10 years he lived on the street now rents a room in a housing sotsnayma, but the habit of being homeless can not refuse. He quotes the classics, knows the history of each building on Nevsky prospect makes a generous gift the first counter and collect trash from public bins. Genius or eccentric, happy people or unhappy – depends on how you look at the history of Vyacheslav Romanovich Rasner, the most famous homeless of St. Petersburg.
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Vyacheslav Romanovich, the then just the Glory
The doors of the metro station “Admiralty” are right in Brick lane, the side propping up the main thoroughfare of Saint Petersburg – Nevsky prospect. Early in the morning here on duty personnel of the tourist offices. Lined up and shouting over each other, beckoning the crowd coming out to walk on the boat spectacular routes along the rivers and channels, for all the sights of the city from the Palace square to Peterhof.
One minute to noon on the side of Nevsky appears a little old man with the milk, like a good magician Dumbledore’s beard. Hunched over, short, heavy steps, he moves to the metro and the first thing comes to garbage urns. Production is low: in one there was nothing worthwhile, from another, digging hard, grandpa pulls out a tin can of beer. A silver thread from the banks back in the urn, reaches someone’s fresh spit. Grandpa does not care. A bit of shaking off, he’s hiding “Baltic sea-nine” plaid bag and passed through a dense row of guides, modestly freezes at the post.
At first glance, the grandfather is like an ordinary homeless man. It is warm, not the weather and not in size, cast-off jacket, pants with distressed knees, worn-out sneakers. Blue as the waters of the Neva river in good weather, eyes straight and focused. The noble appearance of an elderly intellectual of the late nineteenth century didn’t match either worn modern clothes, nor to Brick lane with its cars, billboards and people.
Our hero’s name is Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Rasner. He was born in 1951 in Leningrad, in the apartment on the sixth floor of an old house in the yard-well, the bottom of which once collapsed roofer, fortunately, not only surviving, but lived a fascinating life. Vyacheslav Romanovich considers himself homeless since 1975, when the mother checked him out of the apartment and sent to live in communal, thus increasing their square footage, but forever losing Rasner like a son.
Vyacheslav Romanovich, and then just Fame, studied at the Leningrad pedagogical Institute, which is now a University, worked as a teacher of geography and biology in the 243-year school, which is now, unfortunately, because of the second stage of the Mariinsky theatre, with no Palace of culture named after the First five years; visited the capitals of almost all the former Soviet republics. To Yerevan, Dushanbe and Ashgabat business, unfortunately, never came.
– People ask me: “Where are you going to Riga, where will you stay there? – There is native blood. There live parents of the wife of the brother of the wife of the son of the sister of my mother” – jokes Vyacheslav Romanovich, remembering their journey. His whole story is involved in such jokes and incidents from the life, which you will not know whether they were real or a character they invented. For example, the story of how in 1982, among other things, a year ahead of the administration, later appropriated all the credit, he introduced the tradition of celebrating the city Day of St. Petersburg.
– Yes! only and meets Vyacheslav Romanovich.
Retirement Rasner came in the “female” age at 55 years, and lived in two rooms of a communal apartment modestly, with six cats and 18 dogs. Love for animals and “excessive credulity”, you might say, led him to the street.
– When the thugs kill the puppy, dropping him from the fifth floor, the neighbors wrote him a collective statement. Mom thugs saw me, and ordered: “Take the statement, this is my son! Tai, Taisa, I wrote nothing, pick up nothing. – And don’t take it personally, I will poison all your dogs!” – Rasner’s voice changes to a nasal-squeaky, trying to convey the tone of the woman and in the end from himself adds:
Man dog friend, know it all around. So, he is not. Two-legged savage.
From animals that are not loved, not only Thais and her son, but the whole communal house, had to get rid of the decision of the Leninsky district court. Vyacheslav Romanovich has attached them to a shelter, what is still bitterly regrets. How not to regret? Left fact, left, as they all knew, waited. Then there was the strange story of the exchange of the two rooms in a communal apartment, which was only a half of the apartment, and even in the half black realtors prescribed Rasner illegal.
13 June 2008, he left the apartment for good. Found frozen construction on the First center room, that is, without Windows and doors, have built a sleeping bag.
Lived on the street for 10 years, and is alive and well with God’s help and through the efforts of caring people.
– All people are good, said Yeshua to Pontius Pilate, what are the first to know Mikhail Bulgakov. And who is not good as killed my puppy, the two-legged savage. God goes under each.
And then there are cats and “babies-kids”
Rasner is at the pole opposite the entrance to the metro station “Admiralty” in silence, hands folded behind his back. Usually it hangs on the neck plate with the name of the tour “Nevsky Avenue. From home to home”, but today without it, I forgot.
To meet on this very spot it six days a week, three times 9, 12, 15 hours – and on Sundays only in 15 hours because in the morning he goes to serve in the Trinity Cathedral, or, as he prefers to say, “the Holy Trinity Cathedral Life Guards Izmailovsky regiment”. He gets up at 4 in the morning, then walk, with rest stops, to 6 is coming to the metro station “Gorkovskaya”, where on the way to work, “Queen” Tamara, as called compassionate woman Rasner, gives him a jar of hot dumplings in broth, Alla – sandwiches and a Cup of hot tea, and some even donate money.
– You have a pension, you have trips, why do you even ask for alms?
– Habit! – shrugs Vyacheslav Romanovich.
On the day of our interview no 9 a.m. or 12 sightseers gathered. Rasner is waiting for the audience exactly 15 minutes and if it happens that nobody comes, is sent in the Alexander garden to read the free Newspapers “Metro” and “Diary of St. Petersburg” and communicate with “peers”, i.e. other street people, though he himself for several years, ever since I met at the Gorky with a volunteer “rooming house” Svetlana Cotonou has a place to sleep.
At first Svetlana gave Vyacheslav Romanovich in a social shelter for the homeless, then he for a time took one kind-hearted pensioner, and since November of last year unknown to Rasner Lyubov pushed it in a social house close to Sennaya square, from where on foot to the Gorky 45 minutes.
– However, the roommate leaves much to be desired. Psychotherapist, the ex-wife who said to me once: “Vyacheslav Romanovich, if you see scattered around the apartment thing, do not be surprised, then, Alex is drunk”. Alex, in my opinion, does not dry out, complains Rasner.
He and young have a negative attitude to alcohol, in the days when I had to wander on the street, God has saved, thanks to Rasner lived to be 67 years old of sound mind and memory and I am happy. How glad that first time in my life lives in an apartment with a balcony. Not for myself, of course, for girls. Now Katya and Liza unable to walk there.
– What girls? – I get scared. To understand his specific sense of humor the first time is not easy.
– But those that I bought today food aimed to please, – Rasner gets out of checkered bags a big bag of cat food. I sigh with relief.
– And what are the names for cats – Katya and Lisa?
– In honor of the Empress, the Empress! Not Murki call, really.
But the cats Vyacheslav Romanovich no one: no family, no wife, no children. But there are kids Pasha 40 years and Jack 34. He submits them all – “my kids, kids”. They appeared many years ago under such strange circumstances, as all circumstances in the life of Rasner.
First there was Jack. Complained that his mother left him in the hospital, and asked me to be his dad. Then came Pasha. Admitted that his Wife is jealous and also wants him to have a father. Since then, men have taken “dad’s” money and from time to time tapping.
– Went to retire, she has already received. And before that called Jack: “Dad, read me the card number ATM. And on the back of 3 digits”. Whence I knew, knowing the card number and being in places not so remote, it is possible to receive a pension – calmly explains Rasner.
If they Rob and beat you, why did you not refuse?
– But how to refuse? Zhenyu mother abandoned in infancy, and now, in your opinion, should I quit? Second time to betray? – the logic of Rasner difficult to understand, but it quite proves that there are still amazing “people floor”, which he wrote Maxim Gorky. For this I before God will be responsible. And Jack responds. Of his 33 years, a third of life – 11 years – in prisons.
And Pasha is in prison?
– The Lord is with you, no. Pasha works as a taxi driver. Or says it works.
“Why don’t you go to a professional, and to me, to the homeless?”
We had almost reached the Alexander column, when Rasner called. From the bottomless pocket of the filthy jacket he pulls out a push-button phone, and then, squinting, for a long time looking for where to click – the volunteers just wrote that, because of approaching blindness Vyacheslav Romanovich need a serious surgery eyes.
No, he went with journalists. Yeah, I’ll be 15 hours. Prior to the meeting.
Called sightseers. Through the efforts of Svetlana Kotinos of “Nochlezhka” Saint-Petersburg tour guide there was a group in “Vkontakte” – “Walking with Razmerom”. There you can find the number to call and schedule a tour in advance.
Vyacheslav Romanovich is very academic, extremely intelligent, gentle and witty man who, it seems, can be born and live anywhere else but in St. Petersburg. When he led tours of the Peter and Paul fortress, and several years ago decided to recall the former and earn, walking along the Nevsky with the unknown gentleman.
I wanted to bring it to the Alexander Nevsky monastery, so he lit a candle that the tour is finally over. But reached the square, the Uprising, and the peasant declared that he was tired, will not go further. Paid 1350 rubles. God be with you 500 rubles for himself, but it turns out, another 500 rubles for the absent boy and 350 rubles tip. “You know, Vyacheslav Romanovich, I am from St. Petersburg, but learned so much about Nevsky that now all your money”.
Rasner really a talent to share. Even the interviews he gives, both in the written, and especially proud of such customer feedback: “Vyacheslav Romanovich, the impression that you are a trip, reading an invisible book.”
First, this talent and love for his hometown and his exceptional knowledge saw Svetlana Kotina, while Rasner was drinking coffee she bought at the metro station “Gorkovskaya”. She offered to organize a group and start the tour on stream. Her efforts and thanks to the natural charm of Vyacheslav Romanovich has become, how he himself jokingly calls the most famous homeless of St. Petersburg.
– Homeless people do not count, and chose me for some reason. May 1, bad weather, rain, cold, Muscovites 34. “Why don’t you go to a professional, and to me, to the homeless?! – About you the positive reviews online.” Opposite metro an Internet cafe, I want to read to see yourself, but don’t go. With computer for you, because I was born in the last century.
– And why do you think you are?
– Probably, give material, not just “look left, look right, come on.”
In his spare time Rasner goes to the library Mayakovsky Anichkov bridge, where it rises to the third floor, the Department of peterburgian employee who already know what to carry to the reading room, while he puts the phone on charging. The tour guide frankly admits: the content of these books, although it does not rhyme, learned by heart.
– House 4, for example, on the contrary, – Vyacheslav Romanovich shows talent while we drink coffee at “Burger king”. In the years 1777-1778 on this site an employee of the port and customs Jansen and Livonia merchant Furlan had built the two houses, which was listed as the owner of their wives Catherine Dorothea and Anna Engel. Each house had eight axes. At the turn of XVIII-XIX centuries it was owned by the merchants, Kimmel, then the court retired Maitre d ‘ of Petilla for which 1828-30-ies architect Zollikofer with love built yard wings and reconstructed the front part of the building. By this time, two separate houses have become a common building…
Reciting the story as a poem without a single pause than a very proud, remembering incidents from the life of famous residents like himself was his witness, trying to convey even the tone of voice or Gorky Chaliapin that the public did not seem dry and boring, Rasner lead the tour from start to Nevsky Moika river, talks about every home on the right side and back, exposing the house on the left. The money collected he sometimes takes himself, but often shares with others.
– Sow reasonable, good, eternal, said Nekrasov. So I decided to seek revenge on their visitors. Tourist paid 650 rubles, and I got the device that regulates the pressure will not have to eat pills, I’m sorry. Price of the device 15 576 rubles.
– How did she get it?
– I gave her! Collected from trips 26 people money I bought the device and gave her, as she was 27-th. And before that, Irina had received a blanket. If not enough that paid for the tour, and fed and watered me and burgers, and fries, and sauce milk (keeping in mind, of course, sweet and sour). It is necessary to retaliate. Where is the money going to do?
Wont be homeless
By 15 o’clock we are back to the metro station “Admiralteyskaya”. Rasner been waiting for a group of three people: a husband and wife and their little daughter. Vyacheslav Romanovich starts with his favourite question: why not the professional, why to him, to the homeless. Every time he hears the same answer, but asked again and again, as if he wants to check if there’s a missing positive reviews from the Internet, which he cannot reach.
– What helped you all these years? – have time to ask before the tour.
– Faith in God only and helped. And optimism. Believed that someday light will come and you should not spoil the nerves. Like a Zebra’s life: black, white color – that’s the whole secret.
– Are you a happy person?
– Of course. Communicate not only the citizens of St. Petersburg, residents of the city on the Neva river, but also in other cities of Russia and foreign countries. Even from Minsk came. Especially that Alexander Pushkin wrote: “All flags will come to us.” I consider it my duty to know at least one city street and to share this knowledge with others.
Rasner is a feature – not to complain of destiny. But the volunteers and the Lyubov, which is actively involved in his life lately, know that there are many problems and the main is a habit to be homeless. Because of this habit he seems so fun, though long has a roof over her head, begging, takes all, without exception, necessary and unnecessary things and food.
He brings, throws anywhere, but the food just rots in packages. He really needs daily normal hot food, the cleanliness and comfort at home and creating new habits that will, if he stops begging – wrote Love in a group of Rasner in “Vkontakte”.
If Vyacheslav Romanovich will not take the beautification of your home, not better seriously podkashivatsya health, you will not find a helpmate on the farm, it can be evicted from the room housing sotsnayma. Then he will be in a nursing home or back on the street. People know this, of course, you can’t, so every day have a disservice – they are encouraging the exploited image of the homeless. And he used even in his own verse appears:
You with a cultural program personally congratulate,
Health and happiness you sincerely desire.
You will forgive me for my poems,
They’re primitive and, I think, bad.
Have to admit that writing poetry is not the master.
With respect to you, homeless Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Rasner.
Photo: Eugene Stepanov