Bolshoy Dom

Historic Building in Smolny & Vosstaniya

Noi Trotsky’s monolithic design for the local KGB headquarters (and currently the St Petersburg headquarters of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, its successor organisation) is referred to by everyone as the ‘Bolshoy Dom’ or ‘Big House’. It’s a fierce-looking block of granite built in 1932 in the late-constructivist style and was once a byword for fear among the people of the city: most people who were taken here during the purges were never heard from again. Obviously, the building is not open to the public.

Employees who have worked here include Vladimir Putin during his KGB career. The Bolshoy Dom made the news in 2010, when the subversive art collective Voina (War) drew a 65m-long penis on the nearby Liteyny Bridge, which, when the bridge was raised, made a very clear statement towards the FSB.