The Marine Façade and the Petersburg Myth in Post-Soviet Russia

Sophia Kosar (Russian Studies Program, College of William and Mary)

For Abstract of the Article in Russian Click Here. Чтобы прочитать краткое изложение статьи по-русски, нажмите кнопкой мышки здесь.

St. Petersburg has always been Russia’s “window to the West.” At the time of its construction in the eighteenth century, Peter the Great envisioned a city encompassing the greatest architectural achievements of Western Europe: the romantic island-canal systems of Venice and Amsterdam, luxurious baroque architecture, and a court rivaling that of the French in power and elegance. However, the city has not always lived up to its intended purpose—to prove that Russia could leave behind her backwards ways and enter modernity with the rest of Europe (Figes 10). Thus the Petersburg myth was born—its foundations lying in this discrepancy between the idealized city and its real counterpart. The myth, which expresses Russia’s complicated experience of modernity, continues to be prevalent in contemporary St. Petersburg. The Marine Façade development project embodies the Petersburg myth and the three-hundred-year-old dichotomy between dreams and reality that lies at the heart of the city.

[Read more…]

Works Cited: The Marine Facade (Kosar)

Committee on City Planning and Architecture Official Website. Saint Petersburg City Administration. Accessed 26 July 2011. <>.

Dayanov, Rafael. Personal interview. 5 July 2011.

Figes, Orlando. Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia. New York: Picador

Greene, David. “St. Petersburg: A Glimpse Of What Russia Is Not.” NPR. 26 Aug. 2010.
Accessed 26 July 2011.

Kuznetsova, Svetlana. Personal interview. 12 July 2011.

Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg ZAKS. “The MP is Looking for Owners of the
‘Marine Facade.’” 13 April 2011. Accessed 26 July 2011.

Marine Façade Management Company. Marine Façade Management Company.
Accessed 27 April, 2011 <>.

Marine Port St. Petersburg. 2006. Accessed 26 July 2011.

Medvedev, Alexander and Nadezhda Zaitseva. “Deputies Think that the ‘Marine
Façade’ is Environmentally Friendly.” Nevastroika: Petersburg of the Future.
26 Sep. 2005. Accessed 26 July 2011. <>

Mitiurev, Yurii. Personal interview. 19 July 2011.

Rabotnova, Victoria. “Behind the Façade of the “Marine Façade”: the Interests of the
Residents Are Not Included.” “Guarantor” Center for Legal Services. Accessed
26 July 2011. <>

Residents of House no. 15/17 of Morskoy Naberezhnaya. “Statement on the effects
of construction on neighbors’ quality of living.” ZOF Website. NGO ZOV
“Vasilievsky Island Residents Against the Western High Speed Diameter,
Passenger Terminal, and Alluvial Areas.” Accessed 26 July 2011.

Reznik, Maxim. Personal interview. 14 July 2011.

Saint Petersburg Encyclopaedia. Alexander Margolis. The Likhachev Foundation.
Accessed 26 July 2011. <>.

Sharagina, Tatiana. Personal interview. 22 July 2011.

Shimberg, Alexander. Personal interview. 11 July 2011.

“St. Petersburg Youth League Has Stood Up For the Ecology of the Gulf of Finland.”
Russian People’s Democratic Union. 12 May 2010. Accessed 26 July 2011.

Teplouhov, Andrei. “On the Gulf of Finland, NGO Activists of Vasilevsky Island
Believe That the Western High Speed Diameter Will Reduce the Cost of Their
Property.” St. Petersburg Building. 31 January 2007. Accessed 26 July 2011. <>.

ZOV. “Petition to Governor Matvienko and the Legislative Assembly.” ZOF Website.
NGO ZOV “Vasilievsky Island Residents Against the Western High Speed
Diameter, Passenger Terminal, and Alluvial Areas.” Accessed 26 July 2011.
ALkJrhiUZtGL3-771sTV3FVP8FSxxoglsA >.

Back to Sophie Kosar’s research paper