Kemerovo activist and journalist Andrey German was incredibly surprised by the English experience of preserving the historical heritage, which Russia has never had, and probably never will:
“Simple facts about an English village. To me, these facts seem unthinkable. I honestly don't understand how this is possible. I don't even understand approximately. We do not have such a thing in principle. I once talked with an official about the preservation of some objects, and she told me what to save here, this is not some 16th century. And I told her that how we will have something so ancient if we do not allow something to be preserved even in a period of less than a hundred years.
House in the English village of Stenton. The village is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, which is a protected landscape. The house of the 17th century for three owners. Repaired in the 18th century and in 1922. Most of the houses in the village are 400 years old. Today the village has less than 200 inhabitants. In the Middle Ages there were 60 households and 300 inhabitants. The village is very old. The first mention of 1086. The record of the priests of the village church has been conducted since 1269. It is surprising that the village is not gingerbread. Ordinary people live. There is only one pub in the village where the residents spend their time. And there is a small hotel. Tourists, of course, visit the village, but there are no buses and crowds of tourists. Just, probably, that this is not gingerbread old time. Personally, I am always surprised by the existence of such objects.
How does it work? We cannot preserve the oldest house in Kemerovo, where the school was organized, we cannot preserve the stained-glass windows of the Soviet era, but here we see millennial objects, on the territory where they fought for thousands of years. It’s even impossible for us, probably, to find a store or a bakery that would have existed for 30 years in one place..."
Journalist Tatyana Zilber , who lives in England, explained how this works:
“In general, all old houses are registered, and they are ranked according to the degree of antiquity (historical) and value (cultural). So they are not allowed, or something, to really collapse. They are constantly strengthened and restored. The owners, of course, according to the instructions of the experts. State architectural control is very strict. But less valuable old premises such as various barns and farm outbuildings are allowed to be converted. Without destroying the facades, create comfortable housing inside. It is very stylish and very expensive. Everything old is valued much more than new. In England, you can often hear - that ugly new building - a disgusting new building.
Yes, and in every village there is a church, and, of course, it is old. Founded in the 12th-13th centuries and gradually renovated to varying degrees. There are also Norman towers, then early Gothic is attached to them, then late Gothic can be details, etc. Churches are well-groomed, in each - local history, names, events - everything is carefully stored. Often the names of the parish priests are listed on the wall, starting sometime in 1267 and continuing without interruption to today's priest. As a rule, the church is decorated with fresh flowers from the gardens of parishioners..."
Readers in their comments tried to understand what is the difference here?
It always surprised me too. In any country in Europe there are many even dilapidated buildings that are not demolished for various reasons: they cannot find the owners, a monument of antiquity. And this gives the city its zest. But it's not very customary for us to save something.
- This is a consequence. And most importantly - a centuries-old political, social, civic culture, a culture of consumption, a culture of private property, education and upbringing in the spirit of certain historically (that is, naturally) established traditions. I was most surprised at one time by the life of a church parish that existed in the English countryside even in the 18th century, in which my lord and the villagers solve problems together: helping an impoverished family that has lost its breadwinner, compulsory literacy for children, charity
- There may be another important factor that in Russia the regions were considered as colonies. The attitude of the official / governor has always been not like a native place.
However, some readers tried to justify this state of affairs:
- The answer is from the Russian proverb: "What we have - we do not store!" And then, there is a brick or stone, and we have a pine, at best, a larch! However, recently in Novosibirsk they demolished a dozen wooden houses on Inskaya Street, the houses are more than 100 years old. The logs are like new...
- I can say something about safety from my observations of the last 3 years in the city of Tikhvin. The climate is rubbish. Long damp dark autumn. Not the best conditions for a tree. During these thirty-five years, the vast majority of historically interesting wooden houses have been irretrievably lost. Something terrible has been built instead of some. Somewhere just wastelands.
But now the new owners of life are doing a "reconstruction" of the gateway through Tikhvinka. A practically new wooden lock and bridge are being built. Take raw pine/spruce. Well, how is wood treated against decay? Almost nothing. Take the cheapest ingredients. Which paint the wood pink, but the sense of them is about zero. Cover the finished gateway with cheap covers. Result? After three or four years, the wood rots so much that it needs to be repaired again ...
However, these arguments do not work at all. And here's why: anyone traveling around Russia sees in abundance the ruins of old estates or ancient abandoned temples in villages and small towns, which are literally falling apart before our eyes, although they are by no means built of wood. Nobody cares about their fate, including officials and those who boast of their adherence to the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. Not to mention ordinary people. So it's not the tree. There's a lot to say about this in the comments too:
- The main thing is that we do not have gays and these imposed Western values that are alien to the Russian people. Traditions are not what they talk about on TV. This is the inner state of people living together with these traditions. And so it is everywhere in England. I was there in small villages where people proudly save and talk about every pebble and log ...
- This is a culture of settled agriculture and long-lived building materials.
In Russia, slash-and-burn agriculture was traditionally used, a piece of land was exploited for several years, then they moved to a new plot. It makes no sense to even take the garbage with you, neither grandchildren nor great-grandchildren will return to this site. Such is the nomadic agriculture of Northern Rus'.
The main construction in Rus' is wooden; the life span is 50-100 years. There is no point in repairing old huts, it is much easier to install a new one, since there were no problems with the material. Catherine II arranged a city reform: she forbade the construction of office buildings from wood and allocated subsidies for brick factories.
People have lived for a thousand years in a culture where values did not accumulate - we are 70-90% descendants of peasants, and the communal way of life did not give rights to land and distributed income according to needs (by mouth).
Culture is always an echo of the experience of previous generations.