(MENAFN - AFP) Russia's best-known director and Saint-Petersburg native Alexander Sokurov said Tuesday he would stop fighting to save the city's architectural heritage, and for freedom of expression, as it was "useless" to do so."I think I am going to end this (activism). I am incapable of having an influence on the causes" (I) defend, the arthouse director told an audience in Russia's cultural capital.The director of "Faust", which won the top prize at the 2011 Venice film festival, is known for his attachment to the city and its heritage.Sokurov was offered the chance to flee Russia and its Soviet camps in the 1980s but chose to stay in Saint-Petersburg due to his love for the Russian language and the city's Hermitage museum.In 2011, he stepped into a debate to privatise the country's oldest film studio, Lenfilm, protesting to then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, which led Russia to shelve the plan.On Tuesday, Sokurov again showed his discontent with Russia's treatment of the arts by comparing the recently restored iconic Mariinsky Theatre to a "hangar"."I get the impression that (Mariinsky director) Valery Guergiev got tired of the innumerous checks and experts and in the end decided that the theatre could resemble a hangar as long as they just let him work," said Sokurov.Authorities have clashed repeatedly with protest movements after giving the green light to building projects that opponents say threaten the city's spectacular buildings, listed as a World Heritage Site by the UN cultural body UNESCO.Sokurov also denounced the intervention of religious groups in the arts which he branded "a particular form of censorship"."This does not exist anywhere else except maybe in Muslim countries," he said.