Crime and Punishment, Russian Style

Raskolnikov and the Money-lender

The Moscow Times reports:

The opening of a Moscow metro station dedicated to 19th-century writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, notorious for the gloomy atmosphere of his novels, has been postponed indefinitely amid a flap over its violent murals.

One marble mural in the Dostoyevskaya station, which was to open Saturday on the north end of the Light Green Line, depicts a young man killing two women with an ax, while another shows a man holding a gun to his temple.

Pictures of the murals, which illustrate the plots of Dostoevsky’s novels and are made from black and gray marble, have ignited a storm of controversy after first being posted on a LiveJournal blog on April 29.

“There have been observations that the murals are too gloomy and aggressive,” a Moscow metro official said Thursday, explaining the decision to delay the station’s opening, RIA-Novosti reported.

A leading Moscow psychologist, Mikhail Vinogradov, warned that the murals could make the station a popular place to commit suicide, Rosbalt reported.

Bloggers, commenting on the LiveJournal pictures, have called them “grim” and “suicidal.”

The ax-wielding scene is a nod to Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment,” which tells about student Rodion Raskolnikov who is in dire need of money and kills a pawnbroker and her sister with an ax.

In the novel, Dostoevsky debates whether a murder can be justified if it is committed for the good of many people.

Saturday’s opening of the Dostoyevskaya station had been planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Moscow metro. The opening was previously postponed last year.

Another station, Marina Roshcha, next to Dostoyevskaya, was also supposed to open Saturday but was also indefinitely postponed for unclear reasons, RIA-Novosti reported.

4 responses to “Crime and Punishment, Russian Style

  1. Are the Russian people turning the corner. They may have limits afterall.

  2. I personally found the murals rather funny, imho the authors attempted at black humour. It reminds me of an old sketch in which Raskolikov is being tried for killing an old lady for 20 kopeks and the judge asks him with incredulity why he hacked a nice old lady to death for a mere twenty kopeks, to which Raskolnikov replies,’Can’t you do the maths, your honour, 5 old ladies would have fetched me a whole rouble’
    Saying that the new station will become a popular suicide venue is preposterous; suicide is a serious act usually committed by desperate people and those murals would turn it into a farce.

    • You don’t seem to be aware that Russia is in the top 3 nations in the entire world for suicide:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

      Russia’s suicide rate is nearly TRIPLE that of the United States.

      That means ANY issue involving it is very serious, and if you are right that the authors are attempting black humor over such an issue it is foolhardy and outrageous.

      Russian lack of basic morality, leading to the country being ranked among the most corrupt on the planet, is clearly in evidence from your comment.

      • What is basic morality anyway? It’s a philosophical question. If anything I think Russia’s already serious enough as it is and it would do us good to lighten up a bit.
        The fact that Russia has triple the suicide rate of that in the US simply shows that Russian people are more disillusion and more in touch with reality, so we know it stinks and living with the knowledge that life sucks is no easy task so a higher percentage of people are opting to leave the gig than in the US where a lot of the population are still naive enough to buy into religion, the American dream, democracy and what not.
        OTOH, if you’re disillusioned about life, the universe and everything, humour and often black humour specifically provides the only release for your pent up frustrations; it’s not like you can go to church and take the whole thing seriously.

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