A capital joke. Like 100 years ago in Moscow and St Petersburg are reversed

At the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow. 1918. © /

RIA Novosti

Event, it would seem, purely political move dependent, the survival of the state. But the question is acquired and the value of cultural and symbolic. Touched everyone. We spoke with Solomon Volkov, a famous cultural scientist, author of “the history of culture of Saint-Petersburg”, translated into 15 languages and is now preparing for the publication of his new book about the history of culture of Moscow.

Igor Vyrubov, AIF: we Have a big election coming up — and one of the presidential candidates in the TV was a dream: it would be nice to periodically transfer the capital of the country here and there. In the 90s, remember, there was talk not to return in Petersburg? Folly, the conditions — what if? In your opinion, is this possible?

— You can not say rashly. From time to time to float such ideas, saying that Moscow is too fat, but Russia is big, it is necessary to share and so on — but why don’t we move somewhere we the capital. Is it possible? To make the story in advance is meaningless. By the end of the nineteenth century it seemed that the capital will not be back in Moscow ever, But the story played differently, per night. Denis Diderot once said that it is very unwise to put the heart of the state on the tip of your finger. This became evident when in 1918 the Germans moved to Petrograd, — why all the leadership and moved to Moscow. Moreover, Lenin with anyone, this idea is not discussed, it all of a sudden decisively and quickly. This was the genius of his policy on the situation instantly, he changed his point of view, instantly carried out. But the story of the hasty transfer of the capital largely remains Terra Incognita.

Calendar revolution. As the the Bolsheviks introduced the Gregorian calendar

— In what way is it vague?

— The move on March 11, when the train with Lenin and the members of the government arrived at the Nicholas station, and the next day was declared the new capital of the proletarian state — in the rush of secrecy. There is a curious detail. On the eve of the famous appeal “the Socialist Fatherland is in danger!”. There is Still a debate who the real author of the proclamation: Lenin or Trotsky? There is speculation that the text was written by Trotsky. In any case, it was approved by Lenin — that in itself is the extraordinary fact: the word “Fatherland” in the lexicon of Lenin before was completely absent. He never was, relatively speaking, a “patriot”, even less “nationalist”. Focused on class international fraternity: the proletarians, and even, say, the progressive intellectuals. So the use of the term “Fatherland” in itself marked a sharp turn. In the face of danger is a classic politician, Lenin appealed to a very different strings of soul of the population — the same Stalin (which has absolutely other ideology) used in the famous speech of 3 July 1941, referring to “brothers and sisters”.

The Kremlin, which came to a young government, not yet cleared after the revolutionary war. In these unsanitary conditions to work?

— A very dark history with the bombing of the Kremlin during the revolutionary fights. Week fired. Among historians there is still no clear answer — who can authorize such a bombing, the destruction of the national Shrine. Even the people’s Commissar Lunacharsky resigned in protest — but, as he later wrote in his memoirs, Lenin shouted at him, quote: “How can you give the value of one or another old building — though it is good — when it comes to opening the doors to such public system, which is able to create beauty, infinitely surpassing everything that could only dream of in the past!”. That is, the Kremlin — nonsense and ugh, we create a hundred times better, and you do not bother us, you old fool. Lunacharsky took the statement.

E-mail the nineteenth century. As Moscow and St. Petersburg joined the Telegraph

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But it’s in St. Petersburg. As soon As he moved and sat down in the Kremlin — Vladimir Ilyich immediately ordered all immediately repaired. Delay the repair? Yeah, Lenin threatened: “to find the culprit in the incredible delay”. All repaired immediately, in a few days. Well, the eternal Russian story.

— No one says why-that “Lenin’s Moscow”. And the term “Stalin’s Moscow” has been preserved. Why is this so?

— To seriously change capital has become like this. The Builder of the new Imperial Moscow was Stalin. Despite the fact that his attitude towards Moscow cannot be called sentimental: it was ambivalent and changed frequently. Remember, when Moscow received the title of “hero city”? That’s very interesting. Immediately after the great Patriotic war “hero cities” announced four cities: Leningrad, Stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa. And no Moscow — Stalin was angry for the events of the 41st, when the city was panic, declared a state of emergency. Moscow has appropriated the title of hero in 1965, is the other leaders, when and Kiev, and all were given titles. Stalin this was not going to do.

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Nevertheless his name is associated with the General reconstruction plan, adopted in 1935. This master plan formed the “Stalin’s Moscow” remained, until recently, its core. A giant Palace of Soviets built did not, the war intervened, but Stalin was important to turn Moscow into a truly Imperial capital. Not one of the Soviet Union — the capital of the world. Underground, the channel Moscow-Volga (later “the name of Moscow”), the famous “skyscrapers” and even Lenin’s mausoleum (also Stalin’s idea, in spite of Krupskaya) — all Central elements of the new Imperial Moscow.

— “Capital of the world” — it’s almost “Moscow — the third Rome” (a fourth will not happen)?

— Now, by the way, I forget: since the 30-ies, started on a pilgrimage to Moscow luminaries of European and even American culture. Came Upton Sinclair from America, Bernard Shaw, from England, Rabindranath Tagore, Feuchtwanger, Brecht — all of the stars as the pilgrims. I am always amazed Feuchtwanger”s book “Moscow, 1937”: skeptical German-Jewish intellectual, nothing accepted on faith, everything is subjected to doubt — suddenly says, totally popav under the spell of Stalin. You can call the artist “blind” — but that clearly doesn’t explain everything.

— And after the war were still and Aragon, and Sartre. Strange thing: Khrushchev somehow not inspired — and after a history of parsnips, and they did sad. Still, it is not customary even to think: why did Stalinist Moscow seemed to Western artists attractive?

— Stalin played with the idea of the Moscow Hollywood, sent Eisenstein to America, saying that we need to learn from the Americans businesslike — his remarks completely forgot. And what is it for Stalin? He formed the image of Moscow as the centre of European resistance to fascism — this was important to visiting intellectuals: here is a real, active, convinced, unbribable resistance to fascism.

And for the second time, the idea of Moscow as capitals of the world sounded already after the 45th — backed by real power. Once Stalin started talking about the Pope and his influence, he asked: and how many divisions?

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— The good must be with fists?

— Of course. After the war, Stalin was the USSR occupied 1/6 of the world, China became an ally, there were countries of “people’s democracy”. In addition, we forget: in postwar Italy and France the Communists had a real chance to come to power through elections — they were popular because they were the main force of the anti-fascist Resistance during the war.

— And what have turned out to be the post-war discussion of a “new teaching on language”, which summed up Stalin’s book “Marxism and linguistics”? How is it connected with the idea of “capital of the world”?

— So often argue that the country was in ruins, and “that jerk” at the most inopportune time engaged in the questions of linguistics. But Stalin was convinced that the Russian language will become a world language, he was the one who put the Marxist theoretical lining. The idea of “capital of the world” it had a direct relationship. Forward looking, as they say. He had his own political logic.

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— By the way, long before the Bolsheviks the, nearly two hundred years, the capital tried to return from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The grandson of Peter the great — Peter the Second de facto moved it in 1727. Moscow (Boyarsky) “party” Dolgoruky then pulled the rug out from St. Petersburg “party” Chain. It is not that the young monarch soon died and yet again outplayed. It’s not some intrigue. The choice of the capital, among other things, the question was ideological.

Yes, this story is completely wedged into the tapestry of your life. The debate about Moscow and St. Petersburg, fueled by the entire nineteenth century: Gogol, Pushkin, Herzen, Nekrasov — all in favor for this reason.

— If you believe the criticism of Belinsky, Vissarion the furious, “each of the capitals is better than another, each one worse than the other”. Much said without reproach.

— Petersburg and Moscow for a long time are not interchanged. Everyone knew: there is a symbol of the Westernization — there ancestral town, the Keeper of the Russian national idea. Although today it is easy to confuse: a symbol of Westernization, rather, it is now Moscow — Petersburg took just the position of Keeper of Russian cultural identity.

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— Well, — the cultural capital, after all.

— Well, Yes. And the “gang capital” — more recently too. As for the culture — that’s an interesting point. What got Stalin inherited from pre-revolutionary Moscow? He went to merchant culture. All the great culture built by Moscow merchants. Starting with Tretyakov, who bought only the Peredvizhniki and the Impressionists never really complained, up to Shchukin, who bought in the Paris of Matisse and Picasso, which the French art dealers did not recognize. Mamontov Private Opera, competing with a Large. The collection Bakhrushin formed the basis of the Bakhrushin Museum of theatrical history. Finally, the Moscow art theater, Art theatre, created Kupchina Alekseev, who took the stage name Stanislavsky. About him, of course, was legendary that he is absent-minded, not of this world, confuses the GPU with a Gum, a “gated dispenser” refers to “secret vydavatel” — but it perfectly fit into the new conditions and even rebuilt his factory from zolotarenkoi in the cable. All these people both before and after the revolution passed on their collections to the state. In turn, Lenin, followed by Stalin, they were not arrested, all were given large state pensions, left in their collections the curators, caretakers. These people obviously need to put not one monument in Moscow.

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Today museums in Moscow, maybe a little less, than in Petersburg, but millionaires much more. Charity, patronage involved, even the museums open.

Millionaires many — tagg no. I’m talking about the layer of merchants of the titans, which was not just artistic flair but also the national vision. Looked in a historical perspective and the current oligarchs decide their narrow and often short-term tasks. It’s not about proektika for a year or two — about the project the global, at all times. Like the Tretyakov gallery and the Moscow art theatre.

— You talked about the reconstruction of Moscow of the last century. Now, apparently, Moscow has a new master plan. The capital rebuild is quite revolutionary. Many people here are worried — why so fast?

— Renovation. Even though I have been living in new York, it’s hard not to see in these plans an obvious desire for humanization of Moscow. When I say that this is “undemocratic” — from afar responsibly assure you: in Paris, in the same new York city such a global reconstruction always performed not too democratic. And the result? Judge him next generations. I can only wish that come true what in 1916, on the eve of all great upheavals, great said Marina Tsvetaeva. She has poems that begin this verse:

Moscow! It’s really huge.
Everyone in Russia is the homeless.
We all will come to you.

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