Cranes along the Neva

A series of prints from my visit to St. Petersburg in July 2012. I had studied Russian literature in 1984, but had not gone to the Soviet Union at the time, so this visit was a chance to make up for a missed opportunity. This view of cranes along the Neva River was what I saw from the kitchen window of the two-room apartment where I stayed in a Soviet-era apartment block on Vassilevsky Island. My hostess, a widow in her mid-sixties, had worked her entire career, along with her husband, as an engineer. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union left her with a very meager pension, so her adult niece lived with her in one room, while boarders like myself made it possible to make ends meet. When asked what she thought of the restoration of capitalism, she said “Capitalism is for capitalists, not for workers. Socialism is what the working class needs.”

Significantly, the date on the ledger paper which I brought back with me and used to print the etchings on is 1985, and would have been the year I would have gone.