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Take over the world in the form of images - so once again experience the feeling of unreality and remoteness of the real.
Susan Sontag. About

Before the Finland Station, one of the five stations, through which a traveler can get in the city or leave it, on the bank of the Neva, stands a monument to the man, whose name the city is currently. As a matter of fact, each time the Leningrad railway station has a similar monument, Whether a statue in front of the growth, whether massive bust inside the building. But the monument in front of the Finland Station is unique. And it's not the statue itself, so as Comrade. Lenin is depicted in the usual manner, with outstretched hand in the space, that is, as if addressing the masses, and the case in the pedestal. As Comrade. Lenin deklamiruet, Stoa on bronevyke. All this is done in the style of early Constructivism, now so popular in the West, and in general the idea to carve in stone armored car gives some psychological acceleration, sculpture like a little ahead of its time. As I know, the world's only monument to the man on the armored car. Already at least in this respect, we are dealing with a symbol of a new world. The old world is usually represented by men on horseback.
In full accordance, Is a circumstance in three kilometers downstream, on the other side stands a monument to the man, whose name this city bore the date of its foundation: Peter the Great. Immobility of the monument, commonly known as the Bronze Horseman, It may partly be explained nonstop, with some being photographed. It is an impressive monument, six meters in height, the best work of Etienne-Maurice Falcone, recommended to the customer - Catherine the Great - Diderot and Voltaire. Over a huge granite rock, dragged here from the Karelian Isthmus, Peter the Great stands, holding and reining horse with his left hand, What is the symbol of Russia, and stretching out his right hand toward the north.
As these two men share the responsibility for the city, I want to compare not only the monuments, but also their direct environment. To his left the man on the armored car has Pseudoclassical building of the District Party Committee and the notorious "Crosses" - the largest house of detention in Russia. Right - Artillery Academy and, if you trace, which indicates his outstretched hand, the highest of post-revolutionary buildings on the left bank - the Leningrad KGB. As for the Bronze Horseman, he, too, on the right hand there is a military establishment - the Admiralty, but the left - Senate, now the State Historical Archive, and the outstretched arm he pointed across the river to the University, he built a building, and in which the person with the armored car later received some kind of education.
So dvuhsotsemidesyatishestiletny city exists under two names "born" and "he's" - and its inhabitants prefer not to use either the, no other. Of course, in documents and mailings they put down "Leningrad", but in ordinary conversation rather just say "Peter". And it's not so much in politics, how much is, and that the "Leningrad" and "Petersburg" not too pronounceable, and people always tend to give nicknames localities inhabited by them, That is, in fact, the next stage of habitation. "Lenin" in this sense is simply no good, not least because, that this surname (in addition and devised), but the "Peter" sounds very natural. First of all, the city has already called so two hundred years. In addition, the spirit of Peter I was still much more noticeable here, than a whiff of later eras. And among other things, since a genuine Russian emperor - Peter, "Peter" sounds a bit in the foreign, that corresponds to something certain foreign, alienated in urban atmosphere: European-looking buildings, possibly, and the very location: in the delta of the River Severn, current to the open hostility Sea. In other words, when leaving such a familiar world.
Russia - the country is quite continental, its surface covers one-sixth of the Earth's land. The idea to build a city on the edge of the earth and proclaim it, then the capital of the state was considered by contemporaries like Peter I, at least, unsuccessful. Materne-warm, traditional to the full exclusion of all other people's, claustrophobic self-Russian world quiver at the piercingly cold Baltic wind. Peter's reforms met with resistance monstrous, primarily because, that the area of ​​the Neva delta was really bad. Those were the lowlands and swamps, It was to strengthen the ground for the construction of necessary. The woods around were plenty, but volunteers it was not to blame, even less - hammer beam in the ground.
But I Provide Petr city, and more than the city: Russia to face, facing the world. In the context of the time, this meant - to the West; the city was destined to become, According to one Italian writer, visited Russia at that time, window to Europe. That is practically Peter needed gates, and though wide open. In contrast to their predecessors and successors on the Russian throne, the two meters tall monarch did not suffer from traditional Russian ailment - an inferiority complex before Europe. He did not want to imitate Europe, he wanted, Russia to become Europe, Similarly,, he himself was, at least in part, evropeytsem. Many of his personal friends and companions, as well as many of his major opponents, with whom he fought, They were Europeans; He spent more than a year, working, traveling and simply living in Europe; he often went there and then. West was not terra incognito for him. A person of sober mind, although prone to binge frightening, he regarded any country, on whose soil he happened to walk (not excluding his own), just as an extension of space ... In a way, for it was the geography of the real story, and his favorite cardinal was north and west.
Generally, He was in love with space, and especially in the sea. He wanted, Russia had to fleet, and with his own hands the "Tsar Carpenter", as it was called by his contemporaries, He built the first ship (now exhibited in the Naval Museum), using skills, acquired by them during the work on the Dutch and British shipyards. So his vision was very specific. He wanted, to the city was a haven for Russian fleet, fortress against the Swedes, ruined the centuries these shores, northern stronghold of powers. At the same time, he imagined the city as the spiritual center of the new Russia: mind power, Science, education, knowledge. The realization of this vision and has been subject to all of its conscious activity; it was not, the by-products of military attacks in subsequent periods.
When the seer happens to be also the emperor, it acts relentlessly. Called "duress" techniques, I resorted to Peter I in the implementation of their project, it would be very soft. He taxed all and all, to force his subjects to conquer new ground. When Peter from the subjects of the Russian crown was pretty limited selection: conscription or sending for the construction of St. Petersburg, and it is difficult to say, it was deadly. Tens of thousands have died anonymously in the swamps of the Neva delta, whose islands have earned a reputation for not better, than the modern gulag. The only difference, what in 18 century, at least you know, being built, and you had a chance to get the last sacrament, and a wooden cross on the grave.
probably, Peter did not have any other way to ensure the implementation of its project. Prior to his rule Russia knew centralization, except in time of war, and never performed, integrally. a wholesale submission, which sought to Bronze Horseman, spawned Russian totalitarianism, whose fruit tastes a little nicer, than seeds. Mass demanded by weight solutions, Peter nor the power of education, nor by itself Russian history was not capable of anything else. With people, he did exactly the same, both from the ground beneath their future capital. Carpenter and navigator, this ruler treated one tool, planning your city: straightedge. The space is extremely flat unfolded in front of him, horizontal, and he had every reason to refer to this space as a map, where straight lines are most profitable. If that is curved in this city, not that, because it was scheduled, but because, he was sloppy draftsman - his finger slipped sometimes with the line, and the line under the nail was bent. As terrified subjects.
This city is really worth on the bones of its builders not less, than piles of slaughtered. To some extent this is true of any other place in the Old World, but usually the story manages to take care of the unpleasant memories. To mitigate mythology Petersburg too young, and every time, when there is a natural disaster or premeditated, can be spotted in the crowd seemed to be starved, the age of the person deprived of deep-seated, white-eyes and hear the whisper: "I tell you, this place is cursed!"You flinch, but a moment later,, when you try to take another look at the speaker, it was gone. In vain you will look into the crowd slowly tolochuschuyusya, in the past the crawling traffic: you will not see anything - just indifferent pedestrians and, through the rain slanted grid, majestic outlines of the beautiful imperial buildings. The geometry of the architectural perspectives in this city perfectly suited for all losses.
Generally, but, in the local sense of nature, which ever comes back, to claim the property was cut, once abandoned under pressure from human, It has its own logic. She - not so much the result of a long history of flood ravaged city, as physically tangible proximity to the sea. Although the case never goes further than, Neva that is trying to jump out of his granite straitjacket, But the kind of lead the Baltic clouds, rolled on the town, makes citizens be exhausted from the strain, and that's always missing. Sometimes, especially in late autumn, Such pohodka, with gusty winds, lashing rain and Neva, perepleskivayuscheysya on sidewalks, It lasts for weeks. Even if nothing changes really, just the time factor makes you think, that things are getting worse. In those days, remember, that the city is protected by dikes and that you closely surrounded by the fifth column and the flow channels, that practically live on the island, one of hundreds, one of those, What you saw in the movies - or was it a dream? - when a giant wave, And so on, And so on; and then turn on the radio for the next bulletin. What are the usual sounds cheerful and optimistic.
But the main reason for this feeling - the sea itself. Surprisingly, with all its might, now accumulated Russia, Ocean idea still alien to the majority of the population. and folklore, and the official propaganda interpret this theme in the foggy, although the positive, romantic manner. For the layman associated sea, first of all, the Black Sea, release, south, resort, may be, with palm trees. Most often in songs and verses found epithets: "Broad", "Blue", "Beautiful". Sometimes it is possible to detect "fatal", but in Russian it as something quite compatible with the rest of. The concept of freedom, open space, desire-throw-everything-to-hell-mother - all of these things deeply and crushed, Consequently, float in the form of rabies turned inside out, fear of drowning. Already in this one city on the Neva is the challenge of the national psyche, and he deserves the nickname "foreigner of the fatherland", given to him by Gogol. If not a foreigner, it really sailor, at least. Peter I in some way got his: the city became a haven, and not only physical. metaphysical, too. No other place in Russia, where imagination come off so easily from reality: Russian literature has arisen with the advent of St. Petersburg.
Although, may be, and true, Peter planned new Amsterdam, but that, what happened, has more in common with the Dutch town, than its former namesake on the banks of the Hudson River. But that, that grew up in the last, a first horizontally spread over, with the same scope. For the width of the river itself already requires other architectural scale.
In the era, followed Peter's, We began to build not individual buildings, but entire architectural ensembles, more precisely, architectural landscapes. Hitherto untouched by European architectural styles, Russia opened the floodgates, and baroque classicism burst and filled the streets and quays of St. Petersburg. Organopodobnye forests grew in parallel colonnades palace facades, goes to infinity its kilometer Euclidian triumph. In the second half of the 18th and the first quarter of the 19th century the city became a true Mecca for the best Italian and French architects, sculptors and decorators. In, it came to the imperial type, the city was meticulous to the smallest detail. Granite facing rivers and canals, sophistication of each curl their iron gratings speak for themselves. As well as the finishing of the palace hall and suburban residences of the royal family and the aristocracy; whimsicality and sophistication of the decor border on indecency. And yet - at least some samples are not the architects, whether Versailles, or Fontainebleau, or something else, creation came out unmistakably Russian, For more overabundance of space prompted the architects, where and how to add another wing, and in what style to solve it, rather than capricious tastes often ignorant, though immensely rich clients. When you look at the panorama of the Neva, opens with the Trubetskoy bastion of the fortress, or Peterhof Cascade in the Gulf of Finland, there is a strange feeling, that all this is not Russia, trying to reach the European civilization, and increased magic lantern projection of the latter on a grand screen space and water.
Ultimately, its rapid growth and the splendor of the city owes the widespread presence of water there. Twenty kilometers of the Neva in the city, cloven in the heart of twenty-five large and small arms, provide a town water mirror, that narcissism becomes inevitable. Reflected every second thousands of square meters of fluid silver amalgam, the city seemed to constantly take pictures of the river, and filmed footage empties into the Gulf of Finland, which looks like a sunny day storage of these dazzling images. Not surprising, that sometimes the city gives the impression of extreme egoist, engaged exclusively on their appearance. certainly, in such places pay more attention to the facades, than on the outside of their own kind. Neistoshtimoe, crazy cramping multiplication of these pilasters, colonnades, porticoes, hints at the nature of this stone narcissism, It hints at the possibility of, what, at least in the inanimate world, Water can be treated, as condensed Time.
But, possibly, more, than rivers and canals, this, according to the word of Dostoevsky, "The intentional city in the world", reflected in Russian literature. Water can only indicate surfaces, represent them, and only their. Image of the outside and interior of the spiritual city, its impact on people and their inner world became the main theme of Russian literature almost from the day of foundation of St. Petersburg. In fact, Russian literature was born here, on the banks of the Neva. If a, by saying, all Russian writers "came out of Gogol's" The Overcoat, "", it does not interfere with recall, that the overcoat was stripped from the poor bureaucratic shoulders anywhere else, as in St. Petersburg, at the beginning 19 century. tone, but, set by Pushkin in "The Bronze Horseman", where the hero, small departmental official, having lost his beloved in the flood, equestrian statue of Emperor accuses of negligence (dams, there is no) and going crazy, when he sees, that enraged Peter jumps on his horse from its pedestal and rushes in pursuit, to trample him, nagletsa, in the ground. (It would be a simple story about the revolt of the little man against the unlimited power and delusions of persecution, if not a great poetry, the best ever written in praise of the city, except Mandelstam poems, which has just been trampled into the ground of the Empire a hundred years after, Pushkin was killed in a duel).
Anyway to top 19 century, St. Petersburg was already the capital of Russian Literature, and not because, that among its heroes or its creators were court. Finally, for centuries the yard was in Moscow, but it did not work out. The reason for such an unexpected creative explosion again was, mainly, geographical. In the context of the then Russian life, the emergence of St. Petersburg was tantamount to the discovery of the New World: thinking people of that time had the opportunity to look at ourselves and the people as if from outside. In other words, this city has allowed them to objectify. The idea, that the criticism from the side - the most valuable, popular to this day. Then, backed alternative - at least in appearance - the utopian character of the city, it is filled for the first time who undertake the pen almost undeniable sensation of authority to make judgments. If it is true, that writers need to step back from their own experience, to be able to comment on it, then the city, his alienation services, allows the writer to save on travel.
Natives of the aristocracy, nobility or clergy, All these writers belonged, if we use the economic classification, the middle class, which is almost the only one responsible for the existence of literature anywhere else. With two or three exceptions,, they all lived on writing, that is enough scantily, to understand the difficulties of the poorest, without commentary or amazement as, as well as the luxury of the, who is at the top. Recent catches their attention much less, not least because, that the probability to join them was much lower. Respectively, we have a very detailed, almost stereoscopic picture of the internal real St. Petersburg, because that vegetation is the basis of reality; the little man is always universal. Moreover, more beautiful than the, that his immediate environment, the more striking contrast with its add-on. Not surprising, that all of them - retired officers, poor widow, looted government officials, hungry journalists, uniƶennыe son, tuberculosis, students and so on, - seen against the backdrop of impeccably classic, utopian porticoes, haunted the imagination of writers and flooded the first chapters of Russian prose.
So often had these characters on paper, and so many people were, they inhabit paper, and so perfectly possessed these people to their material, And this was the material - words, - that very soon the city was something strange going on. The process of identification of these semantic incorrigibly, saturated moralizing images turned into a self-identification process with them. As often happens with the man in the mirror, the city began to fall into dependence on the volume reflection in literature. Not that he is not improved (although, of course, insufficiently!), but with an innate nervousness narcissist, City glared more and more closely in the mirror, beig Russian writers, - Stendhal rephrase, - through the streets, yards and squalid apartment residents. Sometimes reflected by trying to fix or simply smash reflection, that was easy to do, since almost all of the authors immediately and lived, in the town. By the middle 19 century reflected and reflection merge: Russian literature caught up with reality to an extent, Now when you think of St. Petersburg, can not be distinguished from the invented for certain existing. What is quite strange for a place, which is only two hundred seventy-six years. Modern guide will show you the building of the Third Division, where we judged Dostoevsky, but also house, where the character of Dostoevsky - Raskolnikov - cut down an old woman money-lender.
The role of literature 19 century in the design image of the city was the more decisive, that in this century St. Petersburg palaces and embassies cluster grows into a bureaucratic, political, business, military and, at the end, industrial center of Russia. Perfect almost to the absurd architecture began to lose their abstract nature, worse with each new building. It was determined, and the trend towards functionality (that is simply - to profitability), and overall aesthetic degradation. With the exception of Catherine the Great, successors of Peter not too different insights on the part of, not borrowed them and of Peter. Each of them tried to imitate his version of Europe, and, moreover, very carefully, but Europe 19 century was not very worthy of imitation. From reign to reign decadence became more obvious; the only thing, that has saved the new venture, was the need to adapt them to the greatness of the previous. Of course, nowadays even barrack style of the epoch of Nicholas confusion can warm the heart of the esthete, because it is at least well the spirit of the times. But in general it soldafonsky, prussatsky social ideal in the Russian performing, coupled with a ugly apartment houses, squeezed between classical ensembles, It produces a rather discouraging impression. Then it was time to the Victorian eclecticism in whorls, and the end of the century the city, which began as a jump in the history of the future, already looked here and there, an ordinary northern European bourgeoisie.
This something was the matter. If in the 30 years of the last century critic Belinsky exclaimed: "Petersburg original than all the cities of America, because it is a new city in the old country, hence there is a new hope, bright future of this country ", - a quarter of a century later Dostoevsky on the same topic already responds sarcastically: "This is a huge modern architecture goodies, - it is businesslike Americanism, hundreds of ciphers, a huge industrial enterprise, immediately visible, and that we were the railways, and we suddenly found ourselves business people ".
All we talk about "Americanism" in the annex to the capitalist period of the history of St. Petersburg would be, пожалуй, stretch, but the resemblance to Europe was indeed a resounding. And it is not alone the facades of banks and joint-stock companies be like in their ivory solidity Berlin and London partners; The interior of such establishments, how to Yeliseyev Grocery Store (still valid, preserved intact, not least because, that is not what it would be expanding at present), easily bears comparison with the Parisian Fauchon. The thing is, that every "ism" is shown on an international scale, rejects the national traits; capitalism in this regard was no exception. The city was on the rise; the male population in the proportion of two to one superior to women, prostitution flourished, overfilled shelters; boiled water in the harbor from the courts, The export of Russian wheat, just as it is now in full swing by the courts, privozyaschih wheat in Russia. It was an international city, with large colonies - French, German, Dutch and English, not to mention the diplomats and traders. Pushkin's prophecy, embedded into the mouth of the Bronze Horseman: "All flags will come to us!"- materialized. If in 18 century imitation of the West did not go deeper into the makeup and fashion in aristocratic circles ("These Russian - monkey! - he complained to a French nobleman after the ball in the Winter Palace, - How quickly they have adapted! Already we outdid our yard!»), then 19 century, with its bourgeoisie nuvorishskoy, Upper light, half-light, and so on., St. Petersburg has become so western city, I could even afford a contempt Europe.
However, contempt, mainly manifested in the literature, It was not related to the traditional Russian xenophobia, often expressed as proof of the superiority of the Orthodox Church should be Catholic. Rather, it was a reaction to the city itself, preached ideals clash with reality mercantile, esthete on bourgeois reaction. As far as all this history with the rest of the opposition of the Orthodox Christianity, it never goes too far, as cathedrals and churches were designed by the same architects, as the palaces. So while not step under their vaults or if not Look to the shape of a cross on the dome, can not be determined, which church belongs to this house of prayer; by the way, there is in this city, and headed lukovok. Yet something of the religious feeling was this contempt.
Any criticism of human existence involves awareness critics highest point of reference, the best manner. That has been the history of Russian aesthetics, that the architectural ensembles of St. Petersburg were perceived and perceived as very possible embodiment of such an order (including churches). Anyway, person, I lived in this city for a long time, I tend to associate virtue with the proportionality. It's an old Greek idea, but, It is moved under northern skies, it takes several militant character and makes the artist, to put it mildly, extremely care about the form. Such an effect is particularly evident in respect of Russian or, by place of birth, St. Petersburg poetry. For over two and a half centuries this school, from Lomonosov and Derzhavin to Pushkin and his pleiad (Baratinsky, Vyazemskij, Delvig) and further to Acmeists in this century (Akhmatova, Mandelstam) It existed under the same sign, under which was conceived: under the sign of classicism.
However, less than fifty years separate the city in Pushkin's anthem, "The Bronze Horseman" by Dostoevsky's statements in "Notes from Underground": "Misfortune to inhabit Petersburg, the most abstract and intentional city in the world ". Swiftness of the transition due to the fact, that the rate of development of the city was not as good as the speed: a threshold matter acceleration. A place, whose population in the 1700 It was zero, inhabited by one and a half million in 1900. What anywhere else would have gone age, It is squeezed into decades. Time took on mythical properties, because that was the myth of creation. thriving industry, and the town grew up around the factory chimneys, as an echo of his brick colonnades. The Imperial Russian Ballet Anna Pavlova presented in Petipa's choreography and what some twenty years has developed an understanding of ballet as a symphonic structure, understanding, who was destined to conquer the world. About three thousand ships under Russian and foreign flags took a year St. Petersburg port, Bole dozen political parties met in 1906 year in the hall prior Russian Parliament, Named Duma (word, it is thought, - English consonance doom, "Doom", Does not sounds predznamenovanie). The prefix "Saint" gradually disappeared, but rightly, from name, and when the First World War, due to anti-German sentiments completely Russified and all the name - "Petersburg" has turned into "Petrograd". The once very exciting idea of ​​the city less showed through spanning its cobweb economy, politicians, grazhdanstvennoy demagogue. In other words, City Bronze Horseman galloping forward ordinary metropolis huge jumps, on the heels of her little man and pushing it forward. And I arrived at the Finland Station in one day train, out of the car came a man of small stature and climbed onto an armored car.
This visit, meaning a national disaster, It was salvation for the city. Since completely stopped construction, as well as the entire economic life of the country. City froze as if in mute amazement before the impending era. Friendly. Lenin deserves its monuments, if only because, he saved the city from degradation in the universal village and from the shame of being the seat of his government: at 1918 , he moved the capital back to Moscow.
This alone makes the decision equates Lenin to Peter. However, Lenin himself would hardly have approved the renaming of the city in his honor, at least so because, that he lived in this city for a total of not more than two years. If it were up to him, he would prefer, so in his honor was renamed Moscow or any other Russian city itself. He was not particularly interested in the sea: He was a land man, simply - citizen. And if he felt uncomfortable in Petrograd, that's just because of the sea, though he feared not so much flooding, as the British Navy.
Perhaps, only two ways it was similar to Peter I: in Europe and in the knowledge of the ruthlessness. But if Peter, with his breadth of interests, boundless energy, amateurishly grand design, was late, or modern, Renaissance man, that Lenin was entirely a product of his time: uzkolobыy revolutionary typical melkoburzhuaznoy, monomaniacal lust for power. What is itself a purely bourgeois idea.
so, Lenin arrived in St. Petersburg; because he thought, that is where it is hidden and: power. He would have followed her anywhere traveled, if I thought, which may find it there, in the other place (and he really tried: in Switzerland, Zurich). briefly, he was one of the first, It's geography became a science policy. But the fact, that St. Petersburg has never, even in the most reactionary reign of Nicholas I,, It was not the focus of power. Each monarchy based on the feudal principle of voluntary or involuntary subordination sole ruler, support the church. Eventually, any form of subordination to a volitional act; as filling ballot. Whereas the basic Leninist idea was to manipulate the human will itself, control the minds, which was a novelty for St. Petersburg. For St. Petersburg was a mainstay of imperial control; itself is a mixture of architectural grandeur with the bureaucratic tradition makes the idea of ​​power is ridiculous. Lenin lived a little longer in this city, his idea of ​​statehood would have been more modest. But from the age of thirty he was sixteen years he lived abroad, mainly in Germany and Switzerland, nurturing their political theory. He returned to St. Petersburg only once, 1905-m, for three months, while he is trying to organize the workers' resistance to the tsarist government, but soon he was again forced to serve abroad, ago, to politicking in coffee shops, a chess game, Flipped Marx. All this could make it more tolerant: failure rarely extends prospects.
AT 1917 year, in Switzerland, he heard from a passerby, that the king abdicated, Lenin with a group of supporters plunged into a sealed train, given to them in the hope of the German General Staff, they serve as a fifth column in the rear of the Russian, and I went to St. Petersburg. Person, descended from the train at the Finland in 1917 year, He was forty-seven years old, and he, it seems, last opportunity to recoup: achieve his or go on trial for treason. All his luggage consisted of the dreams of the world socialist revolution, which, started in Russia, cause a chain reaction, and their respective dreams - to become the head of the Russian state, to perform the first dream. for shestnadtsatidnevnoe, long, jolting journey to the Finland Station, these two dreams are mixed in a rather nightmarish concept of power: but, climbing on an armored car, he did not know, that only one of them come true.
For it is not he arrived in St. Petersburg, to seize power: it is power itself long ago captured Lenin and dragged him to St. Petersburg. the, that in the history books is called "The Great October Socialist Revolution", in fact, it was a simple coup, bloodless, incidentally. At a signal - idle volley of cannon fodder cruiser "Aurora" - a company newly formed Red Guards came to the Winter Palace and arrested the Provisional Government group of ministers, sitting there trying in vain to control the Russian after the abdication of the king. The Red Guards did not encounter resistance; they raped the female half of the battalion, guarding the palace, looted the rooms. In this case, the two Red shot, and some drowned in the wine cellar. This firing at the Palace Square, when the body toppled and searchlights crossed in the sky, It took place much later, directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
probably, because of the modest scale of the event, occurred 25 October, official propaganda dubbed the city "the cradle of the Revolution". Cradle he stayed, empty cradle, and pleased with the SIM status. The town largely escaped the excesses. "Deliver us God, - said Pushkin, - see the Russian revolt, senseless and merciless"; Petersburg but never saw. Civil war raged around and all over the country, terrible crack passed across the nation, dividing it into two mutually hostile camps; but here, on the banks of the Neva, the first time in two centuries, peace reigned, and the grass made its way through the deserted cobblestone squares and sidewalks gap. Hunger took her, a Zaodno and waiting (KGB nee), but the rest of the city was left to itself and its reflections.
While the country, to return to Moscow, the capital of, He pulls back to its uterine, klaustro- and xenophobic state, Petersburg, having no where to go, He froze in his guise of town 19 century, as if posing for a photograph. decade, following the Civil War, not too changed his: any buildings, but mainly on the industrial outskirts. In addition, the main housing policy was to "seal", ie Sharing a flat in poor people richer. So, if the family lived in a separate two-bedroom apartment, she had to condense into one room, to two other families were able to move into the two other rooms. So urban interior became more dostoevskianskim, while the facades peels and soak up the dust, This tan ages.
quietly, relaxed standing city, watching the changing seasons. In St. Petersburg, could change everything, except its weather. And his light. This northern light, pale and scattered, in it, and the memory, and the eyes become extraordinary sharpness. In this light,, and also due to the length and straightness of streets, thoughts pedestrian travel on the purpose of his journey, and a person with normal vision can distinguish at a distance of half a kilometer of the approaching bus number or date of birth followed by a bacon. Person, born in this city, nahazhivaet foot, at least in his youth, not less, than a good Bedouin. And it's not because of, that car a little and they are expensive (but there is an excellent public transport system), and not because of the kilometer-long queues at the grocery store. And because, that go under this sky, along the quays brown granite, along the huge gray river, It is in itself razdvizheniya life and farsightedness School. The grain granite embankment near constant current, outgoing water is something, that permeates the sole sensual desire walk. headwind smelling algae from the sea there are many hearts healed, congested lie, despair and helplessness. If it contributes to the enslavement, slave can be forgiven.
This city, where somehow easier to bear solitude, than elsewhere, and because the city itself is lonely. A strange consolation draws in the mind, that these stones have nothing to do with the present and even less with the future. The more deeply immersed in the facades 20 century, the impenetrable they look, not paying attention to these new times and their concerns. The only thing, that makes them remember this, this climate, and the most confident they feel in a bad weather of late autumn or premature spring, code rain mingled with sleet and rushing squall. Or in the dead of winter, When the palaces and mansions towering over the frozen river, the old imperial grandees, - in the snow and shawls edge, in fur coats. When the purple ball of the setting sun paints their January high picture windows liquid gold, chilled pedestrian on the bridge suddenly sees, that meant Peter, erecting these walls: giant mirror lonely planet. AND, exhaling steam, it feels almost sorry for these naked columns in Doric hairstyles, frozen, submerged in the ruthless cold, in the snow knee-deep.
The lower the mercury in the thermometer falls, It looks more abstract city. Minus twenty-five already cold enough, but the temperature continues to fall, and, I like to cut people, River and buildings, It is aiming to ideas, in abstract concepts. With floating above the roofs of white smoke at home along the quays, more and more like a stopped train: direction - forever. Trees in parks and gardens look like human lungs in school textbooks, with black caverns Crows Nest. And always away golden needle spire of the Admiralty, like an inverted beam, He is trying to anesthetize the contents of the cloud. And it is impossible to say, who looks more inappropriate similar background: today little people or their powerful owners, streaking in black limousines, stuffed protection. And those and others, to put it mildly, very uneasy.
Even in the late 30s, when the local industry began to reach to the level of pre-revolutionary, the population has not increased accordingly, It ranged somewhere in the region of two million. In fact, the percentage of indigenous families (living in St. Petersburg two or more generations) constantly falling: because of the Civil War, emigration 20s, chistok 30 is. Then came the Second World War and the blockade devyatisotdnevnaya, with its bombardments and hunger, claimed millions of lives. The blockade - the most tragic page in the history of the city, and, I think, it was then that the name of the "Leningrad" was finally accepted surviving residents as a tribute to the dead: hard to argue with burial inscriptions. City suddenly began to look to grow old; History seemed to be finally recognized its existence and decided to catch up here in his usual dark way: nahromozhdenyem trupov. Today, Thirty-three years later,, although painted and podshtukaturennye, ceilings and facades of the town was still unconquered, it seems, save, like spots, prints last breaths, The last look of its inhabitants. Or, can, just a bad paint, bad plaster.
Now the city has a population of about five million; and at eight o'clock in the morning crowded trams, trolleybuses, buses grind on countless bridges, Hydrating hanging bunches of people in the factories and institutions. In place of the "seal" came to the outlying buildings in the world famous style, which is popularly referred to as "Barack". The great merit of the current city fathers can assume that, that they leave the central part of the city virtually untouched. There are no skyscrapers, highways weave. Russia has reasons to be grateful architectural iron curtain, He helped her to maintain the originality of the external. Nowadays, received a postcard, I have to to think, where it - from Caracas (Venezuela) or from Warsaw (Poland).
Not that, that the city fathers would not want to immortalize yourself in the glass and concrete, but somehow I do not dare. No matter how insignificant they may, but they also fall under the influence of the city and do not dare to more, than to raise up there or SNM modern hotel, where everything is made of foreign hands (Finns), except for wiring; Only the latter is subject to Russian wit. Usually, these hotels are only for foreign tourists, often the same Finns, thanks to the proximity of the country to Leningrad.
Population fun in hundreds of theaters and a dozen dramatic, opera, ballet theaters; There are also two large football stadium - the city has two professional football and hockey teams one. In general, sport thoroughly supported by the authorities, and known, that the most passionate hockey fan lives in the Kremlin. But the most favorite form of pastime in Leningrad, as elsewhere in Russia, - half liter. In terms of alcohol consumption, this city - the window in Russia, and wide open though. At nine in the morning you will see most often drunk, than a taxi. In the wine department of the grocery store you can always notice a couple of men with indolent, but looking expression on their faces: waiting for the "third", to share the costs and the contents of the bottle. The first - at the cashier's window, the second - in the near parade. In the twilight of entrances reaches heights of art spilling half a liter into three equal parts without leaving residue. strange, unexpected, but sometimes a lifetime of friendship tied here, as well as the dirtiest crime. Although propaganda is struggling with alcoholism orally and in writing, the state continues to sell vodka and increases the price for it, because the half-liter - the largest source of state revenue: its cost five cents, and the selling price of five rubles. What does 9900 percent profit.
But drunkenness is not uncommon among seaside residents everywhere. The most characteristic features of the Leningrad: bad teeth (the result of a lack of vitamins during the siege), clarity in pronunciation sizzling, avtoironiya and some arrogance in relation to the rest of the country. Spiritually, this city is still the capital of the, he is the same relation to Moscow, as Florence to Rome or Boston to New York. As some of Dostoevsky's characters, Leningrad becomes a matter of pride and almost sensual pleasure his "non-recognition", exclusion; and besides, it is understandable, for those, whose native language - Russian, this city is more real than all the other places in the world, where they speak in Russian.
For there are other Petersburg, the creation of poetry and prose, Russian. This prose read and reread, and verses to memorize, not least because, that in Soviet schools children have to cram them, if they want to finish school. This memorization and provides a status of the city and its place in the future, - as there is Russian language, - and it also makes the Soviet schoolchildren in the Russian people.
The school year usually ends in late May, when the white nights come, to stay here for the whole of June. White Night - a night, when the sun goes down, almost two hours, - a phenomenon well-known in northern latitudes. It's the most magical time in the city: you can write and read without the lamps at two o'clock; masses of buildings, devoid of shadows, bordered with golden roofs, look fragile porcelain set. So quiet around, that you can almost hear, as the spoon clinked, fallen in Finland. Transparent pink hue of the sky so bright, that blue watercolor river barely able to reflect its. And bridges are divorced, as if the delta islands severed hands and moved slowly down the river to the Baltic Sea. On such nights, difficult to sleep, because it is too light and because any dream that is far from waking. When a man does not cast shadows, like water.

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