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Metro Station's Opening Canceled Over Violent Murals

A mural in the Dostoyevskaya metro station of a man killing two women with an ax. The station's planned Saturday opening has been delayed indefinitely amid concerns that its Fyodor Dostoevsky-themed murals are too violent. Roman Vukolov

The opening of a Moscow metro station dedicated to 19th-century writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, notorious for the gloomy atmosphere of his novels, has been postponed indefinitely amid a flap over its violent murals.

One marble mural in the Dostoyevskaya station, which was to open Saturday on the north end of the Light Green Line, depicts a young man killing two women with an ax, while another shows a man holding a gun to his temple.

Pictures of the murals, which illustrate the plots of Dostoevsky's novels and are made from black and gray marble, have ignited a storm of controversy after first being posted on a LiveJournal blog on April 29.

"There have been observations that the murals are too gloomy and aggressive," a Moscow metro official said Thursday, explaining the decision to delay the station's opening, RIA-Novosti reported.

A leading Moscow psychologist, Mikhail Vinogradov, warned that the murals could make the station a popular place to commit suicide, Rosbalt reported.

Bloggers, commenting on the LiveJournal pictures, have called them "grim" and "suicidal."

The ax-wielding scene is a nod to Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment,” which tells about student Rodion Raskolnikov who is in dire need of money and kills a pawnbroker and her sister with an ax.

In the novel, Dostoevsky debates whether a murder can be justified if it is committed for the good of many people.

Saturday's opening of the Dostoyevskaya station had been planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Moscow metro. The opening was previously postponed last year.

Another station, Marina Roshcha, next to Dostoyevskaya, was also supposed to open Saturday but was also indefinitely postponed for unclear reasons, RIA-Novosti reported.

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