Nevsky Prospect

Buskers playing on Nevsky Prospect in downtown Petersburg, date unknown. Photo courtesy of

A draft regulation for the authorization of street performances was published on the website of the Government of St. Petersburg on April 11. The new rules should take effect from May.

Musicians will be obliged to notify the district council of their desire to perform ten business days before the concert. If they are going to play without percussion instruments and amplification, the deadline is three business days before the concert.

They can apply by using the Public Services in St. Petersburg app or via the websites of the district councils. To fill out the application, they will have to enter their passport details or information about a letter of proxy authorizing someone else to act on their behalf if the musicians are not seeking permission for the performance independently. In addition, they will have to provide a layout of stage and technical equipment and a list of sound amplifying equipment.

Legal entities will have to attach a copy of their charter, signed and stamped by its management, as well as a document confirming its representative’s authority to act on its behalf.

An approval already issue can be invalidated if necessary. It is planned to notify musicians about the decision of officials via SMS, e-mail, the Public Services portal, or social networks. The notification method will be chosen by the applicants themselves.

The project is undergoing an anti-corruption assessment. Earlier, the Petersburg district administrations presented lists of places where it was planned to allow street performances.

Source: “The Smolny spoke about conditions for getting street concerts approved,”, 11 April 2023. Translated by TRR. The article linked to in the last paragraph, above, explains that the new regulations will ban buskers from playing on Nevsky with amplifiers, as they are doing in the photo at the top of this post.

Yesterday, a man who was well over sixty was seated opposite me in a trolleybus going down Nevsky. He clutched a one-hundred-ruble bill.

“Has it been a long time since conductors stopped selling tickets?” he asked. “How do I pay the fare? I haven’t been on Nevsky for over forty years. And I haven’t been on public transport. I have a vintage Lada. That’s what I drive.”

“But your pension is probably transferred directly to your bank card,” I said. “Press it against that doodad to pay your fare.”

The man got up and pressed his Mir card to the validator. His eyes lit up with surprise and delight, as if he’d seen a magician pull a rabbit from a hat. I was сonsumed with envy toward him.

We continued our journey. Seated next to me was a fairly young woman, in her early forties, I think.

Looking disapprovingly at the man, she asked, “How is it that you haven’t been on Nevsky for forty years? What about the Immortal Regiment?”

“I don’t go,” the man said guiltily. “I came to Leningrad in 1979 and rented room on 1st Soviet Street. That’s where my wife was murdered. I moved to Vasilyevsky Island, and came to hate Nevsky. I haven’t shown my nose here since.”

The woman chuckled angrily.

“That’s no defense.”

We rode on in silence. I wanted to ask the man what had brought him to Nevsky today. But then I looked at him — in his striped sailor’s shirt, his face quite patriotic — and decided against it.

Source: Marina Varchenko (Facebook), 12 April 2023. Translated by TRR

People marching down Nevsky as part of the Immortal Regiment event. The source and date of the photo are unknown.
UPDATE (19 April 2023). This year’s Immortal Regiment processions have been canceled Russia-wide.

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