Historama, October 18

Cold shower for Chekhov’s legendary play and a very long sleep for capricious Alaska made up this day in Russian history.

“Seagull” goes to the dogs

On this day in 1896, critics bashed Anton’s Chekhov’s play “The Seagull,” which premiered at the Aleksandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.

Chekhov was devastated and swore never to write drama again.

It is believed that the play’s failure was due to the original staging.

Two years later, the play was put on again, this time in the Moscow Art Theater. The play was such a success it became the theater’s trademark. Even their logo is now a seagull silhouette.

Read more on this event in Russian history

Alaskans get 12-day-long sleep

On this day in 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the US.

Alaska was discovered in 1732 by a Russian expedition. It was the only Russian territory in North America.

The emperor sold it to the US for $7.2 million.

Interestingly enough, this affected the date in Alaska.

Under Russian rule, Alaska followed the Julian calendar, but it switched to the Gregorian calendar when America bought it.

That meant that Alaskans went to sleep on October 6 and woke up on October 18.

­Work starts on church commemorating assassinated emperor

On this day in 1883, the foundation of the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood was laid in St. Petersburg.

Two years previously, on that very spot, Tsar Alexander II was mortally wounded by an explosive device thrown by an anarchist. The emperor died several hours later. The church commemorates the sad event.

The building, with its multi-colored domes, differs from all other cathedrals in the city and remains one of the most popular tourist attractions.

­Japan arrests Richard Sorge on charges of USSR espionage

Today back in 1941, probably the most famous Soviet spy, Richard Sorge, was arrested in Tokyo.

Sorge was a German communist, who worked in Japan collecting data for the USSR’s leadership.

He is particularly famous for predicting the beginning of Germany’s attacks in June.

He also informed Stalin that Japan was not going to attack the Soviet Union in the East, which is why the Soviet Union was able to concentrate all its military resources in the West.

Several months later Richard Sorge was arrested by the Japanese, charged with espionage and executed. The Soviet Union acknowledged Sorge only in 1964.

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