St Petersburg

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Only a madman, or an oriental despot, would ever have tried to build a city on the frozen wastes and marshes where St Petersburg arose. Peter the Great was not mad: he wanted to bring western culture to Russia. But he certainly had the character of an oriental despot, and the building of the city probably cost the lives of a hundred thousand men. In the 'Peter' chapter of RUSSKA, a Cossack character loses his life building the city. And the social and political world of St Petersburg, in all its glory, forms the backdrop to the action of the 'Catherine' chapter.




 

 

 

Did You Know?
Only one man was allowed to live in the royal palace of China, known as the Forbidden City: the emperor. All the other inhabitants were either women - wives, concubines or servants - or the famous palace eunuchs. Nearly all eunuchs were castrated when they were still only boys. But there were just a few who chose to be castrated after they became men, and even had children of their own. They did it for the money. 




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