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erotic museum 'remembers' rasputin

Published: August 6, 2004 (Issue # 992)



  • The Prostatology Centre and Erotic Museum originator, Dr Igor Knyazkin, stands in the company of friends.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

An Erotic Museum in the middle of St. Petersburg? The metal plaque with the admittedly artistic, yet nonetheless raunchy logo of a 19th century professor-type and three naked ladies inter-linking their limbs at splendid angles, certainly causes a double-take as one strolls along Furshtatskaya Ulitsa. Yet, it is apparently a sign of the times.

For years, the Moscow mausoleum had chosen to preserve the country's great communist leader, Vladimir Lenin, doused in a balsam solution. Now, in a St. Petersburg prostatology clinic, which doubles up as Russia's first and only Erotic Museum, it is the genitalia of the great mythic healer (also drunk and disreputable debaucher) Grigory Rasputin, that is being preserved inside a jar.

This pickled member is just one of the 10,000 toys, statues, and figurines representing human private parts in the collection of Dr. Igor Knyazkin, the head doctor and originator of the Prostatology Center and its Erotic Museum. During the five years of the museums' existence, the collection has grown so substantial that only a tenth of it is on display at the clinic.

"The goal was not to shock anybody," explains Head of Research at the clinic, Dr. Gleb Gurko. "Men and women who come to us are gloomy and embarrassed. To have to come to a doctor has already made them feel uncomfortable. Then they arrive, they see these cheerful exhibits and their mood lightens. When they start to tell the doctor about their ailment they are already at ease and it is much simpler to get the problems understood and sorted."

Strolling around, it is unclear where the clinic ends and the museum begins, so opulently are the corridors, shelves, and walls adorned with tantalizing images. Even the toilet's decor, as well as wall mirrors, includes "Toilet.Cam" posters depicting all the titillation a mind may desire to see in a cubicle.

With such a palette for the inquiring mind, how does a patient remember what brought them here?

"Oh, our staff are very professional," comments Gurko, as a smiling nurse in a short white uniform dress walks by. "But, generally, many of our patients show a positive interest in the exhibits, asking questions about them, where they are from, and so on. Some people also ask if they too can donate something to the collection, postcards or some figurine or toy that they appropriated on their travels."

Although feedback from patients and the museum's visitors have been overwhelmingly positive, there have been extreme cases.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Jan. 30 through Wednesday, Feb. 4



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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