A tombstone tourist will find plenty to get fascinated about in St Petersburg. Historical Tikhvin Cemetery and Volkovo Cemetery‘s “Writers’ footways” were turned into museums.
Bogoslovskoye Cemetery’s more remote, and more obscure, but pretty interesting nonetheless. Its main attraction are the graves of some of Russia’s biggest rock stars. New-wave band Kino‘s singer Viktor Tsoi‘s car-crash death in 1990 was mourned by millions of fans, many of whom camped at his gravesite in Bratskaya path for years. I was a bit scared of the area when I was a kid, as my school was across the road.
Tsoi was later joined by Alexander “Ricochet” Aksyonov of punk band Obyekt Nasmeshek; hard rocker Sergey Bogayev (Oblachny Kray); and Kolibri‘s Natalya Pivovarova. Most recently, Mikhail Gorsheniov of punk band Korol I Shut was interned. It’s largely his fans who play acoustic guitars, drink cheap booze, and warn people against doing anything disrespectful, like taking selfies, at the cemetery now.
Bogoslovskoye, like most cemeteries in the city, also features mass graves of those who died during the siege of Leningrad. Some of the non-musical celebrities include submarine captain Alexander Marinesko (who has a museum dedicated to him nearby), or film director Aleksei German (whose films are shown at the neighboring Filmofond from their original reels donated by his widow). My favorite, however, was the playwright Evgeny Schwartz – his grave is tucked away on the most obscure, impassable path, the cross turned away from passers-by, and no photo attached. Now that’s modesty.