Myshkin (2012)

In 2012 I visited Myshkin, a small town near Yaroslavl that was demoted to a village by the Communists and then re-promoted back to a town by Yeltsin in the 1990s. Dostoevsky's brother lived for some time in Myshkin, which is why the main character of his novel The Idiot was named Myshkin. Nowadays Myshkin seems to be dependent largely on riverboat tourists who come see all the items around town related to mice.

That last photo was taken in a so-called mouse museum, and the writing on the top of the wall is a joke. Instead of the communist slogan "Workers of the world, unite", it says "Mice of the world, unite in Myshkin!".

The vodka distiller Peter Smirnov was born in Myshkin, and there is a museum about him that apparently offers tastings at the end of the tour:

Unfortunately, the museum was closed when I stopped by.

There was a retro-automobile festival during my visit, and among the cars there were a couple of Fords.

Woody Harrelson was at the festival, studying for his next role. The beard was hardly a disguise, since the eyes give him away.

One of the actors in the movie Cars was also there.

Elsewhere I saw a US school bus from Belleville, Indiana.


In one of the non-mice museums in Myshkin was a poster for the Russian-American Triangle rubber company, which was founded in 1860 and had a huge red-brick factory in St. Peterburg.

Some of this company's ads (e.g., for galoshes) can be found among the old Russian advertisements at the start of this page. I was surprised to see among these ads one for cocoa from the Einem chocolate company in Moscow with a nurse who looks just like the one in the ads for Droste cocoa. The Einem ad is from 1897, while the one from Droste appeared around 1900 according to the company's website (see one of the later paragraphs). Droste says their nurse was inspired by the Swiss painting here, but the Einem nurse looks a lot more compelling as the source. (Update: On this page it says the original Droste nurse image has a red cross, which makes the resemblance to the earlier Einem nurse even stronger.)