Still hotter than Hades (its getting difficult to think of other trite sayings about heat) here in Kazan – at last check its hit 100 Fahrenheit here the last four or five days. Brutal. Luckily in the past few days there’s been a nice breeze off the Kazanka/Volga but today the air was flat so it was just a pain to go outside.
However, that didn’t stop a group of us from going to the bazaar, with my primary goal being to find cheap(er) FC Rubin Kazan gear than is sold in Koltzo (the mall in the city center here). Strangely enough, the FCRK stuff in the bazaar is more expensive. I almost purchased a jersey of Kazan’s smaller soccer team (Ak Bar Bank…seriously) but it was too small. My friend bought it though so that worked out well. I left empty-handed but I’ll probably go there again before I leave.
Yesterday, we went to the Vladimir Lenin House-Museum. It’s basically where young Vladimir lived (very, very briefly) while attending class (also very, very briefly) at the same university I’m studying at, Kazanski Gosudarstveni Universitet (Kazan State University).
There were a few things of note. Firstly was that Vladimir chose his room (first floor, as opposed to everybody else in his family), supposedly that he could sneak back into the house after partying. But the teenage boys in the group (myself included) think that this was probably secondary to the fact that his room was literally right next to the kitchen.
Secondly, Lenin’s report card from KGU was in the museum. He, not surprisingly, did very well in school. He earned all 4s and 5s (the Russian grading scale is on a 2-5 scale, 2 = F, 3 = C, 4 = B, 5 = A), except for the 2 he earned…in logic. Not the most encouraging sign of the founder of a nation based on a political/social system that previously existed only, really, in theory.
The third and most awesome noteworthy part of the museum was the “family” room. In this room were plaques with each member of Lenin’s family, including where and when they were born, and maybe an interesting fact or two. Lenin, apparently, never died. Seriously. No death year written on his plaque. Not even space left for it. Just “1887 г.” – “the year 1887,” to mark his birth. And who says the Soviet Union is dead?
Actually, though, Lenin (unlike Stalin and many of the other Soviet “heroes”) is still somewhat revered. There are statues of him all over Kazan (and, apparently, Russia). There’s a Lenin Street, a Lenin Square, etc. KGU only recently removed his name from the official name of the university (although it might still be there…its sorta unclear. There is a statue of “molodoi Lenin” – young Lenin in front of KGU, as a matter of fact.
Anyways, that’s been this week so far. On Saturday we go to the museum of Gabdullah Tuqay (which I guess I mentioned in my last post…). There’s also apparently an authentic, still active, Tatar village close by that I think we’re going to check out. Should be sweet.
‘Til next time, and long live Lenin!