Puschino-on-Oka is a small academic town on the high river bank of the Oka, situated in the Moscow Region (120 km south of the capital). If you head out of town, you'll see old estate.Evgenia Komarova
The story of the estate begins in the 16th century — at least that’s what the historical records tell us. Since then, the unfortunate mansion has been passed from one landlord to another.Evgenia Komarova
During Soviet times it was abandoned. However, some prominent film directors used it to shoot authentic scenes from the period.Evgenia Komarova
For example, famous Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov filmed there Unfinished Piece for the Player Piano and the final scenes of Oblomov (a cinema adaptation of the great literary classic by Ivan Goncharov).Evgenia Komarova
For the last 40 years the estate has been divided between the Russian Academy of Sciences and the town administration. They cannot agree on who owns the territory and who should maintain it. In the 1990s they tried to launch a reconstruction program, but it folded for lack of financing.Evgenia Komarova
Meanwhile, the territory is becoming increasingly deserted, and the main building has fallen into decay. The only people to take care of it are the keeper and her artist friend.
Klavdiya Egorovna has been the custodian of the Puschino estate for 40 years! Initially her husband helped her, but since he passed away she's been left alone.Evgenia Komarova
The view of the keeper's house from the mansion at Puschino.Evgenia Komarova
Vice versa: The view of the mansion from the window of Klavdiya Egorovna's houseEvgenia Komarova
In recent years the public has endeavored to preserve the unique architectural complex independently. Some keep on battling bureaucracy, while others, including architects, artists and locals, do what they can to keep the building in shape until the start of restoration work. Among them are artist Sergey Gorshkov and architect Alexander Ignatiev.Evgenia Komarova
Sergey Gorshkov visits the estate and its permanent resident Klavdiya Egorovna as often as possible.Evgenia Komarova
There was a time when he was the only one with permission to go inside the mansion and to help fix things.Evgenia Komarova
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
to our newsletter!
Get the week's best stories straight to your inbox