building to be handed over to the state. The other half was purchased this month from his nephew, Alexei Ilganayev, by businessman and politician Sergei Gordeyev.

"I don't think it's possible to continue the case since taking it any further will go against my moral principles, common sense and Christian beliefs," Melnikova said in a statement distributed by her lawyer, Alexander Chistovsky. "My father was a deep Christian believer, and therefore I don't want to stir up the past and trouble his soul."

The three-story house off the Arbat is considered a masterpiece of Constructivism. It is made of two joined cylinders and resembles a figure eight from above. The back is adorned with honeycombed windows.

"Finally, we can focus on creating the museum and fulfill my father's will," said Yekaterina Melnikova, the executor of Viktor Melnikov's will and his eldest daughter.

Moscow's museum community has campaigned since his death to protect the house from developers.

"We hope this is finally an end to the ownership conflicts that have afflicted this house for so many decades," said David Sarkisyan, director of the Shchusev Architecture Museum, who circulated a petition calling for President Vladimir Putin to protect the house.

"After the positive outcome of the court case, we are ready to accept the help of Senator Gordeyev," Sarkisyan said.

According to a report on NTV, Gordeyev, a senator in the Federation Council, is prepared to give his half of the building to the state for the creation of the museum.

Renovation is needed to save the 254-square-meter house. In 2005, it was included in the World Monument Fund's list of the top 100 endangered landmarks. Nearby construction of an apartment building has caused structural damage; there are cracks in the walls, and water is seeping into the foundation.

Alexander Chistovsky, also the lawyer for Ilganayev, said the main condition for the sale was that the new owner pledge to go ahead with plans to make it a museum.

"The state doesn't have the money to cover the costs of the necessary repairs, but the new owner does," Chistovsky said.

Chistovsky would not reveal the amount paid for Ilganayev's half, but Kommersant reported that the 809-square-meter plot on which the Melnikov house is located could be valued at $30 million to $40 million.