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Dead Russians: St Petersburg’s Czar Tombs

Church of the Blood, St Petersburg

Although you don’t often think of Russia as part of Europe, a walk in St Petersburg convinces you that, unlike Moscow, this is a city that looks more like Paris than Tehran. I mean look to your left! Then you go to the various cemeteries and you’re surprised at how many dead Russians you recognize. […]

Dead Russians: St Petersburg Composers & Writers

Borodin's grave and a musical phrase from Prince Igor

In another post, I claim that Russia before the Bolsheviks was much more European than we give it credit for. Its continued isolation in the 21st century, much of it self-inflicted, impoverishes us all. Nothing spells out Russia’s culture more starkly than the long litany of its famous dead. In St Petersburg you find buried […]

In the steps of Raskolnikoff: Crime and Punishment Locations

Dostoyevsky's apartment block at S-Place where he wrote Crime and Punishment

“On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge.” Thus starts Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky in the rather sterile, but faithful, Constance Garnett translation. The names of the streets […]