ain't no Houellebecq girl (yiskah) wrote in little_details,
ain't no Houellebecq girl

A few questions about Russia in the 1930s/1940s

Hello little_details, you have been extremely helpful to me in the past, and now I have some (hopefully final!) questions for you about the novel I am writing. It's broadly set in Leningrad between the 1920s and 1940s, though I will be more specific in terms of timing in my individual questions. I have done a lot of research (internet-based and book-based) and so the questions I have remaining tend to be the sorts of things that require quite in-depth cultural knowledge. However I shall try and be as specific as possible about what I've tried searching!

1. What would soldiers in 1941/42 have smoked? The reading I have done has variously suggested Belomorkanals, some sort of generic papirosa, or cigarettes rolled from a tobacco ration - which is most likely? I have one character in particular who is a chain smoker: young (early 20s), peasant background, very competent soldier, swiftly promoted during the early days of the war. What would he have smoked?

2. I'm not sure quite how to phrase this, but I was hoping that someone might be able to suggest some generic Russian place names? I have two fictional villages and one fictional town that I would like to give names that don't link them to any real, specific location but which sound like they could be places. Something invented but convincing in sound, or a very common village name (e.g. like Newport in English) would suffice. Does anyone have any ideas?

3. Is there any way to find out what the programme of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra would have been in 1935, under Fritz Stiedry? I have googled all sorts of combinations of "Leningrad philharmonic programme 1935" but haven't come up with anything useful, so I suspect there's nothing available in English. I can read enough Cyrillic to puzzle out any Russian language resources though, if anyone has any ideas.

4. When I posted here about a year ago (still working on the same novel, sigh), one of my questions was about the names of various places in St Petersburg / Leningrad at different points in history, as I'm aware that they changed a lot. Someone linked me to this site, which is helpful but doesn't seem to be complete; I also found this site, which helpfully lists the old and new names of streets, but not the dates when they changed. I would love it if someone could let me know whether the (modern day) names of the following streets were the same in 1941/42:
- Dvortsovaya Ploshchad
- Ulitsa Marata
- Ulitsa Pravda

5. How would an ordinary person refer to Stalin in 1942, without wishing to be too respectful or too disrespectful? Yahoo Answers (which I found after googling "how was Stalin referred to") suggests "Comrade Stalin", but...well, it's Yahoo Answers, and I'd rather a more informed opinion! Plus while I gather that not calling him "Comrade" was very dangerous during peacetime, a lot of my reading implies that the war enabled people to speak more freely than they were able to during peacetime, so I'm not sure if that would have made a difference.

6. Finally, is there anyone who has a strong knowledge of music theory, who might be able to tell me how musicians would describe one or two things that happen in some pieces of music (in terms of chord progressions etc.)? I don't even know where to start googling this, and I'm afraid my own musical theory is far too long ago to be useful now! I will go into more detail if someone is willing to help on this, but the two pieces in question are the Tuba Mirum from Mozart's Requiem, and the third movement of Shostakovich's 7th Symphony.

Thank you so much!
Tags: 1940-1949, russia (misc), russia: government, russia: history, ~cigarettes, ~music: classical music

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