Behind closed doors: The secrets contained within the imposing walls of the Kremlin
It’s been a symbol of Russia for centuries, yet many of us know very little about the Kremlin. Catherine Merridale reveals the secrets contained within the vast Moscow complex
Saturday 12 October 2013
Everyone has some idea of what the Kremlin is. The red stars and the ring of Gothic-looking walls and towers have represented Russia and its government so many times that they are like a trademark.
Today, it is the flag of the Russian Federation that flutters from a handsome cupola inside the walls; the implication is that Putin’s Russia is as mighty and immutable as any historic empire. But that is not the only message written in the stone and brick. The secret is to look behind the dazzling facades.
In the eight centuries of its existence, the Kremlin has been used to symbolise everything from Soviet dictatorship and proletarian revolution to imperial tsarism and even an inscrutable theocracy. The palaces are opulent, but there is menace here, as well as power. In 1839, a celebrated French traveller called the Marquis de Custine described the fortress as a “satanic monument”, “a habitation that would suit some of the personages of the Apocalypse”. “Like the bones of certain gigantic animals,” he concluded, “the Kremlin proves to us the history of a world of which we might doubt until after seeing the remains.”
But there is far more to the Kremlin than a pile of ancient bones. Its timelessness is the result of careful image-management. Parts of the citadel are truly old, including its most sacred building, the Cathedral of the Dormition whose structure was completed in 1479. The paved square around this is the focus of most guided tours, and it includes two other cathedrals, a 16th-century belltower and a palace that looks like a giant jewel-box.
If you stand here for long enough, you might imagine golden-robed boyars, but the present setting would have been entirely alien to them. Today’s Kremlin is Stalin’s creation, an expurgated version of a mid-19th-century complex that was in turn unrecognisably transformed after Napoleon abandoned it in 1812. And there had been innumerable programmes of rebuilding before that. The Kremlin may well be a perfect symbol of the Russian past, but what it embodies is not some romance of eternity, but disinformation, upheaval and loss.
Founded in the 12th century, the fortress started life as a collection of timber palaces and churches on a hill between two riverbanks. Its main defence back then was not its ugly, clay-smeared wooden walls but its remote location in the heart of dense and uninviting virgin forest.
Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!
Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://mitocopper.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST
Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomic.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST
Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomics.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST
Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!
HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation
Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.
pathogens and gives you more
energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser! Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover - Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video)
Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.