What did the sign “FREEDOM FROM STANDING” mean on Moscow houses?
Walking along Maroseyka , on the left pylon of the gate of the former Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky estate (today the Embassy of Belarus is here), you can see a sign with the inscription “FREE FROM STANDING” and then “MYASNITS. HOUR. 3rd QUART. “
What does that mean?
To answer the question, let’s fast forward a couple of centuries ago, when in Russia there was a compulsory fixed-term or apartment service.
Regardless of the rank of the landlord and his position in society, he was charged with admitting officers or ordinary soldiers who were in the city on a permanent basis or during their temporary stay.
It is easy to imagine that such a duty was a difficult test for the owners of the courtyards, because most of the military were not inherent in meekness and sophistication of manners: they boozed, took walking girls to their place, made noise, and the premises they left were miserable.
Only during the reign of Emperor Paul, did the townspeople have the opportunity to “pay off” this obligation. For this, the owners of the households had to contribute a certain amount for the construction of barracks, the first of which was the Pokrovsky barracks.
So that the officers and soldiers arriving in the city would no longer bother the owners of the houses who had paid the costs of arranging the places of residence of the military personnel, the city authorities allowed them to hang information signs “Free from standing” on the facades or pylons of the gates.
In the foreground is the gate with pylons of the Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky estate on Maroseyka
As for the second part of the inscription (“Myasnits. Hour. 3rd quarter.”), Thus, until 1908, the address of the household was indicated. Then it was not the street and house number we are used to, but an indication of the police unit of this area, the quarter number of its zone of responsibility and only then the house number itself (in this case, the latter was not indicated).
Unfortunately, the sign on Maroseyka is the only one in Moscow that has survived to our time.