SKETCHES FROM MOSCOW: A CITY WITH A MISSION
Maria Volkova & Nina Solovieva
“You cannot love an impersonal city. However correct facial features might be, to love it, there must be some personality – an individuality, an uncommon expression.”
Red Square, by Vasilii Kandinsky, 1917.
Moscow first appeared in the annals of history in the XII century. It was an age dominated by the Mongol invasion and the jostling for power among the different polities that would constitute a unified Russia. Later on, the transfer of the Russian Orthodox Church’s see to Moscow in 1325 and the fall of Constantinople in 1453 conferred upon the city the un-official status of a Third Rome. It was also becoming the capital of Tsarist Russia and its expanding Empire. Nation- building and messianic ambitions went, therefore, hand in hand since its origins. The interregnum motivated by the founding of Saint Petersburg and its conversion into the Russian capital in 1712 by Peter the Great ended as soon as the Bolshevists decided to give back to Moscow its prominent position in 1918, this time as the epicenter of the new Soviet state and a worldwide Revolution. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Russian Federation, Moscow has retained its national preeminence and it is positioning itself as a major cosmopolitan metropolis.
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