Deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Pavel Krupnik proposes to approve tourist routes in the historical center of the Northern capital, where horse-drawn carriages can move. At the same time, he asks to conduct an “inventory” of the animals that are used in this work, and monitor their condition. He wrote about this in an appeal to the relevant vice-governor Boris Piotrovsky, which is at the disposal of the editors of the Parliamentary Newspaper.
Periodically arising incidents with horses have divided St. Petersburg residents into two camps: some believe that it is time to ban the so-called ride-on riders who ride tourists on horseback and in carriages around the busy metropolis, others are convinced that the entourage of imperial grandeur must be preserved for tourists.
Pavel Krupnik found a compromise solution. In his address to Piotrovsky, he acknowledged that horse excursion trips are very popular among tourists. “Certainly, traveling in a carriage among palaces and historic mansions creates for visitors an “immersion effect” in the era of the imperial grandeur of St. Petersburg,” the parliamentarian wrote.
But at the same time, Krupnik pointed out, the city has long been a modern metropolis with heavy traffic and its own business life. Therefore, following horse-drawn carts on public roads often creates inconvenience for motorists and public transport. Moreover, accidents with carriages are not uncommon.
For the sake of safety, in his opinion, the sphere of horse transportation should leave the “gray zone” of the tourism industry. The deputy asks the official to consider the idea of developing special historical horse-drawn tourist routes that will not create additional danger on the streets and become an annoying hindrance to traffic.
“Moreover, I ask you to also consider the possibility of conducting training sessions on safety and first aid with horse ride operators. I also consider it expedient to conduct an audit of transportation operators for compliance with veterinary standards for the maintenance of the horses themselves and the conditions for their use, ”the appeal says.
The deputy is confident that such a set of measures will increase the safety of citizens and save the business of horseback riding excursions, and after it, jobs. Yes, and protect the horses themselves from abuse and poor care.
Ridiculous and tragic
The market for horse riding and excursions cannot be called chaotic. It was regulated back in 1999, when the then governor Vladimir Yakovlev issued order No. 804-r “On measures to streamline the operation and movement of horse-drawn, horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles, mopeds and roller vehicles in St. Petersburg.” The appendix contains a list of streets on which, by decision of the traffic police, the movement of horse-drawn vehicles is limited. These are Nevsky and Moskovsky prospects, Palace embankment, Liteiny prospect, Sadovaya street and a number of others. But such measures were clearly not enough. Otherwise, ridiculous and tragic cases would not have happened with enviable regularity in St. Petersburg.
The latest incident occurred in the midst of the New Year holidays right on Palace Square – on January 2, a man decided to ride a horse harnessed to a carriage. The animal was frightened and threw off the rider, after which the horses, together with the carriage, rushed into the crowd gathered in the square. As a result, two children and their father were injured.
On August 13, 2022, a horse harnessed to a carriage was frightened by fireworks in St. Isaac’s Square and rushed off. She rushed from St. Isaac’s Square to Vitebsky Station, ignoring traffic lights and knocking down girls on the way, who were sitting on the veranda of a cafe at the corner of Voznesensky Prospekt and Malaya Morskaya Street – they ended up on the sidewalk. Parked cars were also damaged, on the sides of which a carriage passed.
On December 10, 2020, a horse bit off the nose of a 25-year-old man who climbed drunk to kiss her. At the same time, another incident took place on St. Isaac’s Square: two riders tried to drive up to the main entrance to the Mariinsky Palace. The guards did not know what to do, and the riders behaved unpredictably and aggressively.
The most terrible incident happened on July 20, 2007. The five-year-old daughter of the mayor of Sochi, Viktor Kolodyazhny, who was sitting on the goats, flew out from the blow when a “nine” drove into the carriage on the Palace Embankment. The girl was hit by wheels, was seriously injured and died the next day.
A few years ago, the deputy Aleksey Tsivilev tried to correct the situation. He is a supporter of adjusting traffic rules so that in cities with a population of more than 100 thousand inhabitants, the appearance of cattle on public roads becomes impossible in principle – only in parks. Such a project was once proposed by the Ministry of Transport, but the idea was never realized. Also, according to Tsivilev, sign 3.8 “Movement of horse-drawn carts is prohibited” can be hung on the central highways.
• Street musicians in St. Petersburg will become younger
First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Vladimir Burmatov believes that horseback riding is a cynical and in fact tourists do not need a business in which he sees absolutely no positive components. Although carriage rides are fashionable not only in St. Petersburg, but also in other historical cities. For example, in Suzdal.
“We need to clean up this business with a strong-willed decision, as they once dealt with wild taxi drivers at the airport, who circled there like kites. These are excuses that Petersburg without carriages is not Petersburg. The city does not benefit from this. People do not come to Palace Square or St. Isaac’s Cathedral to look at pooping horses. The constant presence of waste products does not add to the charm of the city center. You need to get rid of this. Therefore, I am categorically against such activities,” the deputy says.
Vladimir Burmatov gave an argument in defense of horses. He believes that it is impossible to create normal conditions for the animal in the city center throughout the day and in any weather.
“What do we see? In frosts, with wind, under the sun, in heat, day and night, the most intensive exploitation of horses takes place, which also suffer from the fact that they move on asphalt. There are no shelters or protection from rain or winds. This is a very cynical business, most likely affiliated with law enforcement agencies – otherwise it would not exist. There is no tourist component here. This is just a business built on the cruel exploitation of animals, ”concluded the State Duma deputy.