01 August 2017 |NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO | Russia Beyond the Headlines
Washington’s access to Moscow’s buildings is shrinking as the Russian government reacts to U.S. sanctions, but the buildings rented by America throughout the ages certainly have stories to tell, from extravagant balls to grenade attacks.
1. Spaso House
“There have been a number of lavish receptions held in Spaso House. One of the most memorable involved a bear half-cut on champagne and 100 zebra finches.” Valeriy Yevseyev/U.S. Embassy Moscow
This lavish, neoclassical building has served as the official residence of U.S. ambassadors in Russia since 1933. It was built in 1913 by the richest Russian industrialist of the time, Nikolay Vtorov.
There have been a number of lavish receptions held in Spaso House. One of the most memorable involved a bear half-cut on champagne and 100 zebra finches (“rented” by Ambassador William Bullitt from Moscow Zoo) flying freely around the building after escaping from their aviary. The famous writer Mikhail Bulgakov was in attendance and the scene apparently inspired the chapter about “The Spring Ball of the Full Moon” (“Satan’s ball”) in his iconic novel The Master and Margarita. We’re pretty sure no decayed corpses fell through the fireplace during the reception though…
The likes of Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ray Charles – among others – have all graced the property with their presence.
Address: 10 Spasopeskovskaya Square
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