Listed Paulucci plant tower near Kazan cannibilised

Two metres of its brickwork taken apart brick by brick

Literally following a famous city ballad of the early past century, unknown attackers continued dismantling towers of the Marquis Paulucci in Klyuchischi settlement that are protected by the government this year too. The locals who noticed this went to the police citing the law was violated, but looters had managed and take away about two metres of the old brickwork.

In their local chat, residents of Klyuchischi settlement posted a photo of a road cleaned by somebody so thoughtfully and tyre treads that approached the historical facility closely. There appeared too some information about a KAMAZ lorry the bricks could be taken away, however, the residents said later: “I saw this KAMAZ when I was on my way to Klyuchischi. It was at the crossroads to this new brick plant and to Klyuchischi... It was empty, I didn’t see any bricks, there was a police car nearby, they were sorting it out (a local policeman and two men).”

“We’re finding out the circumstances”

“Yesterday we received a call that an old tower was dismantled in Klyuchischi,” Realnoe Vremya was confirmed in Verkhny Uslon intermunicipal office of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. “We’re finding out the circumstances.”

“The locals quickly told the head of the settlement about what happened on Monday morning,” vice head of Verkhny Uslon District Sergey Osyanin told Realnoe Vremya. “They quickly went to the scene with the police and perhaps with the prosecutor’s office. We have done what we could.”

Our newspaper called the committee asking about what measures had been taken to protect the cultural landmark from the barbarian destruction. The answer is going to be published as soon as it is received.

“What protection without protection?”

“How come? A listed landmark without a plaque. Somebody is taking it to pieces, the authorities are allegedly unaware. This has been in the news and newspapers!” Aida Gaydutdinova was indignant in the Klyuchischi chat.

Indeed, The 19th-century Brick Plant Industrial Tower was added to a list of discovered cultural heritage sites — head of the Tatarstan Committee for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Sites Ivan Guschin issued a dedicated decree. However, protection turned out to be on paper: the tower hasn’t had any plaque that it is protected by the government.

It is profitable for many to take a facility to pieces that is not protected de fact. There already appeared versions of who benefits from this in the Klyuchishi chat — from the owners of the land parcel for whom the tower is an obstacle for a commercial project to those wanted to get good-quality bricks for free and collectors. The bricks are rare dating back to the 19th century, some still have seals of the Paulucci plant.

Bricks with seals of Marquis Paulucci. Photo: (archive)

“The bricks weren’t thrown down, they are removed carefully and transported,” an activist of Klyuchischi Guzel Kamalova told Realnoe Vremya. “For the first time, in February 2022, they were simply thrown down on the ground with no pity. Now seemingly they wanted to save them. A tower cannot be looted without security!”

The tower getting smaller in front of our eyes

It should be reminded that the heir of the land parcel the plant is located on started to demolish the tower of the Marquis Paulucci plant in February 2022. Alexander Osyanin began to dismantle it even without coming into the legacy. Defenders of the cultural heritage of the Tatarstan State Committee for the Conservation of Culture Heritage Sites gave him a warning banning any works before a decision whether this facility was a historical landmark was made. However, several brick rows had already been removed from the tower — as a result, the decorative frieze completely disappeared, while the brickwork beneath is absolutely open to the destructive impact of precipitation and winds. As a consequence of the looting, the tower became two metres shorter — indeed, it seems there is going to be nothing to protect soon.

Aide to the Tatarstan president, member of the council of the Tatarstan office of the Russian Association for the Conservation of Historical and Cultural Heritage Sites Olesya Baltusova said then that the public agency — the committee — can demand Osyanin to restore the tower. However, Realnoe Vremya was explained in the committee that only that part of the facility that was mentioned in the description by that moment is protected.

“The missing elements can be recreated, but this is not an obligation.”

Olesya Baltusova told our newspaper that according to the activists’ petition — protectors of the Paulucci legacy — she addressed head of Verkhny Uslon District Marat Ziatdinov. The latter replied to her that “the works stopped, the police is working, even the Federal Security Service has joined, however, the owner doesn’t want to talk [either with the authorities and law enforcement agencies].”

Inna Serova