The sandy beach of the Gulf of Finland near Sestroretsk, a place where flows a tiny river Small Sister.
The lower reaches of the river can be accessed by a bumpy, sandy road, if the time to collapse from the Primorskoye highway to the sea. To the shore from the highway — about two miles, and on the left side is the channel of a Rusty Gutter.
Rusty in places, the Ditch turns into a narrow trickle of water reddish-brown. Very close to the sea channel connects with the Small Sister, right by the sea is a small pedestrian bridge.
Hard to believe, but this is the South-Eastern point of independent Finland in 1917. Along the Sestra river and the canal Rusty Ditch the border of Finland up to 1940.
During the continuation War (Soviet-Finnish war of 1941-1944) the Finns for a few years was able to return to its old border, which has witnessed trench warfare and fierce battles. When continuation War ended with the defeat of Finland in 1944, Finland finally lost my old border and the vast territory on the Karelian isthmus, starting from Vyborg.
It took 15 years before the Finns again have the opportunity to at least look at this border area in 1958 under the careful supervision of the Russian side was renewed tourist trips to Vyborg and Leningrad.
Looks like the old border now? From here in good weather, Kronshtadt and the twinkling lights of St. Petersburg. Too close location to St. Petersburg led, eventually, to the “righting historical wrongs”, as expressed by President Vladimir Putin in 2013.
“Still, the state border was in 17-20 kilometers from St. Petersburg is, in General, quite a large threat to the city of five million. I think that the Bolsheviks of that time tried to correct the historical mistakes they had done in 1917,” said Putin, hinting in an interview, as Finland was allowed to become independent with the preservation of the borders of the Grand Duchy of Finland.
When reporters Ilta-Sanomat was looking for old border last summer, they attracted the attention of sun worshippers on the beach, which was not the threads of the clothing. Some gladly chatted with a journalist and photographer.
“This beach belongs to the St. Petersburg nudists and naturists. We are still here sunbathing, although officials are doing everything to interfere with us,” said Lena stripped us naked, while Joe threw off his clothes.
“The sun gives such awesome power, you stay young, and skin aging, as many claim. Just look at my skin — it’s okay!”
According to Russian data, nudists captured the shore at the old state borders already in the 1960s, when the culture of nudity was still forbidden in the USSR. In Communist East Germany was fond of nudism. Soviet citizens liked the idea, and they decided to base their community on the dunes near the old border, in spite of the raids of the police.
Now, few of the residents of St. Petersburg knows that the river Sister passed the old state border, but the name “Dune”, many associated with nudist beach. In Soviet times, on the old border the beach many worked the sanatorium “dune”, some of which have turned into abandoned ruins.
Border posts are gone
At the nudist beach there was a period of prosperity after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Bank was assigned in 1992 an official status. In the heyday of free-thinking in Russia on the beaches on both banks of the river Malaya Sister sunbathed naked a thousand people.
In 2013, the coast began a strange change. Like preparing the territory to a large construction project, here came the shovels to clear and to strengthen the shore with a rock. A year later on the beach drew the attention of the state Duma Deputy Vitaly Milonov, who is known as the founder of the law banning propaganda of homosexuality and an active participant in the disputes about the withdrawal of Russian children in Finland.
Milonov demanded to close a nudist beach and chase the sun away from the eyes of decent people. At the same time, work continued on the development of banks that were obviously conducted with a view to landscapes, favorite naturists, disappeared.
During the construction works on the river Bank was done a strange disappearing act items. The old border post No. 1, standing on the sandy shore, and border post No. 2, standing away from the river, disappeared in the spring of 2013.
We are talking about an old stone boundary marks of Russia and Finland, on which were carved the year: 1910. Then they marked the border between tsarist Russia and the Grand Duchy of Finland.
When Finland became independent, such boundary pillars were to mark the new boundary. And when the state of the Bolsheviks became in 1922 the Soviet Union, border pillars were carved the letters “USSR”.
At first we all thought that someone just stole border posts. When the naturists have raised a fuss over the incident, officials have begun to give various explanations. It was alleged that the workers, to strengthen the river Bank, by mistake dug up the posts, not realizing their historical value.
There are still different theories about why the border posts were dug. Now they are safe and are in Museum “Sestroretsk boundary” at a few kilometers from the river.
“It is a pity that the border posts are not on its historical place. But it’s good that they are generally rescued”, — says Dmitry Cuttings, fascinated by the history of the region.
When border posts were still standing at their old place, some of the naturists were perceived as treasure. There were those who didn’t care.
“From St. Petersburg, for example, could come the nudists that hang on poles his clothes.”
The Director of the Museum “Sestroretsk boundary” Oleg Bushko makes it clear that the digging up of boundary pillars has been carefully thought out by officials of the rescue operation.
“People were lying on the shore next to the posts, excuse me, in the buff. Therefore, it is better they were to move here,” says Bushko.
Now the pillars adorn the entrance to the Museum under the open sky, and the little signs telling about their history.
Arrest for nudity
But what will happen to the Bank in the coming years, where even the old boundary pillars no longer reminiscent of the former border with Finland? Sister river now flows through the territory of St. Petersburg and the city expands.
Now under construction, at least one big multi-storey complex near the sea. According to naturists, it seems, will be here to build houses for the rich and powerful Russians and their relatives, because no one but them could not get permission to build so close to the shore.
However, naturists continue their fight with the Russian officials and they are not going to abandon its shores. About the open struggle for power, says a sign prohibiting sunbathe without clothes. Violation of the prohibition is punishable by an administrative arrest of 15 days.
Someone, however, tried to erase the signs most important words: “to be naked”. In the list of bans left only one distinguishable word: “smoke”.