The Old Valaam was destined for many
years of oblivion and gradual decay In 1940 it became a navy school, in 1949 - a
state farm, from 1952 till 1984 - a boarding house for disabled soldiers and elderly
people, and the Resurrection skete housed a tourist base. In a couple of decades
the new owners destroyed what had been created during centuries. The monastery buildings
did not have even formal state protection. 'The stone sketes were torn down
for the sake of bricks, and the wooden ones were used as easily accessible fire-wood',
writes a contemporary writer. Konevsky, Ilyinsky, Tikh-vinsky sketes, as well as
Nazarievsky Hermitage and all wooden chapels on the islands (about twenty) perished.
The last chapel, Pokrovskaja, burnt down in 1982, but later, like Vladimirskaja,
was erected anew.
The profanation of the sacred place ruined the souls of those living on the island
after 1949, probably the first non-monastery people to live here in several centuries
of Valaam history, except for the time of Swedish occupation. As Abbot Andronik (Trubatchev),
the prior of the monastery since 1990, noted, for the first time the source of destruction
was not 'wars between countries, but the devastation of one's own nest,
self-ruining and self-extermination'. Of no help either was the establishing
of museums on the island: a natural reserve in 1965 and historical and architectural
reserve in 1979. Tourist attraction sites were being designed at that time with an
aerial rope-way, an airport, and a new settlement for 1,000 people. It would have
killed Valaam, but luckily, those plans were never realized.