Homeless Petersburger: ''I ask guests — aren't there no guides-professionals that you go to a homeless?''
About the unity of Petersburg residents during the tradegy, the ‘’friendship’’ with a ‘’black realtor’’ and the path to the street
One of the heroes of publications related to the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg is a local celebrity — a homeless geographer Vyacheslav Rasner, who a few years ago by coincidence ended up on the street without shelter and residence. He gained fame due to his author's excursions in the Northern capital, which recently have become wildly popular among tourists and residents of St. Petersburg. Realnoe Vremya asked Vyacheslav Romanovich about who deprived him of his living space, how he has endured six harsh winters on the street and whether it is true that he witnessed the tragic events in Saint-Petersburg metro.
''I'm not Philipp Kirkorov, Maksim Galkin, or Alain Delon, but people recognize me on the street''
Vyacheslav Romanovich, how have you become a guide? The Internet is full of admiring comments about your professionalism — where do you have such wealth of knowledge about St. Petersburg from?
I decided that not only guests but also I and St. Petersburg residents should know about the main city street. So I started to go to the library named after Mayakovsky (there is the department of Petersburg studies) to study this field: I went there, developed my own sightseeing tour from the beginning of the Nevsky Street to the last home — to Alexander Nevsky Lavra. I made 25 stories. Then I decided to delve deeper and expanded coverage of the territory.
By the way, once they wanted me to hire me as a tour guide of the museum Osinovetskiy Lighthouse on Lake Ladoga. We went there in September, the director said, ''It's not time for coming — we have a reconstruction now. In October, I will call you.'' Obviously, after September came October, but I never received the promised call.
''I started to go to the library named after Mayakovsky (there is the department of Petersburg studies) to study this field: I went there, developed my own sightseeing tour from the beginning of the Nevsky Street to the last home — to Alexander Nevsky Lavra. I made 25 stories.'' Photo: vk.com
Are there more tourists or locals who take your tours? Are there many who want to walk with you around the city?
Sometimes when I come there is no one, but sometimes they come in large groups. Once 28 people from Yaroslavl came. I asked: ''Aren't there no tour guides-professionals so that you go to a homeless?'' And they answered: ''You know, you have very good feedback on the Internet. Those guides are standard, but with you we have fun.'' I was surprised: I am not Philipp Kirkorov, Maksim Galkin, or Alain Delon, but people recognise me on the street. As for people who come —fifty-fifty. Anyway, I hope that I will continue to conduct excursions.
''I learnt about the incident the next day from a free newspaper''
Vyacheslav Romanovich, in the Network you wrote about the fact that you were near the Technological Institute when the attack occurred. Is it true that you witnessed these terrible events?
At 3 p.m., I'm usually at the metro station Admiralteiskaya, after that I go to Sadovaya and pass to Spasskaya station, so I didn't become a witness — God saved me. Last Sunday, I was going to the temple just through the Institute of Technology: wreaths, flowers on the street and in the halls of the station. People honour the memory.
Actually, I learnt about the incident the next day from a free newspaper in the memorial design.
Many people were delighted at the unity of Petersburg residents, who helped each other on this terrible day. Petersburg was called a special city...
I can definitely agree with that, of course. As Pushkin Aleksandr Sergeyevich wrote: ''All flags will go to us, and we will have a feast in the open.'' Different people of different nationalities united and become one family. Take my example: people paid me for an excursion, and even treated with a soup, a cutlet with cabbage and tea. I think that such support is a hallmark of St. Petersburg.
''I didn't become a witness — God saved me. Last Sunday, I was going to the temple just through the Institute of Technology: wreaths, flowers on the street and in the halls of the station. People honour the memory.'' Photo: Olga Rostovtseva
''After some time I received a utilities bill already on other name...''
Vyacheslav Romanovich, introduce yourself to our reader, tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I was born in the city on the Neva, which at the time was called Leningrad (thank God, they returned the original name). After school, for three years I ''stormed'' the Pedagogical Institute named after Herzen, and in the third year I became a student of the geographical department. Now, by the way, the institute has become university — probably due to the fact that I studied here (laughs). Also, since 1992, I meet with students — I has become a member of the jury of city competition ''The Best young tour guide of the year'', I judge those studying Petersburg at schools.
''I was living in a communal apartment that I turned it into a shelter for homeless animals — barking, biting and meowing, scratching.'' Photo: trud.ru (Rasner playing himself in the play ''The untouchables'')
How did it happen that you ended up on the street?
I was living in a communal apartment that I turned it into a shelter for homeless animals — barking, biting and meowing, scratching. I must pay tribute to them, they all cooperaetd with each other. Bipedal ought to learn from them.
Then the head of administration of my native Admiralty district filed a lawsuit in court to evict me from the apartment, forgetting the words of Alexander Nevsky: ''Whoever will come to us with a sword, from a sword will perish.'' Looking ahead I will tell that the governor then was Valentina Matvienko, who later dismissed that head. The court refused him but ordered me to remove animals from the apartment. Reluctantly, I gave them to a shelter organized by my acquaintance, who in her turn, introduced me to a merchant.
''Give him two rooms in the communal apartment, and the merchant will buy you a separate apartment, but you should register it on your name,'' she told me. I agreed. At a meeting, the merchant asked me to become co-owners and not to tell my acquaintance about it. Of course, I suspected something was wrong, but out of courtesy I agreed.
A little later I became friends with a neighbour who for some reason asked me to register his nephew in my apartment. I turned him down, but he forged the signature of my co-owner who gifted me a half, got my signature, and after some time I received a utilities bill already on the name of some lady. The co-owner and I sued, he gained back his half, but I couldn't. My judge said, ''Why did you turned to a black realtor like to a friend?'', but my arguments about that I did it in order there was no violence in my apartment did not convince them. So I found myself on the street — I left the apartment out of safety purposes.
''Tourists pay money for excursions, sometimes give food and clothes, they help. You know, strangers that I don't know treat me more humanely than my relatives who do not want to communicate with me. They don't care.'' Photo: vk.com
Was a criminal case opened? Are there any results?
They did. By the way, just recently I was going to subway and got stopped by my namesake Vyacheslav — a lawyer from Nochlezhka, who said that the criminal case on my apartment has been resumed. I have no other information. If I did not meet Vyacheslav, I still would not know anything. I'll contact him and find out more details.
How hard is it to survive on the streets of St. Petersburg?
Six winters on the street and no ARD — God warms me. Now I am being sheltered by an old lady who boasts of the fact that she's of the same age as the Great Patriotic War, which, as you know, began at 4.00 am on June 22, 1941. Tourists pay money for excursions, sometimes give food and clothes, they help. You know, strangers that I don't know treat me more humanely than my relatives who do not want to communicate with me. They don't care.