Monday, March 30, 2020

Eastern Europe 1990: A March Day in Moscow

March 21, 1990 began with an overcast sky. After breakfast we went to the GUM, which turned out to be closed, so we signed up for the Kremlin tour, which included a walk around the grounds and into two of the six ancient Russian Orthodox cathedrals inside the formidable walls of the fort which is the seat of the Russian government.

The golden domes of the Cathedral of the Annunciation.
Completed in 1489,it is one of six churches inside the Kremlin walls.

That government, by the way, was officially atheist; nevertheless, the churches and cathedrals are magnificently preserved as museums of Russian art and history. As part of our tour we were able to enter the Cathedral of the Assumption, completed in 1479, and the Cathedral of Michael the Archangel, completed in 1508. Both were filled with priceless works of religious art. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to photograph inside the churches.

GUM. the state-operated department store,
is across Red Square from the Kremlin.

After the tour we went across Red Square to the GUM, where a line of people wound around the building. Louise had been hoping to buy a Russian fur hat, so she got in line while I photographed my way back to the hotel. Unfortunately, she got there before I did -- she had been kicked out of the line at the door because she did not have the proper pass.

She never did get that hat.

By this time, it was 2:30 and the sky had cleared a bit. Louise decided to take a nap, so I took off on foot for the Arpatskaya, which I walked both ways looking for faces and interactions. The street was thronged with people enjoying the uncharacteristically fine March afternoon.
People enjoying a warm Mid-March
afternoon in the Arpatskaya.
As always, many young Russians found the
Arpatskaya a great place to hang out.

This Seventh-Day Adventist lady had posted the
Ten Commandments and was speaking to a small crowd.
When I came back a little later, two members of the
militia were politely closing her down. Maybe not as
much freedom of speech in the Arpat as Paul thought.

These two young women, obviously friends, were
together in the Arpat. One looked as if she had just arrived
on the latest flight from Paris; the other, with a perfect
Slavic face, was dressed in the latest Soviet Worker chic.
Go figure.


The young woman on the left was watching a street
artist create a pencil portrait of the woman seated
on the right. When she saw me, she smiled and signed
that I should pay her for making her picture!

(Photographs made with Olympus OM cameras and lenses. I used the Tamron 100-300mm f4 zoom lens on an Olympus OM2s camera for the portraits. Fujichrome 100D and 400D films.) 

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