It certainly is not the best bust of Alexander Pushkin ever made. But it may be one of the most “popular” in Russia. By “popular” I mean the most visited, the most seen, the most passed-by. This small bust of Pushkin stands on a pedestal in a niche that connects Moscow’s Pushkinskaya and Chekhovskaya stops on the metro – on two of the most traveled lines in the whole metro system. This is an extremely busy place most any time of the morning, day or night. Just like the huge monument to Pushkin that stands more or less straight above this subway stop on Pushkin Square, it is also a place where people meet. “Let’s meet by Pushkin” is a phrase that has been spoken millions of times in Moscow over the decades. As can be seen in this series of photos, those meetings – or ones that do not happen, or, maybe, meetings that once happened and are being remembered – aren’t necessarily always the happiest. As I was taking these pictures I must admit I did not pay much attention to the woman who was standing just to Pushkin’s left. It was only as I was editing them that I realized she was experiencing a difficult moment of some kind.
In the last photo above, as in the first one below, the woman actually appears to be looking up to Pushkin for some reason – for strength? for friendship? because she realizes I am taking pictures of Pushkin? In any case, for the most part nobody is paying much attention either to the woman or to Pushkin.