Next in our series about Russian culture since Perestroika and the next best thing to actually being in St Petersburg. Lev Lurie, St Petersburg's favourite media historian, cultural commentator and campaigner, tells the story of Leningrad re-becoming St Petersburg in the 1980s with his trademark charm, wit and erudition. How has Russia's 'cultural capital' evolved since Perestroika?
At the time of Perestroika the city was still called Leningrad: the original name was reassigned to it only in 1991. What did the change imply? Was it just a different signpost or did it bring tangible change to life in the city? In Soviet days Leningrad was called 'a capital city with a provincial fate'. Has the city really turned back into St. Petersburg or is it, in fact, still Leningrad?
'Perestroika: from Leningrad to St. Petersburg. Leningrad as Leningrad and Leningrad as St. Petersburg. Perestroika spilling out onto the street: Delvig's house, the Hotel Angleterre, 'informal gatherings', the Perestroika Club. Glasnost and the Leningrad media. The city authorities and democracy. Lensoviet and Anatoly Sobchak. The original accumulation of capital: 'bandits' and their genesis.'
Lev Lurie is a journalist and historian. Awards: "Golden Pen" (Journalist of the Year); the Antsiferov Award for his works on the history of St Petersburg; multiple awards for his television programmes. Author of ten books about Russian and St Petersburg history. Author of dozens of television films, including "Crime Art Nouveau-Style", "1956 - Middle of the Century", "Leningrad Front", "Dangerous Leningrad". He hosts the weekly TV programme "Cultural Layer".
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