|Statues of Lenin, Stalin and Marx were on practically every corner of every town in the former Soviet Union. Many signs of the communist time are still scattered all over Moscow. Revolutionary museums should be considered with some skepticism, particularly if you are pressed for time, but many Moscovites consider them part of their history. It’s kind of ironic that the Karl Marx statue is in front of what today is the pillar of capitalist luxury hotels – the Metropol. Since 1976 Frederich Engels has stood just in front of the rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Savior.|
|Visiting Moscow – Former Communist Capital|
|Red Square is the epicenter of Russia. It has always had a peculiar fascination. Red Square witnessed many popular spectacles all through Russian history, like trading markets, workers’ festivals, revolution events and military parades, when communist leaders stood atop the Lenin Mausoleum. In the Mausoleum Lenin’s body lies on a pedestal surrounded by an artificial mystical darkness. In 1993 more than 100,000 people packed Red Square when cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovitch led the National Symphony Orchesrtra in an outdoor performance of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, complete with cannon fire and the Kremlin bells ringing. Nowadays Red Square can also offer you, upon special request, a meeting with lookalike communist leaders: Stalin, Lenin and Brezhnev.
Another prestigious Moscow necropolis is the Novodevitchi Cemetery. Located next to Novodevitchi (New-Maiden) Convent, the Cemetery contains the remains of many Russian writers, artists and politicians, among them composers Alexandre Scriabin, Sergey Prokofiev and Dmitry Shostakovitch, poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, Stalin’s second wife and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.
In front of Gorki Park since the time of the last putsch has been situated an open-air museum, also called Park of the Arts. More than 700 exhibits of contemporary Russian and famed Soviet sculptures (Vuchetich, Mukhina, etc.) are shown there. This museum is home to many monuments removed in the ’90s, such as the one to Dzerzhinsky from Lubyanka Square.
Other symbols of the communist time are the so-called “Stalin’s Wedding Cakes.” In 1947 Stalin decided to decorate Moscow with eight skyrises positioned around the megalomaniacal Palace of the Soviet. Stalin ordered them built to showcase the Soviet Union’s architectural abilities. Fortunately for posterity, the Palace was never realized, but the other seven buildings did materialize. They are sometimes called the Seven Sisters.
We would like to introduce you to a new way of visiting Moscow, former communist capital, which will help you to understand better how events are developing now through the past.
|The KGB Museum|
|Centrally located northeast of the Kremlin near Lubyanka Square and former KGB headquarters, this museum was originally opened for KGB officers in 1984, in 1991 for Russians and two years later for foreigners. The museum contains items revealing strictly confidential (for the Soviet time) information about the past and present of the Soviet Secret Service and telling the true stories of the legendary spies. It presents the unique opportunity to find yourself in the Headquarters of the “Evil Empire” and to be shown around by a KGB officer in “flesh and blood.”|
|The Tretyakov Gallery Affiliate|
|Located southeast of the Kremlin on the Garden Ring Street and next to the Moskva River, the Gallery exhibits Soviet and post-Soviet art. The exposition is called “Art of the 20th Century” and contains Russian art from the avant-garde of the 1910s-20s up to the “new wave” of 1960s-80s.|
|Visiting Moscow Metro|
|The metro in Moscow was created as an architectural complex of monumental structures. The stations built in the 1930s-60s are real underground palaces: statues, frescoes, mosaics, stained-glass windows. Every station has an artistic appearance of its own: Belorusskaya station is decorated with beige-colored marble from Siberia, Kievskaya glorifies the achievements of the Ukraine with mosaic scenes in a typically Stalinist fashion, Komsomolskaya is believed to be the most handsome metro station in Moscow. Its design won the Grand Prix in Brussels, as well as the first prize at the New York International Exposition, both in 1958. Mayakovskaya, simple, spacious and elegant, is bejeweled with the same Ural stone used by Faberge. On November 6, 1941, Stalin spoke to the Supreme Soviet inside this station, while the Germans advanced within a few miles of Moscow.|
|The Museum of the Revolution|
|Located in front of Pushkin Square, its red building dates from 1780, when it was constructed for Count Razumovsky. In 1831 it became the English Club. The two funny-looking lions at the entrance were immortalized by Alexander Pushkin in his poem “Yevgeny Onegin.” The last great event at the Club was a costume ball for Nicholas II in 1913 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Romanov rule. It was turned into the Museum of the Revolution in 1923. The museum has a million exhibits related to the struggle in the 1917 Revolution, and articles and portraits of Lenin and Stalin. In the courtyard you will pass a burned-out trolleybus that was used as a barricade at the Russian White House in 1991.|