March 10, 2024

A Rooftop Renegade


A Rooftop Renegade
A legal view of St. Petersburg's skyline. Photo by the author.

St. Petersburg tour guide Konstantin Boyko has been arrested and punished for "illegal entrepreneurship."

The guide reportedly gained unauthorized access to private terraces as part rooftop tours. Boyko had broken numerous locks and electronic security devices to gain access to private rooftops for himself and his patrons.

The Smolninsky District Court alleges that Boyko had obtained R22 million ($242,000) from his trespassing tours. As punishment, Boyko faces two years of probation and a fine of R200,000 ($2200).

St. Petersburg rooftop tours have exploded in popularity in recent years (we reported about them back in 2008). The city's strict building codes have created a relatively squat skyline punctuated by landmarks. This creates a surreal and romantic view from atop many buildings. It's also a view that's highly Instagrammable.

Despite this, the St. Petersburg government has cracked down on these excursions. The tours often trespass and present unsafe situations, with visitors clambering in precarious places to get a good look.

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