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Photographer's Note

Learning about Russia and Perm through photography... episode 3!

This picture was taken in the house of Nicolai Vasilyevich Meshkov, a 19th century Russian patron of the arts. Since the end of 2007 the house has played host to the Perm Museum of Regional Studies.

I'm sure we are all familiar with this kind of idealised museum installation, which glamourises the past and constructs a view of history that is at odds with the lived experience. I couldn't work out whether it was an honest attempt to recreate a living room from the 1960's in order to evoke feelings of nostalgia, or whether it was an advertisement by the Russian state, saying "look how lucky you are, this is the standard of living you have been given by your government and leaders". That's my fault since I couldn't read the signs in Russian, so my comments are reflective impressions that probably reveal some kind of prejudice on my part.

I say this though, because throughout the sixties Khrushchyovka (low cost, multi- storey, pre-fabricated concrete housing, so called because of Nikita Khrushchev's involvement in their development to overcome the chronic housing shortage of the time) were being erected in Moscow (but are also evident in Perm). Such an image could have been taken straight from a brochure about them at the time. Or, created to show the paternalism of the state under Khrushchev's guidance in order to create some kind of socio-political hegemony. Who knows?

I just imagine that this, ironically Westernised, aspirational, consumer type standard of living at the time, may well have been beyond most people. Also, it seems a bit too pre- perestroika and glasnost. Or is that my individual, ethnocentric, Western view of things based on my ignorance of Russia and its history? It's possible.

Enjoy.

pajaran, BennyV, jhm, danos, ikeharel, holmertz, emka, lousat marcou esta nota como útil

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Additional Photos by Michael Wright (mjw364) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 630 W: 7 N: 391] (1466)
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