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Limonov Files September 7, 2007
Happy Fucking Birthday Moscow, You Ugly Hag!
By Edward Limonov Browse author

So it is Moscow's birthday, supposedly 860 years old. First of all, Moscow is younger than she pretends to be. Of course, it is vanity that pushes this huge middle-aged "tiotka" (hag) to lie about her age - she wants to be admitted to the respected high-class club of ancient cities. To be in one crowd with such old gentlemen as Signor Rome, Sir London and Monsieur Paris, and such old ladies as Madame Athens.

In reality Moscow was born not in 1147, but much later, in 1382, when Dmitry Donskoi built the Kremlin fortress after his victory over Khan Mamai on Kulikov Field. So, Moscow is faking her years, pretending to be older because she suffers from an inferiority complex.

Russians have had always suffered from an inferiority complex, living on the outskirts of the civilized world. They felt inferior in their geographical position on the globe, as well as in their position on the stairwell of history.

For most of its history, Moscow was a stinking medieval city, crowded around the Kremlin fortress. It was wooden, small, archaical, conservative and reactionary. It was a seat of the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, the most reactionary Christian Church on whole globe. It was a nest for all sorts of intrigues, the seat for tragedies, cruel killings, not only those done by Ivan the Terrible. As well as a witness to many uprisings and invasions: The khans of Crimea, Tatar's armies, Polish adventurers, all of whom passed through old tiotka's streets.

Finally, Tsar Peter the Great have built city of Saint Petersburg in 1703 on the swamps of Ingermanland taken from Sweden. In 1712, Saint Petersburg was declared capital of Russia. Tiotka Moscow was frozen in its medieval backwater form for next two centuries. No buildings of importance were built, ministries and ambassadors all were transferred to Saint Petersburg as well as all important activities of Russia, including its trade and finance. Moscow was destined to become forgotten, just as were forgotten her ancient rivals, the cities of Tver or Vladimir or Novgorod.

But Moscow was saved from oblivion by the Tsar Nicholas I, who ordered to build first railroad in Russia, joining by rails the ancient capital with Saint Petersburg. Rail-road connection with capital saved tiotka Moscow from a destiny of becoming just 'dacha' for Petersburg's inhabitants, and museum for the rest of Russia.

Second time in history Moscow was saved was by Germans, in 1918. Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks colleagues were afraid of possible German takeover of Saint Petersburg, so they transferred a capital to Moscow. It was done as a temporary measure, but lasted, as one can see, and will continue to last until new, strong man of Russia will transfer the capital back to Saint Petersburg. Or, otherwise, to a Siberian region (what transfer will give a chance to development of Siberia).

Peter the Great in Moscow: the ugliest monument ever erected by mankind

I'm forced to live in Moscow, but I don't like it. Yes, sometimes it happens like that, one is obliged to live in prison, on the war front, or in the city. Wherever one is most effective. I am working in Moscow. My work are politics. But I don't like Moscow's huge accumulation of barracks, of ugly buildings, of insignificant architecture and their second-hand look. Moscow has no style, that tiotka-hag has not even a mixture of styles as do some cities. She is completely styleless. The only city worst than Moscow is Los Angeles.

If not seven high-rise "visotka" buildings designed and builded by Stalin himself, (among them hotel "Ukraine" and building of Ministry of Foreign Affairs), then Moscow would be even more flat, boring and unsignificant. Of course I am not forgetting the Kremlin, but that lonely fortress stays aside from Moscow's city architectural looks, as if it was build by extraterrestrials. However, Stalin's seven totalitarian beauties and Kremlin monument to medieval imperialism cannot save Moscow from its unsignificant banality. I would live happier probably in Saint Petersburg, but all Russian politics concentrated in Moscow, so I am suffering here, alas!

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The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
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Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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