The view from Lubyanka Square, Moscow

‘Meanwhile, in the Lubyanka of Farringdon Road ….’ screams fellow blogger Jessica Duchen as she throws a tantrum about a Guardian article that questions the mono-culture of classical music. (For those of you over the water the editorial offices of the Guardian are in Farringdon Road, London).

Now, we all have our own views on the different media. For me the Independent, which Jessica contributes to, regularly appears ridiculous with sensational headlines about global warming juxtaposed with salivating reviews of gas-guzzling super-cars. While, over at the Guardian, the acres of public sector-speak are not always to my taste. And back with blogs I am sure On An Overgrown Path is not everyone’s cup of tea. Just as for me Jessica’s is one of several blogs currently in the ‘if I read another word about the new book or the cat I will scream’ category.

But, although I may have reservations about the views of the Independent, Guardian and Jessica, I will fight tooth and nail to allow them to express those views. I'm all in favour of colourful headlines, but let's understand what that Lubyanka simile actually means.

The Lubyanka is the popular name for the former headquarters of the KGB and the adjacent prison in Lubyanka Square, Moscow, seen in my header photo. The prison in the ground floor of the building is immortalised in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s study of the Soviet police state, The Gulag Archipelago. It was in this prison that Raoul Wallenberg, Father Walter Ciszek, and many others were interrogated and tortured as they were denied that fundamental human right - their freedom of expression.

Now read Shostakovich’s persecutor finally speaking out.
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Jessica said…
Well said, Pliable. I love your blog, and totally agree with you even when I totally disagree with you, if you get my drift.
Jessica said…
And if you think my 4-line post constituted a tantrum, you should have seen the first draft. ;-)
Pliable said…
Jessica, very graciously put, thank you.

The arts are about controversy, and as Michel de Montaigne said: There's no conversation more boring than the one where everyone agrees.
An amusing detail about Lubyanka Square is that not only the former KGB (now FSB) HQ was there, but also Moscow's largest toy store, Detskii Mir ("A Children's World"). And the Mayakovskii House-Museum is a few steps from there, too.

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