Category Archives: Moscow Metro

The Gory Dostoevsky: Notes from the Underground Station

Dostoevskaya, Moscow Metro

Dostoevskaya metro station has been in operation since June 19, 2010. The 181st station of the Moscow Underground is among the youngest, but did its best in paying hommage to the great Russian author. Perhaps, it even outdid itself.

Crime and Punishment, a detail

The monochrome Florentine mosaics by Ivan Nikolaev depict the gory pages of Dostoevsky’s best-known novels, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Devils. Raskolnikov is raising an axe at the old woman and Lizaveta; Stavrogin is committing suicide; Svidrigaylov is committing suicide; Nastasya Filippovna is being killed… Suddenly, Dostoevsky comes across as a 19th c. master of thrillers and bloody horror stories.

The Devils, full mosaic

One could argue that the mentioned 4 novels are indeed his best-known, most dramatic and monumental, hence it is no wonder that they were preferred for the station’s decor. “Notes from the Underground” as an expression has never been so meaningful, if ambiguous. On the other hand, it is sad that we rarely get to know “another” Dostoevsky, witty and humorous, as he was in his short stories and The Gambler.

The Idiot, a detail

Having said this, Dostoevskaya, to my knowledge, is the first station dedicated to a Russian author that was so lavishly decorated. Pushkinskaya, Chekhovskaya, Turgenevskaya, Mayakovskaya, named after Pushkin, Chekhov, Turgenev and Mayakovsky, respectively, cannot boast a similar grandeur of mosaics, although Chekhovskaya does have several decorations on the station’s walls.


Crime and Punishment, full mosaic

It is surprising, actually, but there is no station dedicated to Leo Tolstoy. Lermontovskaya, named after the Russian Romanticist poet Mikhail Lermontov, was renamed into The Red Gates. Gorkovskaya that owed its name to Maxim Gorky was renamed into Kitay-Gorod. At the same time, a station like Frunzenskaya that clearly refers to the Revolutionary activist, Timur Frunze, has never changed its name.


A silhouette on staircase


The Idiot, full mosaic, front
The Idiot, full mosaic, sideways
The Devils, a detail


Fyodor Dostoevsky portrait
A silhouette on the staircase – alone
Dostoevskaya – a station view


Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Face

Back to Dostoevskaya, in spite of those gory images, it does not feel depressing, as once claimed Russian bloggers and Roland Oliphant of The Independent. There is a plenty of light, although, as with all new stations, it does possess a good doze of mystery that kind of becomes Dostoevsky’s novels.