Local District Kupchino Gets Historical Treatment
Neglected and often ridiculed, Kupchino is the subject of a new book that takes a different approach to the district.
Published: February 5, 2014 (Issue # 1796)
Kupchino, an area in the south of St. Petersburg that emerged as a Soviet residential “mini-district” in the mid-1960s and is now mostly filled with typical Soviet houses, has never been seen as deserving much attention from historians. The publication of a book to mark its 50th anniversary has effectively given the first serious glimpse into its history.
Called “Kupchino. Four Centuries of History. 50 Years of the Present,” it was written by local resident Denis Shalyapin. Shalyapin is a professional breakdown van driver who lives on Bukharestskaya Ulitsa, once the district’s longest street.
“I was born where I live, in the 12th residential zone (kvartal) of northern Kupchino, near the music school, which didn’t exist then. I am three years younger than Kupchino,” he said.
Shalyapin refers to himself as an amateur researcher, saying that he produced the book because there were only a handful of articles but not a single book about the district. “I have no degree in the arts. If someone writes a better book, it will only make me happy,” he said. “I see my book as a call to historians who know the subject.”
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In 2007, Shalyapin launched a website, kupsilla.ru, dedicated to his district.
“It can be said that the book has grown out of the website,” he said. “The website has more pictures, and they are in color. There is also more text there. The book is a compressed version [of the site].”
Covering the history of the district, the book also serves as a guide to Kupchino, describing every street in the district according to Shalyapin, who said that the definitions of the borders of both the streets and district are his own and sometimes differ from official records.
The history of modern Kupchino began in the early 1960s, when the extensive construction of uniform residential panel houses started under a construction program launched by the then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. According to Shalyapin, the first five-story panel building (“Khrushchyovka”) was built on Budapeshtskaya Ulitsa in 1964.
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