Dmitrii Shostakovich: How to De-Politicize a Composer

Any foreigner flying in to St. Petersburg today will likely, on their way from the airport, come down Moskovsky prospekt, the longest and one of the busiest roads in the city today. Halfway between the remarkably small international airport and the city center whose palaces, cathedrals, and canals form a grandeur seen in few other places, the road is interrupted by a large roundabout. [Read more…]

Kresty Prison: A Forgotten Site of Memory?

The Kresty prison is an impressive red brick structure that lies along the banks of the Neva River. When I came across this complex, I was in awe of its beautiful architectural style and its unique presence in the Petersburg skyline. Kresty, meaning “crosses”, describes the cross-like pattern of the complex. [Read more…]

Kronstadt Fortress – Memory and Forgetting in Modern Russia

The fortress of Kronstadt lies on Kotlin Island about 30 miles offshore from St. Petersburg in the Gulf of Finland. It was constructed in 1703 by Peter the Great, just a year after he established his new capital, St. Petersburg. The history of the fortress has closely paralleled the history of St. Petersburg. Kronstadt has played two very different roles in the history of Russia. [Read more…]

The Road of Life, St. Petersburg

“An original Leningrad cuisine has developed; we’ve learned to make doughnuts out of mustard, soup out of yeast… many bring in soil that contains charred sugar… they boil it, filter it, and make coffee” (Kochina 46). In World War Two, Hitler decided to encircle the citizens of Leningrad in a siege, so that the city would give up, or all die of starvation. [Read more…]