Moscow Roofers

By Slava Tsukerman

There are seven high-rise buildings (“seven sisters”) in Moscow, built in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.   People usually call them “Stalin’s skyscrapers”. The tallest of them (240 meters, 36 floors) is the main building of Moscow State University, built in 1953. Until recently it was the tallest building in Moscow.

The building is crowned by a spire with a star in a chaplet of ears of wheat. This gigantic star weighs 12 tons. The star has a special history. According to the project, instead of the spire and the star the building was supposed to be crowned with a sculpture of the founder of the Moscow University – Michael Lomonosov. But Stalin personally made an order to put spires with stars on the top of all the Moscow skyscrapers.

In Russia today there is a semi–underground movement of so called “roofers”, young people whose hobby is getting to roofs of the tallest buildings, factory stacks and jibs of tower cranes without use of any special equipment. The star of the Moscow University for years was an object of dreams of “roofers”.

But getting there seemed to be impossible. To reach the spire one should use a separate elevator with a combination lock. There is a whole bunch of sensors and cameras plus a military watchman on duty near the exit from the elevator.  The special equipment of the Armed forces of the Russian Federation, the Federal Security Service and the Government communications Services is located under the star.

Nevertheless not long ago two young Muscovites, Vitally Raskalov and his friend from Novosibirsk Vadim Mahorov, with the risk to their lives finally managed to to realize the dream. Nobody knows how they did it.

The case is unique. Young photographers were expecting punishment, but instead the Vice–Rector of the Moscow University had sent them official letter asking for permission to use their stills in the University booklets and calendars.

Here are some of their photos:

Meanwhile, at the MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY said: what happened, this is not an ordinary case, but panic about this while no one picks up. And Vadim Mahorov and even admitted that he was expecting a “formal”, but the other day he wrote Deputy Vice-Rector of MSU to use photos of the University in booklets and calendars

Updated: September 15, 2012 — 9:31 am © 2016