I sometimes think that Russia just sits around thinking, “Is there any way we can be just a little more grim today?” According to NPR’s Morning Edition, a subway mural project is stirring up some controversy:
The Dostoevskaya station — which opened this summer in memory of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky — met a fair share of opposition when psychologists expressed concern that dark murals of the violent scenes from Dostoevsky’s books could put riders in gloomy moods — or, worse, even encourage suicidal impulses.
Pshaw. If I had a long commute in a cold and wretched land, I think this is exactly the way I’d like to begin and end my day:
(photo source: larussophobe.wordpress.com)
And of course who wouldn’t like to grab a moment during lunch with a nice warm little blini, keeping company with this:
(photo source: clickable.blogspot.com)
In the immortal words of Otis B. Driftwood, “Boogie boogie boogie!“
According to the NPR story,
Mikhail Vinogradov, who heads a psychological help center in Moscow, went on Russian TV to complain that the murals will make people “afraid to ride the subway.” Like other psychologists who raised concerns in Russia and abroad, Vinogradov says gripping images can induce violent behavior — and a subway station is the last place for that.
“There will be suicides more often,” he says. “I can’t rule out people will commit murders or attacks.”
They might consider lightening up the mood with a few vodka kiosks. Maybe some noose or axe vending machines?
In college, I was once stranded for 24 hours in a foreign airport with no money, nothing to eat but a small orange, and nothing to read but The Idiot. I read the whole book. From that experience, I learned that there is a time and a place for Dostoevsky. Specifically, a time when you need to have your insides pulled out in a shimmering ecstasy of agonizing catharsis. And a place . . . I don’t know, anywhere but the subway.