Virtual Dostoevsky Day!

Dostoevsky Day is coming! The first Saturday in July, every July since 2010, the Dostoevsky Museum in St Petersburg has hosted Dostoevsky Day, a celebration of Dostoevsky’s life, works, and characters that has come to be a beloved annual festival in the city. The scheduled day is a reference to the beginning of Crime and Punishment, which starts on a hot day in early July.

If you’re not familiar with Dostoevsky Day, you can catch performances from years past on the event’s YouTube Channel, or check out photos on their Facebook or Vkontakte. In the past, though, the best way to experience Dostoevsky Day has always been to attend Dostoevsky Day (OR to read Tomi Haxhi’s eye witness account of the 2017 Dostoevsky Day celebration).

But in this year of global pandemic, the festival is moving online, so you can catch it from anywhere in the world. Plus! Given the Russian time zone, some of the events will be especially well-timed for North Americans experiencing insomnia. You can find the complete schedule online, but for those who can’t read Russian, here’s what you can expect to happen and when:


Friday, July 3 – The day BEFORE


3pm St Petersburg (8am Eastern, 5am Pacific)

“Dostoevsky as a Brand” documentary film (streaming on the Stremiannaia Library vkontakte page)


Saturday, July 4 – The DAY – official events


10am St Petersburg (3am Eastern, midnight Pacific)

“20 Addresses of Dostoevsky in 2020” Instagram tour (via #20адресовДостоевского2020 hashtag on Instagram)


from 12pm St Petersburg (5am Eastern, 2am Pacific)

Lectures on Dostoevsky from leading scholars (via the official Dostoevsky Day YouTube channel):

  • 12pm: Natalia Ashimbaeva, “Dostoevsky and his young contemporaries”
  • 12:15pm: Boris Tikhomirov, “Dostoevsky’s first Petersburg address”
  • 12:45pm: Maria Mikhnovets, “Did Dostoevsky live on ul. Dostoevskogo?”
  • 1:15pm: Natalia Chernova, “The literary sensibilities of Dostoevsky’s heroes”

from 2:30pm St Petersburg (7:30am Eastern, 4:30am Pacific)

Video tours of Dostoevsky’s Petersburg from leading scholars (via the official Dostoevsky Day YouTube channel):

  • 2:30pm: Alexandra Chernyshovaia, “Dostoevsky on Vladimirsky Square: the writer’s place in the city”
  • 3:30pm: Maria Mikhnovets, “Raskolnikov in the city: why can crime only happen in St Petersburg?”

7pm St Petersburg (12pm Eastern, 9am Pacific)

Preview of the FMD Theatre’s new production (via the official Dostoevsky Day YouTube channel)


8pm St Petersburg (1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific)

“Dostoevsky Route” documentary film (15 mins) – this is an event taking place socially distanced in St Petersburg, but the film, which will illustrate a brief episode from the Writer’s Diary — a journey from St Petersburg to Darovoe — will be done in the style of Instagram stories. (more information here)


Saturday, July 4 – The DAY – events in partner museums and libraries


3am St Petersburg (8pm Fri Eastern, 5pm Fri Pacific)

Video-tour of Dostoevsky’s tomb (from the State Museum of Urban Sculpture via YouTube)


from 9am St Petersburg (2am Eastern, 11pm Fri Pacific)

The “Diverse St Petersburg” State Museum is holding a series of virtual tours and events across its website and social media pages. These include events related to: Dostoevsky’s region of Petersburg and locations from the novel The Adolescent, the Feuilleton, and the “music of old Petersburg”, as well as a small (virtual) theatrical event and a photo competition (more info on the museum’s website).


11am St Petersburg (4am Eastern, 1am Pacific)

“An Appointment with Dostoevsky” – a virtual event that highlights Dostoevsky quotes on “the most vital questions” in order to imagine what it would be like if Dostoevsky became a psychologist (from the Central Children’s Library of the Petrograd Side via Vkontakte and Instagram)


12pm St Petersburg (5am Eastern, 2am Pacific)

Quiz on Dostoevsky’s life and works (from the Mikhailovsky Fortress branch of the Russian Museum via Instagram)

Quiz on “Dostoevsky’s world” (from the Nevsky Central Library Branch via Vkontakte)

“Dostoevsky Hour” – a quiz (from the A. S. Pushkin Central District Library via Vkontakte)

Video tour of “Dostoevsky’s Petersburg” (from the O. F. Berggol’ts Library no. 3 via Vkontakte)


3pm St Petersburg (8am Eastern, 5am Pacific)

Virtual guided excursion through the Mikhailovsky Fortress with particular focus on Dostoevsky’s time as an engineering student there (from the Mikhailovsky Fortress branch of the Russian Museum via Instagram)

“The Story of a Crime” – a virtual quest based on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (from the B. A. Lavrenev Library via their VKontakte)


4pm St Petersburg (9am Eastern, 6am Pacific)

“Dostoevsky on the Islands” – an online event organized by the Kirov Islands Library (all taking place via the library’s Vkontakte group) including:

  • a presentation of the book A Look Through Time. Fyodor Dostoevsky: Three Petersburg Novels by author and photographer Yuri Panteleev
  • a quest
  • some short videos

Events organized by the Fyodor Abramov Library (all taking place in the library’s VKontakte group):

  • Dostoevsky’s city in the works of Boris Kostygov: a presentation of an album of architectural and graphic illustrations
  • In the footsteps of Dostoevsky’s heroes: an online-excursion
  • “Beauty will Save the World”: a virtual quiz on Dostoevsky quotes in our lives

“Dostoevsky in self-isolation” an interactive online walk of Dostoevsky places in St Petersburg, organized by the A. S. Pushkin Central District Library (via zoom, registration required – more details on the library’s Vkontakte)


from 10am-6pm St Petersburg (3am-11am Eastern, midnight-8am Pacific)

Events organized by the Alexander Pushkin Central City Children’s Library:

  • a pre-recorded lecture by legal scholar and lawyer S. A. Afanas’ev on “Two Views on Crime and Punishment of Dostoevsky’s Epoch”
  • A video excursion of the merchant A. P. Strubinsky’s house, where Dostoevsky lived for three years while he finished the novel The Adolescent
  • An illustration and book exhibit on “Dostoevsky and his Contemporaries in St Petersburg”
  • An illustration and book exhibit on “Dostoevsky’s Personality in Biographies and Memoirs”
  • A virtual presentation, “Dostoevsky’s Petersburg Studio: The Secret of the Picture’s Gaze”, on the significance of the gaze in Dostoevsky’s work, especially in The Idiot
  • An online test on Diary of a Writer

More information and links out to the events via the library’s website.


from 12-6pm St Petersburg (5-11am Eastern, 2-8am Pacific)

“Dostoevsky Day in the V. I. Lenin Library on the Petrograd Side” – an online program featuring quests, quizzes, and lectures, including:

  • A video excursion of locations important for Dostoevsky on the Petrograd Side
  • A special feature from Lev Lur’e’s book Dostoevsky’s Petersburg
  • A live visit with Dostoevsky’s great-great grandson to find out what it is like to be related to the great author
  • A special team quiz event
  • A feature on illustrations of Dostoevsky’s novels by Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Mikhail Shemyakin, and Ilya Glazunov

Everything will take place online, live (via the YouTube channel of the Petrograd Side Libraries)


Rendered somewhat loosely from Russian into English by Katherine Bowers. Images and text borrowed from the Dostoevsky Day website.

Dr Katherine Bowers is Associate Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is the Vice-President of the North American Dostoevsky Society and Editor of this blog. She has tragically never attended Dostoevsky Day in person, but is very excited about the online events!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s