National Geographic : 2012 Jul
appear on the table. Raisa lls them with home- made brandy. Soon the women are pleasantly tipsy, and Nina wanders over to Raisa's garden and starts picking potato beetles o leaves. It is hard to say if Raisa's garden represents a labor of love or love of labor. Raisa, who is 68, makes fertilizer from compost, waters plants by hand with buckets from a well, and lugs her har- vest home in shopping bags on the bus. At the end of summer she has more than 200 jars of pre- serves to see her through winter. "Each year I say that's it, I am not planting. But then in spring I do." "So why not taper o ?" I suggest. "It doesn't seem terribly relaxing." "It's relaxing to me," Raisa says. But a dacha means di erent things to di erent generations. Recently her daughter, who has two kids, bought a house in the city. "She is strug- gling," Raisa says. "I o ered to sell my dacha to help her out." "No, you can't sell it," her daughter said rmly. "At least I can still come here with the kids and go swimming." had a secret dacha he probably never used. One story says the paranoid dictator took one look at the dacha ---known as Object No. 201---at the end of a solitary road at the end of a peninsula and said something like: I'm never staying in that mousetrap. But Valday historian Galina Zimina suggests that Stalin, who had 20 other dachas around the Soviet Union, just never got around to it. "We'll know when they release more of Sta- lin's archives," she says. In 1935 Stalin ordered the creation of a da- cha colony for writers in Peredelkino, outside of Moscow. In Soviet times political and cultural elites were rewarded with country homes. Art- ists, party bosses, even cosmonauts, had their own summer compounds. e dacha was the carrot to the stick of the gulag. "Peredelkino was Stalin's way of keeping writers under control," says Konstantin, the historian. "He could keep an eye on them in one place." In his study on the second floor of his dacha, in the green shade of Peredelkino, Boris NORWAY DEN. GERMANY SWEDEN FINLAND UKR. POLAND BELARUS LITH. LATVIA EST. KAZAKHSTAN RUSSIA RUSS. EUROPE ARCTIC OCEAN Norwegian Sea Barents Sea Dnieper Dubna R. Volga 20° 70°N 60° 0° 40°E St. Petersburg Valday Peredelkino Vladimirskoye Sergiyev Posad Vyalki Zelenyy Mys Moscow VALDAYSKIY N.P. ARCTIC CIRCLE NGM MAPS SCALE VARIES IN THIS PERSPECTIVE. DISTANCE FROM MOSCOW TO ST. PETERSBURG IS 395 MILES (636 KILOMETERS). A Summer Space e dacha follows a historical arc from aristocratic privilege (in the 18th century Peter the Great granted nobles parcels of land on the outskirts of St. Petersburg for summer palaces) to today's modest cottage communities. e map locates communities and places featured in the text.