Historama, October 20

Deadliest football match in Russia and oddest initiative of Peter the Great are recalled in tonight’s Historama.

Hundreds of people killed in stampede at Moscow stadium

On this day in 1982, football fans were crushed on the stairs of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

This was the greatest tragedy in the history of Soviet sport.

According to the official data, 66 people were killed but witnesses believe the number of victims was around 340. This information was kept strictly confidential for seven years.

The stampede happened due to poor organization and space planning. A huge crowd was trapped in a small space, crushing some people.

The police reportedly pushed people away and would not help those hurt.

Read more on this event in Russian history

Greatest Russian innovator forbids up-to-date construction

On this day in 1714, Peter the Great prohibited stone construction in the country except St. Petersburg, which was meant to be built only out of stone.

It was a simple strategy to strip masons of their work and lure them to the new capital.

As usual in Russia, this was a good theory that went wrong in practice. People started building wooden houses, plastering them and then painting them to look like they were made of brick.

They hoped that the emperor would not notice while driving past at great speed. Most of the time that worked.

­Russia’s would-be patron saint takes monastic vows

Today in 1341, a young Russian church-disciple took monastic vows.

He went on to become one of Russia’s most venerated saints – Sergius of Radonezh.

The first thing he did was found a small church in a forest outside Moscow – now the famous Trinity St. Sergius Larva.

St. Sergius also blessed Prince Dmitry Donskoy before he went to fight the Tatars. The Prince’s victory was a crucial step towards finally defeating the Tartars.

­First days of Moscow’s most famous circus

On this day back in 1880, Moscow’s famous circus on Tsvetnoi Boulevard was opened.

At first, it was attended only by rich Muscovites, but then its director lowered ticket prices for less popular seats so that everyone could come and enjoy the show.

The circus remained a favourite attraction for generations of Soviet kids.

Now it bears the name of one of its directors – Yury Nikulin, the renowned Soviet actor.His statue can be seen outside the building.

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