- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
28

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
28
In the garden there was a variety show, with a
travelling company from Moscow, but not a seat
was to be had. As usual, they acted excellently and
won great applause. It is remarkable what a decided
gift the Russian people, and I think these Caucasians
also, have for scenic representations of every kind :
acting, both drama and tragedy, comedy and
burlesque, and opera, not to speak of dancing, the
ballet, and spectacles. All kinds of performances are
highly valued by the whole people. It is worthy of
note that, when the Soviet government in Moscow
had under consideration the suppression of the
famous ballet and opera, since the yearly cost was
so heavy, the whole of the working-class population
sent in a petition against this measure. This is, so far
as I know, the one and only time that the working
men have been united on a petition; but they
wanted their ballet, and the government did not
do away with it.
What is striking is that with all their feeling for
scenic display and magnificence they show no in
clination this way in their own behaviour or dress.
The men, who here are in a great majority,
make a monotonous impression in their gray or
white blouses with soft gray Lenin caps ; nor do the
women one sees here show any bright colours;
here and there a shawl or blouse in staring colours,
but there is no holiday dress, only a gray, colour
less, inartistic mass in workaday clothes. But maybe
this is how it is to be in the new society ; the old days
are gone with their luxury, their bright splendour
and festivities, with gold and rustling silk, and with

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