This year Saint-Petersburg celebrates an important date – 30 years ago the city was returned its historical name. And in the same 1991 the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR approved a resolution acknowledging the tricolor as the national flag of Russia. On the anniversary of these two events the State Museum of Political History of Russia opens the exhibition "Flag of Russia over Saint-Petersburg". The exhibition restores the chronology of events, presents materials about political and public organizations as well as specific people who contributed to the revival of the former symbols. Most of the exhibits will be shown for the first time.
Perestroika, announced in the mid-1980s, was supposed to restore shaken faith of the citizens in the benefits of socialism and the Soviet system. Despite expectations of the powers, the policy of Glasnost had created a "fermentation" in the people`s mind. Great changes inevitably led to a change in values. There was a rapid evolution of ideas about the ways and goals of reforming society, movements and organizations emerged that were alternative to the ruling Communist Party.
Citizens with oppose thoughts, wanting to distance themselves from official structures, were eager to get rid of "communist dogmatics" and Soviet symbols. Therefore, society's interest in the values and traditions of the pre-Soviet past increased. At the turn of the 1980s-1990s, the issue of protection of the cultural and historical heritage and the return and preservation of the historical names of towns, streets and squares began to be heard aloud. It is worth recalling the words of D. S. Likhachev: "Historical names are culture-forming bonds between the past, present and future". People who stood up for the return of former names and symbols, changes in the toponymic landscape, believed that this was one of the ways to truly rebuild the country as a whole and cities with a rich historical past.
In the process of the restoration of traditional spiritual values and the return of pre-revolutionary symbols, two dates are of paramount importance for contemporary Russia. On June 12, 1991 the majority of Leningrad residents (54%) in a poll were in favor of returning the city to its historical name of Saint-Petersburg. On August 22, 1991 the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR approved a resolution on the recognition of the tricolor - the historical flag of Russia - as the official national flag of the Russian Federation.
The State Museum of Political History of Russia for the first time presents an exhibition devoted to the circumstances of the returning to Leningrad its original name and the restoration of the historical flag of Russia. This is urgent as many of our compatriots and even contemporaries of those events do not know the real history, free from mythology and party affiliations, of what happened at the turn of the 1980s-1990s. The most important events of those years will be reflected: the meeting on October 7, 1988 at Leningrad's Lokomotiv Stadium where the white, blue and red flag was raised for the first time; the protest action on March 12, 1989 organized by members of the Democratic Union near the Kazan Cathedral; the mass demonstration on Palace Square on September 9, 1990 in defense of the name "Saint-Petersburg"; the referendum on returning the city its original name on June 12, 1991; and the recognition of the tricolor as the national flag of Russia on August 22, 1991. The heroes of the exhibition are the direct participants of the events: activists of various democratic organizations and historical and patriotic association "Russian Znamya", famous cultural figures and deputies of the Lensoviet.
Rare pictures and documents are received from the personal archives of the direct participants of those events. The visitors will be able to see their personal belongings and documents at the exhibition. Leaflets, posters, documents, citizens' letters, newspaper publications reveal the heat and drama of the political and ideological confrontation around the changing name of the city on the river Neva.
The exhibition demonstrates the tricolor flags under which the opponents of the State Committee on the State of Emergency expressed their dissent in August 1991 near the White House in Moscow, the Mariinsky Palace in Saint-Petersburg, in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Samara. Unique relics were specially received from private collections for the exhibition: the first tricolor flag which in 1988 led to the revival of the tricolor, the flag raised on August 22, 1991 over the Mariinsky Palace, and on August 24 - over the Smolny Palace.
2-4 Kuibysheva St., Saint-Petersburg
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