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Peter and Gavrik Monument


Peter and Gavrik Monument

Peter and Gavrik Monument
Vereigh Holodnoy Ploshat (square) (Веры Холодной Площадь)
In this small shaded park, just South of Cathedral Park/Square (Sobornaya Ploshat (Соборная Площадь)) is a charming monument of a two boys, sitting back to back.

The children are Peter (Petya) and Gavrik (Петя и Гаврик), two children from a famous Russian children's novel, "Lonely White Sail" or "A White Sail Gleams" (Белеет Парус одинокий) by Valentin Katayev (also spelled Kataev, Катаев in Russian) in 1936. The book was the basis of a classic Soviet film.

Katayev began writing short stories in 1916. He served in the Red Army until 1920, when he became a journalist in Odessa. He is the older brother of Yevgeny Petrov, the co-author of "12 chairs" (See the box "The Soviet famous "12 chairs" novel and movie")

The book is an intriguing mix of realism and expressionism, telling the story of two boys caught up in the 1905 revolution. Peter is middle-class, Gavrik a street orphan, both faced with the dilemma of what to do with a sailor on the run from the Battleship Potemkin mutiny - the revolt, pogroms and repression going on around them.

The dialogue is full of edge and humor, the tone of the scenes switches beautifully from tension to melancholy and the relationship between the two boys is full of anxiety.

What makes this monument so charming and unique is that it was sculptured during the Soviet Union but has none of the totalitarian spirit of many of the impersonal, mammoth structures built in the same period.

(To see a typical example of Soviet era structures, see the Lenin Statue in Kulikovo Pole Square, the communist worker flanking the East wall for the "Heroes of the USSR", or the four statues above the entrance of the Refrigeration Academy).

(The full English translation of the book can be found for free as a text file at lib.ru/PROZA/KATAEW/katayev_beleet_parus_odinoki_engl.txt and as a 2.02 MB zip file at home.freeuk.com/russica4/, dozens of other Russian books are available on this site)

(Valentin Katayev's home is at Bazarnaya 4, today there is a memorial plaque)

Memorial Plaque
Preobrazhenskaya 44 (Преображенская)
In January 1920 police tortured to death a group of communists in this police station. There is a memorial plaque on this building in remembrance.

Tiraspolskaya Square (Тираспольская Площадь)