Novodevichy: necropolis of the famous Russian dead, and where interments are second only to those in the Kremlin in prominence. Inaugurated in 1898, it rose in significance in the 1930s when important Russians who were buried in medieval monasteries around Moscow were reburied in Novodevichiy during the Joseph Stalin era. After the fall of the Soviet Union, when the Kremlin Wall Necropolis was no longer used, Novodevichy became the place of rest for Russian notables in the arts and sciences, and of course, politics.
Note: This is Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow. It should not be confused with Novodevichy Cemetery in Saint Petersburg.
One thing that draws me to graveyards is the quiet. It is calming while the world outside goes on and on with its drama. Reading epithets wondering what those people were like in life is a fun mental exercise, if not spiritual or emotional. You do not know them, they do not know you, you are visiting, nobody is complaining. There is something mystical in a non-verbal, one-way acquaintance. And then there are the well-known names. You know them, or not, they still do not know you, no problem. They are free from signing autographs or giving interviews; you are free to stare at or take silly selfies with them all you want.
As a fan of literature I went to Novodevichiy for Anton Chekhov. Since Boris Yeltsin is right in front so conspicuous, it was nice taking a shot at his tombstone too. Heck, I wouldn’t have minded dropping by Rasputin’s spot if he was there. With so limited time though and Novodevichiy rather massive with a guide who was not familiar with graveyard interiors, not that I blame her, I missed the following
Names in Novodevichiy
1 Nikita Khruschev (1894-1971) head of Soviet Union
2 Nadezhda Alliluyeva (1901-1932) wife of Joseph Stalin
and the Notable Nikolais
3 Nikolai Podgorny (1903 -1983) statesman during the Cold War
4 Nikolai Burdenko (1876-1946) neurosurgeon
5 Nikolai Gogol (1809 – 1852) dramatist, satirist
6 Nikolai Rubinstein (1835-1881) pianist and composer
7 Nikolai Zabolotsky (1903 -1958) poet
8 Nikolai Zelinskiy (1861 – 1953) chemist
9 Nikolai Ostrovsky (1904 -1936) writer
10 Nikolai Tikhonov (1905 – 1997) politician
11 Nikolai Bulganin (1895 – 1975) Minister of Defense
12 Nikolai Semashko (1874 – 1949) Soviet sports administrator
13 Nikolai Tomsky (1900 – 1984) sculptor
I would spend proper time with them if I visited Russia again.