the 26th anniversary of the end of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, also known as the August Putsch. 1991 was the dawn of historical changes that would affect Russia and the whole geopolitical system of the world. Although the coup collapsed in only two days and Gorbachev returned to government, the event destabilised the Soviet Union and is widely considered to have contributed to both the demise of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
If you can read Cyrillic, you will already have noticed that the town's name is Gagarin, in honour of the first human to journey into outer space: Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin or simply Yuri Gagarin. The Soviet cosmonaut was born on March 9th, 1934, in the nearby village of Klushino and after his death in 1968 (when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting crashed) the city was renamed in his honour (and I suspect, but that's just my speculation, also because the former name of Gzhatsk - Гжатск - was all but unpronounceable!).
Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture above (picture from Russian Wikipedia, slightly edited), late on Monday, August 7, 2017, the building collapsed. After the first signs of the beginning of the collapse, the local police fenced the perimeter and therefore there has been no injury as a result of the collapse. At 23:45 the roof of the lower section and the southern wall of the semicircular section both collapsed.
After travelling eastbound for four hours from Moscow on the Lastochka, a recorded announcements informs you that "the train is now arriving in the Hero City of Smolensk" and you have reached a lesser known, but incredibly interesting destination. Hero City (Russian: город-герой, gorod-geroy) is a Soviet honorary title awarded for outstanding heroism during World... Continue Reading →
The center of Vladimir, like that of many Russian towns and cities, is graced by a statue of Lenin. As per tradition, the inscription on the statue's base read that the monument is by and for the workers and the farmers. According to both Wikipedia and my direct experience, there is a very, very limited... Continue Reading →