St.Petersburg. The place of three duels
I’d like to tell you some words about Primorsky district of St.Petersburg I live in. Very few people know that the territory of Primorsky district was the place of three duels which influenced the cultural life of Russia. On January 27, 1837 in the Black river vicinity a fatal duel took place. It was easy to insult the outstanding poet as he was a minor official and a poor nobleman. Alexander Pushkin agreed to the duel terms without reading them. The poet said he did not care about choosing the place as he wanted everything to be done quickly. A high-rank duellist, he never shot first. Being mortally wounded, Pushkin wounded Dantes, but did not feel satisfied. The duel location became sacred for the Russian people. The first permanent monument of pink granite was designed by A.Lapironov and M.Munizer and erected here in 1937. It was restored later. Poplars and willows now grow around a small square with a 19 meter-high obelisk decorated with a bas-relief of the great Russian poet.
The other two duels were probably the last ones recorded in Russia. On February 18, 1840 Mikhail Lermontov fought a duel with the son of the French Ambassador Barant on the road leading to Pargolovo. Barant missed his aim and Lermontov shot into the air. The poet was later arrested and exiled. It is interesting to note that Danzas, Pushkin’s duel second, was the commanding officer of Tenginsky Regiment where Lermontov was sent to after the duel. The famous men of letters, Maximilian Voloshin and Nikolai Gumilev fought the last duel of the Silver Age in 1909 on the Black river bank. It was a ritual duel of honour as nobody suffered. All the participants paid 10 roubles fine to the police.
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