24 January 2018, Wednesday, 4:25

Private residence for Kasinets instead of museum


A new building is rapidly being constructed on the 1st Dovator Street in Vitebsk.

The construction site is enclosed by a fence, but there is no information board. However, the locals

know that it will be a residence for the chairman of the regional executive committee, Radio Svaboda reports.

The territory of the residence in the so called calm city centre is impressive: greenhouses of the veterinarian academy have already been demolished and the building of late 19th/early 20th century, which had been used by the  Museum of Private Collections until last summer, is next in turn.

The Vitebsk Museum of Private Collections was the only museum of this kind in Belarus. The building is not available now – a two-storey house is being constructed behind the 100-year red brick fence. Heaps of construction debris can be seen around the former museum. Construction workers say the building will soon be demolished.

Students of the veterinarian academy are especially interested what is happening behind the fence.

“We used to walk there. We wanted to go there and take some pictures, but saw the construction site. There is no information board. A man with a dog were guarding the site. We returned to the residence hall and learnt it would be a residence for our governor, Kasinets. We then talked to construction workers and they confirmed it would be a house for the governor. We asked why it was so small, but they said it would have two floors above the ground and one below, with a swimming pool. We didn't ask if we would be allowed to use it,” student Larysa says.

Construction works on the place of the greenhouses

Students are advised not to look at the residence. Meantime, the construction site occupied a part of the academy's territory.

A historical building of the former museum can still be seen to the left

Information about the construction site is not available. There is no compulsory board with information about project name, the plan and appearance of the building.

As for the Museum of Private Collections, the new residence of the governor was supposed to be located in the museum building. By the way, the head of the peasants' land bank used to live there. After the Great Patriotic War, the house was occupied by secretaries of the communist party's regional committee.

The building where the Museum of Private Collections was located

The locals began to discuss the possible revival of the Soviet tradition, when the museum had to move last summer.

Iosif Navumchyk, the head of the regional department of the Belarusian Language Association, was among the first people who tried to figure out reasons: “I asked the museum staff if they had any problems with the building. They said nothing leaked or went wrong, but the the building was declared to be 'unsafe'. I talked to the minister of culture on the phone. Latushka said: 'Of course, we want to have the Museum of Private Collections. But it is the property of the regional authorities, not ours. I was told the building was in a critical condition.”

The Museum of Private Collections was located in the old mansion for 19 years. It was opened on July 22, 1993, on the first day of Slavonic Bazaar Festival. On the second day of the latest festival, the exhibits were suddenly moved to the Vitebsk Regional History Museum to vacate the building. No one speaks about repairing the “unsafe” building, but a new residence for the governor is being constructed nearby and everything is being demolished to clear the area.