Turmoil in apartment No. 50

May 21, 2012

The regular visitors of this website know that in Bolshaya Sadovaya ulitsa number 10 in Moscow, the building which plays an important role in The Master and Margarita, two museums are located, both of which are dedicated to Mikhail Bulgakov.

On the ground floor you can find the M.A. Bulgakov House, a museum-theater thriving on the enthusiasm of a young team that takes a lot of initiatives such as the organisation of Bulgakov excursions (day and night), the running of Café 302-bis and the hosting of the Bulgakov Theatre. The Bulgakov House was founded on May 15, 2004.

Higher up, in the infamous apartment number 50, is operating the official Mikhail Bulgakov Museum which was recognized by the state. It was founded on May 15, 2007, so it celebrated its fifth birthday last week. The atmosphere is much stricter than with the downstairs neighbors, perhaps partly under the influence of writer, critic and historian Marietta Chudakova, who made a significant effort to get the museum recognized, and perhaps also to have her sister, Inna Mishina, appointed as director.

One day before the anniversary, however, on May 14, 2012, the Department of Culture of the city of Moscow announced that Inna Mishina’s contract was terminated. Mishina’s sister Marietta Chudakova was very unhappy about the dismissal of her sister: "She was basely dismissed without any recognition, in three minutes, coldly and indifferently." Very soon the news would appear on several Russian blogs, generally accompanied by fierce commentaries. Most blog editors stood up for Mishina and wrote that she and her sister have built the museum from scratch.

Former deputy director of the museum Valentina Dimenko, who now got appointed as director, says she’s tired of all the publicity surrounding the resignation of her predecessor. Moreover, according to her, the contribution of the sisters Marietta and Inna in the expansion of the museum should be seen in perspective. "Anyone who reads the constitutive act of the museum, can see that I was the founder, and that I gave the museum its collection with my Bulgakov Fund."

According to Dimenko it's all much ado about nothing. "The employment contract of Inna Mishina had reached its end, and it was finished in full compliance with article 77, section 1 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation. Inna Mishina is 70 years old and has reached retirement age. That's all. "

Yes, reader, as Bulgakov wrote already in The Master and Margarita:  “It must be said that this apartment - no.50 - had long had, if not a bad, at least a strange reputation. People began to disappear."

Marietta Chudakova


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