Is the Bulgakov House in danger?

September 15, 2009

The Bulgakov House in Moscow, the most sympathetic of the two rival Bul-gakov museums in Bolshaya Sadovaya ulitsa no. 10 in Moscow, celebrated its fifth anniversary this year, and still develops continuously and relentless-ly fascinating and interesting activities. Much more exciting and interesting activities than the official Museum Mikhail Bulgakov that dwells in the same building. The Bulgakov House, founded in 2004, is a very vibrant and active private organization, located on the ground floor. The Museum Mikhail Bul-gakov, which was created in 2007, is an official a museum, but a very se-rious one, colder than the neighbors. But it is located in the original apart-ment No. 50, the Evil Apartment from The Master and Margarita, which certainly attracts some of their visitors her. Juicy detail: the Bulgakov House rents also apartment 51 in the building, next to apartment No. 50 of their rivals. That’s where they organize their children's theatre sand where they store a part of their museum pieces.

But 2009 was not a completely happy anniversary year for the enthusiastic team of volunteers of the Moscow Bulgakov House. The bizarre self-pro-claimed priest Alexander Alexandrovich Morozov, a former policeman from Zagorsk, keeps putting the Bulgakov House under fire with the most incredible harassments.

Aleksander Morozov, who likes to be called Сан Саныч (San Sanich) or Holy Sander, regularly organizes demonstrations against the work of Bul-gakov. He even does not deny that, on December 22, 2006, he broke into the apartment no. 51 with a group of supporters, and that he destroyed a part of the Bulgakov House’s museum collection. Morozov describes him-self as "the principal guardian of the cultural heritage of Russia” and he is chairman of the so-called Fund for the rescue of the monument of history and culture, the House of Bulgakov. Elsewhere on this website you can read more about Holy Sander and his past, like the story with abandonned children in his native town Zagorsk.

Read more about Aleksandr Morozov's past

Arthur Staroverov, a businessman and former tenant in Bolshaya Sadova-ya ulitsa no. 10, remembers that it is not the first time that Сан Саныч ma-kes trouble in the building. He has always had mass claims against other tenants. A few years ago he managed to close down the glamorous restau-rant Teatron which was located on the ground floor. The owner of the res-taurant, as the team of the Bulgakov House now, didn’t take Morozov’s claims seriously, and when she realized she should have, it was too late. Her restaurant had to be closed. "If someone comes trotting with bizarre claims," Staroverov says, “it means that he is missing something. So we decided, with our company, to offer him a three bedroom apartment in ano-ther building. We thought that this ‘poor man’, who lived in a one-room a-partment with his son and mother-in-law would appreciate it. But Morozov refused this generous gift.

Nobody knows how Alexander Morozov managed to do it, but he succeeded in occupying more than one apartment in Bolshaya Sadovaya no. 10. The Управление по борьбе с экономическими преступлениями or the Di-rectorate for the Combat against Economic Crime opened a case against him. And the Department of Housing of the city of Moscow decided, in 2004, that the Savior of the heritage should be evicted from his apartments. One of which was the apartment on the ground floor, where now the Bulgakov House is established.

But Morozov was not impressed. He joined the choir of the Church of Ta-ganka and was not afraid that his past activities with the neglected children or his fraudsters practice would come into public. Instead, he managed to confiscate some empty flats on the third floor with five rooms, and started to attack the Bulgakov House from there. He regularly threw water and garba-ge to the visitors of the Bulgakov House. On December 22, 2006, he broke into apartment No. 51 and threw a valuable part of the museum pieces that are kept there through the window on the street, causing damage for as much as $ 100,000.

He has already several times filed official complaints against Nikolay Go-lubyev, the director of the Bulgakov House, because the latter - no, do not laugh, reader - "would drink human blood" every night. Golubyev would be a Satanist and a vampire, so it is written black and white in the police reports. Apparently Alexander Morozov blames the Bulgakov House for anti-reli-gious activities.

"He came making pictures on all our exhibitions," Golubyov says, "starting with a brocade coat and ending with an ashtray. Then he told us that it were his belongings which we had stolen from him." Morozov's argument was simple. Before the Bulgakov House was installed in the apartment, he had his Fund for the rescue of the monument of history and culture there. His wife, a former actress, would have used this place for her children's the-ater. The parents of the children would have been so pleased with the performances that they offered massive antiques gifts to his fund. But when the Department of Housing of the city of Moscow drove him out of that apartment - he stayed there illegally - he would, in his haste to evacuate, have forgotten his antiquities. Now he just wanted to get them back.

The staff members of the Bulgakov House were convinced they were dea-ling with a city fool and, like the owners of the former restaurant Teatron they did not take the man seriously at the beginning... But the court ruled o-therwise.  

In a bizarre court case which would easily fit into the pages of Mikhail Bul-gakov's The Master and Margarita, the Bulgakov House now faces a pos-sible confiscation of its property and a serious disruption of its operations. In March 2009, a peace court in Moscow ruled that Alexander Morozov is the rightful owner of the properties of the museum worth 6 million rubles. Moro-zov said that his belongings were stolen. The Bulgakov House appealed against that decision, and will continue to work. But if the appeal is rejec-ted, it will face major financial difficulties, and possibly bankruptcy.

Romuald Krylov-Jodko, the head of the Department for Culture of the City of Moscow, and in that position responsible for some 108 Moscow cultural institutions, says not to know how he can help the Bulgakov House. "We want to help," he says, "but we have no jurisdiction. I know the Bulgakov House is much more active than the official museum in the same building but the Bulgakov House is a private initiative, it is not an official museum, so I can do nothing for them."

While the Bulgakov House is under attack, the official Museum Mikhail Bulgakov keeps silent in Apartment no. 50 and does not give comments on the events. It is very odd that they have never had troubles with Alexander Morozov.

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