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Archive for February, 2011

Russian ballet

First brought to Russia under Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich in the 17th century, ballet in Russia evolved as an offshoot of French dance combined with Russian folk and peasant dance techniques. It stunned Western Europeans when it was first taken on tour during the 19th century.
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Post-war literature

Akhmatova, partly as a reward for her cooperation in the war effort, was allowed to publish again after the war and remained the great name in St Petersburg letters. More cautious this time after the misery of her son’s constant arrest and imprisonment during the 1930s, Akhmatova worked mainly in secret on her masterpieces Requiem and Poem Without a Hero.
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Revolutionary literature

The immediate aftermath of 1917 saw a huge creative upswing in Russia – writers inspired by the revolution produced work of unprecedented brilliance. However, this was very temporary, the Bolsheviks being no connoisseurs of culture and not appreciating literature unless it was directly supporting
the communist movement.
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The Silver Age

The late 19th century saw the rise of the symbolist movement in the Russian arts world. The outstanding figures of this time were the novelists Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900), Andrei Bely (1880-1934) and Alexander Blok (1880-1921) as well as the poets Sergei Yesenin, Lev Gumilev and Anna Akhmatova.
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Fyodor Dostoevsky

No other figure in world literature is more closely connected with Russia – and St Petersburg – than Fyodor Dostoevsky. He was among the first writers to navigate the murky, uninvestigated waters of the human subconscious, blending powerful prose with psychology, philosophy and spirituality.
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19th-century literature

National bard Alexander Pushkin lived all over town, although most famously at his last address on the Moyka River which is now a suitably hagiographic museum to him, its interior preserved exactly as it was at the moment of his death in 1837.
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St Petersburg in 1990s

Alter a popular vote in 1991, the citizens of Leningrad overwhelmingly endorsed Mayor Sobchak’s plan to change the city’s name for the fourth time in the 20th century, this time kick to the original St Petersburg.
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Gorbachev’s programme of reform that followed the death of Chernenko in 1985 resulted In the dissolution of the USSR within six years. A committed communist, Gorbachev’s intentions were never to bring down the Soviet Union, but he believed that democracy and communism could coexist.
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Often referred to as the restalinisation of the Soviet Union, a coup against Khrushchev in 1964 brought Leonid Brezhnev to power. Brezhnev quickly ended the thaw by exiling a number of the USSR’s most famous writers including Brodsky and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
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Post-war Leningrad

In true St Petersburg style, Leningrad residents immediately began the hard tasks of rebuilding the city, clearing rubble and of course, burying the dead. With over a million dead, mainly buried in mass graves in what is now the Piskaryovskoe Cemetery, there was a severe need for the city to be repopulated.
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