National Geographic : 1978 Jan
stands the building of the Committee for State Security (KGB). The window curtains were always drawn, the doors closed. Architects on Shchusev Street was packed. Six candles lit the stage. The poet ges tured with one arm, his words not so much spoken as thrown: Yes, there is a Russian intelligentsia! You thought not, but there is; Not the indifferent mass, But the conscience of the nation.... There was applause, then special requests and encores. Young women followed the poet backstage: "Please, your autograph, just on the ticket." "Tonight you were so wonderful -- I could not believe you were so wonderful!" Andrei Voznesensky is among those poets who in the 1960's brought fresh vigor to Rus sian poetry. His target: the inner man. I talked with him a few nights later at the headquarters and club of the Soviet Writers' Union (page 8). There was excellent food, well served, the hum of conversation. "Are poets free to write?" I asked. He re plied elliptically: "I can give you my own example. You have come across people here who praise me. But there are great numbers of people who are orthodox-minded, conservative. Mind you, I am talking now about poetry. I believe that poetry has a purpose-to fight for moral values, to fight for purity, for personality, against indoctrination. And since I said there was a fight, there must be opponents in the fight. Naturally, there are orthodox people who would want me to restrain myself. "There are simple ways of trying to restrain me. If an orthodox man is an editor of a mag azine, do you really expect him to publish my poems? Not on your life. Or take my recent Tchaikovsky Concert Hall reading. There was another manager before who would not dream of permitting my reading there." The hand of orthodox man touches other arts in Moscow, I found. One day I went with friends to the atelier of an artist who was preparing for an exhibition of his works in Paris. His paintings depicted sea gulls, Arctic landscapes, fishing boats, a heroic logger. He offered a bottle of beer, then ran out to the market. He (Continued on page 34) Imperial Russia's Glillerlnu LegagU JEWEL-ENCRUSTED Easter egg, given by Tsar Nicholas II to his beloved wife, Alexandra, carries on its exterior the appeal ing portrait of the heir apparent, Alexis (right), as well as likenesses of their four daughters. The jade egg, created in 1908 in St. Petersburg un der the direction of jeweler Carl Fab erge, is set with rubies and diamonds. It opens to reveal a colored gold mod el of the Alexander Palace, favorite home of the imperial family. Such wondrous fancies, trappings of one of the world's most luxurious life-styles, fill gallery after gallery of the Kremlin Armory, now a museum. Planning the overthrow of the tsarist regime, revolutionaries considered that the riches rightfully belonged to the public. Upon their victory, the fabulous treasures became, by law, "property of the people," and are now displayed with great pride.