Primorsky District Court of Arkhangelsk sided with the former employee of the Solovetsky Monastery Museum Olga Bochkareva, who sought recognition of the rights to an apartment in Solovki. The monastery wanted to evict her after the closure of the Gulag research department.
According to the human rights organization "Memorial", the abbot of the monastery Vladimir Shutov, who at the same time heads the museum at the monastery, tried to recognize the agreement on transferring the apartment to the former employee's property invalid through the court. Olga Bochkareva filed a counterclaim and demanded the completion of the privatization of the apartment in which she lives with her daughter since 2011.
According to her lawyer, the Ministry of Culture and the monastery had long overdue the opportunity to challenge the right of ownership of her client:
"The judge decided to recognize the property right for Bochkareva, the motivational part of the decision will be received on February 22. Representatives of the museum said that they did not know that they were giving the apartment for unlimited use under a social contract. They supposedly thought that they give living space only for the period of work on Solovki. Then said that the museum was not authorized to conclude such a contract, but it needed the permission of the Ministry of Culture, because the apartment is in the operational management of the museum. We believe that they knew about it all these years and missed the limitation period — one year. We know about at least three apartments that have been transferred to social funds and privatized. And for them, too, there was no agreement of the Ministry of Culture."
Olga Bochkareva herself told «7x7» that Solovki residents continue to have a conflict with the ROC, but they are not going to leave the island:
"I do not care about the conflict with Solovetsky Monastery — I love the island, I have been living for almost 30 years and will continue to live in this apartment. Closure of the Gulag research department is connected with the ambitions of people promoting this, but do not know much. Speeches to the media are more important to them than historical facts, to which they can not appeal. The topic of the Gulag in the museum is almost closed, my former department is now engaged only in monks in the camp and monastic subjects. That's why they don’t need me anymore. The conflict between the residents and the ROC remained, people believe that this is their island, and the church is just a public organization. People resist as they can. My privatization was being delayed, the museum now has a mess with documents."
Olga Bochkareva worked in the Solovetsky Museum from 1988 to 2016. She created an exhibit in one of the former camp barracks in the village of Solovetsky. For 30 years, Bochkareva advised relatives of the repressed and helped them to search for documents of their relatives.
Daniil Kuznetsov, «7x7»