We round the corner of Srednaya Podyacheskaya Street and Ekateringovsky Avenue and come to a grocery store.
A woman in her fifties with a package of groceries in her arms climbs three steps. We wait for it to reach the ground level and, even crushed by the eccentricity of the Russian dialect, we interrogate it in a confused but obstinate way. “Dostoevsky?
? Sun?" (Russian phonetics for home). The lady recruits two other pawns. Dialogue evolves into conference and clogs up the ride. We repeat the sign of the lethal ax, the pivotal moment of the novel.
The last of the interlocutors, distracted or less informed, turns us around. "Raskolnikov or Rasputin?" it asks us with a distinct mimicry of murder. We reiterate Raskolnikov.
We had already walked dozens of kilometers in St. Petersburg. We assumed that one or two more wouldn't make a dent and went the way we'd been led to believe. Fifteen minutes later, without energy, we enter a mini-market and restock our kefir.
We took the opportunity to question employees in the Caucasus. These, more convinced than the previous group, send us back.
We took an alternative route along the Ekaterininsky canal until we caught a glimpse of a guide on a tourist boat pointing to the building next to the grocery store door from which we had departed 40 minutes ago. That outstretched arm proved to be a savior.
We crossed the bridge and found a half-open gate. On the other side of a tunnel full of rubbish bins, we unveil a broad lobby made up of old yellow buildings.
It seemed to fit the descriptions in the novel.
We see a Russian couple who we feel share our demand. They speak English enough: “We are from Volgograd. Portuguese around here? It's amazing how a man who was so despised and mistreated in the Russia thus conquered the world.
Finally, the House of Alyona Ivanovna, the Victim of “Crime and Punishment”
Look, I think we hit the right place. This poem scrawled here on the wall is either by Dostoevsky or dedicated to him, the letters are very much gone. It's already night, we're leaving. Nice to meet you".
We are not satisfied. We ring the bells. Probably fed up with the unannounced visitors, even when they hear the keywords Dostoevsky and Alyona Ivanovna do any of the residents authorize us to enter.
With the persistence of pit bulls literary, we called Alexei Kravchenko – a friend we have in town – we put the cell phone to the intercom and let him resolve the situation.
They open the door for us in three times. We went up to the floor where the pawnbroker must have lived. There, we open the fogged window that illuminates the staircase and recreate the intoxicated view that Raskolnikov had after killing her with an ax.
They still don't answer from the supposed apartment. Thus, we put an end to that first day of investigation and return to the streets of Sennaya, which both the writer and the characters have traveled over and over again.
Fyodor Dostoevsky's Life Shortly Shortened
And yet Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow. Moved to St. Petersburg from alexander pushkin very young, with the duty of graduating from an institute of military engineering.
But, as his colleague Konstantin Tutovsky summed it up, "there was no other student in the academy with a less military attitude than Dostoevsky."
He was interested in philosophy, politics, the books in general. In 1844, he completely abdicated his militia post to devote himself only to writing. In the years that followed, his career remained as shaky as his health, both crippled by recurrent epileptic fits.
During this period, he began a tour of housing in zones other than Peter (a diminutive given by the inhabitants to St. Petersburg), shared with companions such as Belinsky, with whom he fell out for being a believer in Russian religious orthodoxy and his former friend, increasingly atheist.
The worst chapter of her life was to come. Destitute but irreverent, Dostoevsky joined the Petrashevsky socio-Christian circle founded by two other writer friends who called for social reform in Russia.
The interventions of this circle reached the ears of Tsar Nicholas I, who suffered from a paranoid fear of a new revolution suggested by the Decembrist Revolt of 1825.
Not sure how, at age 28, Dostoevsky found himself first imprisoned in Peter and Paul's fortress, months later sentenced to death. At the very moment of his execution, a letter from the tsar revoked the sentence which he replaced by an exile in Siberia, followed by compulsory military service.
From Almost Certain Death to Celebrity
Upon release, Dostoevsky published “House of the Dead Memories” based on his experience in exile. He made his acquaintances in high literary society and obtained the hand of the much wealthier Maria Dmitrievna Isaeva. Despite the couple's incompatibility, fate seemed to smile on her.
Also free from military service due to poor physical condition, he recovered the publication of works. He gathered money for travel in Western Europe where he hastened to disdain capitalism, social modernity, materialism, Catholicism and Protestantism. Addicted to the game, he lost almost all his money in Germany and was inspired to create "The player".
He returned to St. Petersburg and remarried a secretary he had hired.
From then on, Dostoevsky's fate went through desperate attempts to pay off debts and, finally, a growing public recognition, overshadowed by exiles in the drier parts of Russia, sorts of climatic remedies for an imminent death that was announced at 59 years old.
Other Relevant Whereabouts of Dostoevsky's Life
His last home is now a museum. We find it easily from Vladimirskaya Metro station.
A few meters from the exit, a black statue displays a Dostoevsky probing the dark corners of passersby's minds. We challenge you for a moment. Soon, we cut to your old home.
Inside, the intact rooms are guarded by elderly women, themselves hostages to the psychological misery that Dostoevsky perpetuated.
We feel them revolted by their hollow crafts, given over to obsessive watchmen or sitting next to the unique comfort of oil heaters, watching life slip away from them outside.
Among objects and photographs of Fyodor's life and work, we find a small figure of Napoleon. The statuette brings us back to Rodion Raskolnikov.
Dostoevsky unveils us in “Crime and Punishment” that the French general was the ideal and historical justification for the crime. “Who here in Russia doesn't consider himself a Napoleon? A true holder of power” Raskolnikov justifies Porfiry Petrovich.
We return to Sennaya and seek the executioner's lair, when we are victims of that arrogance. There, on Stolyarni Street, a kind of niche celebrates the macabre character.
We're hoping someone will open the patio door to your house so we can get inside. An old lady arrives and throws us a cannot without appeal. A second does the same, even more abruptly. All babushkas bar us from passing.
Until, after 20 freezing minutes, a fearful old man asks us in Russian but lets us see that, besides the symbolism of the site, there wasn't much to see there.
In the following days, we continued on the path to other key places in the author and the novel. We do a visit-homage to your final address in the cemetery elitist from Tikhvin, then wrapped in a dazzling autumn shroud.
At intervals, even the absorbed reader identifies the worst incidents of Dostoevsky's epic-tragic life with the supreme martyrdoms suffered by Raskolnikov.
As a reward, many thousands of admirers attended the funeral of the first.
As we witness in vegetable shades of yellow, the writer who sublimated the volatility of stray minds lies in the company of great Russian personalities.
As strange as it continues to seem, it is also worshiped around the world.