July 24, 2021

An Architectural Crime; or, Shedquarters


An Architectural Crime; or, Shedquarters
Like something out of Gogol. The Russian-flag balloons don't help. Vologda police department

Bureaucratic officiousness is a reliable source of amusement in Russia (just read one of our favorite authors). The latest episode out of the town of Semenkovo, Vologda region, is merely one more drop in an already full bucket.

Earlier this month, village authorities opened a new police station in the center of town with a good deal of (carefully masked) ceremony. However, the solemnity of the occasion did not meet the quality of construction: the station appears to be in the form of a small, spartan, common, construction shed on a dirt lot.

Town politicians were quick to tout the design as "modular" and "modern," arguing that the conditions inside this office were much more comfortable than in the previous one. They failed to elaborate exactly what the previous building was like.

Don't worry, though: local authorities were sure to bless the new station with a priest.

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This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
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Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

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