Future of Nightlife on Dumskaya in Question
Published: October 9, 2013 (Issue # 1781)
The bars along Dumskaya Ulitsa, which runs down the side of Gostiny Dvor, were once popular gathering places for expats and young Russians alike. The shootings that took place in the neighborhood on Sept. 21, however, may have permanent consequences for local nightlife. A United Russia deputy has urged the closing of all the nightclubs in the city in the aftermath of the shooting while the police conduct heavy-handed inspections of the bars and clubs in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, the attackers remain at large.
With most of the nightclubs and bars on Dumskaya Ulitsa closed or having had operations suspended in the wake of a shooting, the shape of nightlife in central St. Petersburg may soon look very different.
During the past weekend only the bars Fidel and Belgrad, owned by musicians Anton Belyankin and Andrei Gradovich, were open, with another dozen venues remaining closed, including the pioneering indie bar Datscha.
According to the management of Fidel and Belgrad, the two bars have leases that expire in Jan. 2014. Other venues in the same building either have yet to renew their rental agreements or have a properly licensed firm to provide security. Reports say that the owners of the building have announced plans to raise the rent.
A source at one of the Dumskaya Ulitsa venues said that conflicts similar to the shooting that took place at the end of September had happened before, with security that refused entry to apparently rowdy men, receiving threats or even being attacked. The difference this time was the scale of the attack, which is believed to have involved up to 30 people firing “traumatic” firearms and shouting “Allah Akbar.” This is also the first time that a video of such an incident was made available on the Internet.
“Moscow police commissioners saw the video and tore the local police chief to shreds,” the source told The St. Petersburg Times on condition of anonymity. The result has been increased scrutiny and raids on the venues by police.
According to the source, the attack took place three days after an incident where several men were denied entry to the Poison karaoke bar. Security guards, who were boxers rather than employees of a proper security firm, allegedly beat the men.
Three nights later, when the same bouncers were on duty, a group of about 30 men arrived at the club and began shooting the guards and patrons of Poison and the nearby bar Quarenghi. After the guards returned fire, the attackers fled along Ulitsa Lomonosova in the direction of Apraksin Dvor market, according to eyewitness reports, and video footage of the incident posted online. The media said the attackers were of North Caucasian origin.
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