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St. Basil's Cathedral will not come under threat from the reconstruction of a nearby hotel complex
St. Basil's Cathedral, arguably Russia's most famous landmark, will not come under threat from the reconstruction of a nearby hotel complex, a deputy head of the State Historical Museum said Thursday. A British newspaper, The Independent, said Wednesday that the 16th-century cathedral, whose multicolored domes on Red Square are known throughout the world, could be "irreparably damaged" by work to transform the former Soviet Defense Ministry building into a $150-million five-star hotel with an auction house, elite apartments and an underground car park. But Vadim Yegorov played down the idea, saying the hotel project aimed to restore a building that was built in 1894. "The creation of the Kremlyovsky complex is not the construction of new buildings but interior changes to the existing 19th-century buildings," Yegorov. He said no work that could affect the cathedral's foundations would be conducted. Viktor Khrekov, the press secretary for the presidential property department, was more outspoken Wednesday, when he called the Independent report, which also cited Russian newspaper Izvestia, "complete nonsense." "The most authoritative experts have come to the conclusion that the work will pose no threat to the architectural and historic monument," he said, adding that the project to create the new-look Kremlyovsky complex aimed to maintain Red Square's historic form. Vladimir Kozhin, head of the presidential property department, said earlier that the Kremlevsky complex would be reconstructed by 2008. St. Basil's, which attracts tourists from all over the world regardless of the season, is protected by the state and is also on the Unesco World Heritage list.
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