March 16 in Russian history

1376: Successful end of the Russian campaign in Kazan Khanate. Well, to be precise, it was not the Kazan Khanate yet, which would appear in 1438. Nor was it a part of the Golden Horde, rather a semi-independent province. It was inhabited by settlers from Urals and areas along Volga. Armies of Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod participated in the campaign under the commandment of Dmitri, knyaz of Nizhny Novgorod. Khans Asan (Hasan) and Mamat attempted to use artillery to repulse Russians, but failed. It was agreed that the khans will pay 5,000 rubles to Russians: 1,000 to the knyaz of Moscow, 1,000 to the knyaz of Nizhny Novgorod and 3,000 rubles to the army. The sum was approximately equal to the tribute paid by Russia to the Golden Horde every year. This time, though, it was the first time when Russia received the money from the Golden Horde. Moreover, Kazan agreed to accept the tribute collector from Moscow, which was a whole new turn in the relations between Rus and her eastern neighbours.

1915: The mayor of St.Petersburg orders to close the artistic cabaret Brodyachaya Sobaka (Stray Dog) because of a grandiose brawl that happened there in the end of February, after Vladimir Mayakovsky threw the following verses with contempt to the bourgeois public:

Would I spend my life
To please you, lovers of women and dishes?!
I'll better serve pineapple water
To the whores in restaurants!

Mayakovsky was a giant figure in Russian poetry and art, bigger than poetry itself. Both metaphorically and literally. We, who were born in the USSR, knew him as a political poet, the singer of the socialist revolution. His uneven, syncopated verses looked strange and weird to the schoolchildrens' eyes and uncomfortable for their ears. We didn't like his poetry as the ultimate, to the bones, reflection of the Soviet revolution. His admiration of communism was repulsive:

     pull out
        of my wide trouser-pockets
    of a priceless cargo.
You now:
    read this
        and envy,
            I'm a citizen
of the Soviet Socialist Union!

Or this one:

with you in our hearts,
    Comrade Lenin,
        we build,
we think,
    we breathe,
        we live,
            and we fight!”

And yet... Only when I was sixteen, one of my school mates amazed me by saying: "You don't like Mayakovsky? You don't know him, then." And he read me an excerpt from a poem that blew up my mind. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a translation in the Internet, but, believe me, it totally changed my perception of Mayakovsky.

I saw him differently now and I read and re-read his poems. And they were worth it. Mayakovsky was a poet who could make you cry by yelling at you. Once you notice that the noise he produces is the voice of his bleeding heart and his rudeness is full of tenderness, you are lost. You will read and enjoy and suffer, because the soul torn to pieces, asking for compassion and understanding and finding no response is one of the most terrible things one would like to see. And yet I suggest you go and read...

The violin got all worked up, imploring
then suddenly burst into sobs,
so child-like
that the drum couldn't stand it:
"All right, all right, all right!"
But then he got tired,
couldn't wait till the violin ended,
slipped out on the burning Kuznetsky
and took flight.
The orchestra looked on, chilly,
while the violin wept itself out
without reason
or rhyme,
and only somewhere,
a cymbal, silly,
kept clashing:
"What is it,
what's all the racket about?"
And when the helicon,
Be still!"
I staggered,
on to my feet getting,
and lumbered over the horror-stuck music stands,
"Good God"
why, I myself couldn't tell;
then dashed, my arms round the wooden neck to fling:
"You know what, violin,
we're awfully alike;
I too
always yell,
but can't prove a thing!"
The musicains commented,
contemptuously smiling:
"Look at him-
come to his wooden-bride-
But I don't care-
I'm a good guy-
"You know, what, violin,
let's live together,

read more here.

And, by the way, the Stray Dog re-opened later. Moreover, it was recreated recently and you can visit it when you are in St.Petersburg. And if you read a restaurant review describing the cafe, you might want to say:

Would I spend my life
To please you, lovers of women and dishes?!
I'll better serve pineapple water
To the whores in restaurants!

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