The problem of the searching or losing of national identity is exacerbated during the war’s and crises periods. Tarusa has been considered for a long time as a power place for the Russian intellectuals who came here in the 19th and 20th centuries. The image of Russia has been created here in painting, prose and poetry for years. What is left now? Facade of empty destroyed houses. Commercial banners with folk ornaments, covering what needs to be carefully hidden from the eyes of tourists.
When a city becomes a museum, the artificially created image of “Russian culture” hides the problems of the present. It becomes an escapism, an attempt to close one’s eyes to reality. The very concept of “Russianness” becomes a construct that the state skillfully manipulates. Walking around Tarusa, I asked myself one question: “Where is the line between imposed, propagandistic and real?”