Bulgakov returns to the Patriarch's Ponds

November 4, 2015

The year 2016 will be a special year for the fans of Mikhail Bulgakov. Indeed, we will commemorate the 125th anniversary of the author of The Master and Margarita and other masterpieces. You may be sure that we are going to celebrate this event.

The Bulgakov House in Moscow is the first to make an announcement about upcoming festivities. It looks like the Patriarch's Ponds in Moscow, where the story of The Master and Margarita begins, will finally get a Bulgakov monument.

A long story...

We wrote «finally», because the story of the monument began in 1998, when the city government of Moscow launched a competition to design a Bulgakov monument. The winner was the Moscow sculptor Aleksandr Rukavishnikov who was commissioned to make a monumental sculpture that would be placed in and around the Patriarch's Ponds. It involved a group of statues with a huge primus which would stand as a fountain in the pond, an image of Yeshua walking on the water, and some sculptures of Mikhail Bulgakov and some characters from The Master and Margarita around it.

On December 6, 2002, the works had started to clean the Patriarch's Ponds and to build a large pumping station for the fountain, which would be part of the monument. However, on December 8, 2002, there was a demonstration of local residents, not just against the monument, but also against the car park and the shopping mall that would be built along with it.

On January 20, 2003, some well known Muscovites and some cultural personalities gathered to express their discontent over the planned construction. They all had their own reasons to oppose. Local residents feared that the view of the pond would be violated definitively, and Orthodox priests focussed on the gigantic primus which would be built, symbolizing «impure forces». In our archives you can watch a news broadcast of the television channel Rossia 1 on this polemic.

Click here to watch the news item from January 10, 2003

After all the commotion, sculptor Aleksandr Rukavishnikov announced that he refused to further work on the monument. The excavation works were stopped and the pond was restored to its original state. One of the finished sculptures, the flying car with the rook driver who brought Margarita to the ball of Satan, has long been placed in the garden of the sculptor in the Bolshaya Molsjanovka ulitsa in Moscow. Another image, representing Koroviev and Behemoth, was placed at the entrance of the Bulgakov House.

...with a different end

Now, with the 125th anniversary of Bulgakov in sight, the Department of Monuments of the city has given its approval to an initiative of the Bulgakov House to use some of Rukavishnikov’s sculptures to highlight a tourist walk from Patriarch's Ponds to the Bulgakov House on Bolshaya Sadovaya nr. 10.

The notorious primus stove will not feature, but Bulgakov himself will sit on a bench at the pond, near the road sign with the words «Never talk to strangers», which was placed there by «unknown people» on June 20, 2012. The news was announced by Nikolay Golubev, the director of the Bulgakov House, to the newspaper Izvestia. According to Golubev, this spot is exactly the place where the conversation between Mikhail Berlioz, Ivan Bezdomny and Woland has been situated by Bulgakov in The Master and Margarita.

Rukavishnikov himself is not so keen on the fact that his monument is divided into pieces, but he was glad that his sculptures, which have been lying in storage for more than 15 years, would finally see the light of day. «I designed an interesting, unusual architectural monument, of which nothing is really left. But I suppose this is better than nothing,» he said.

Bulgakov Square

Bulgakov sitting on Patriarch's Ponds

We are into it too

Obviously, this website will also participate in a number of initiatives to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Mikhail Bulgakov in a worthy way. Here’s our first initiative: we've got a special yearend offer in our web shop.

Are you looking for a nice yearend gift for someone with whom you want to share your love for the work of Bulgakov? Well, if you order a DVD, subtitled by your webmaster, before November 20, 2015 in our web shop, you will get a discount of 20 %. Moreover, we will deliver your order in a gift box with a set of three greeting cards made by renowned illustrators of The Master and Margarita. All you have to do is using using coupon code MAB125 when ordering.

On November 20, we will start the shipment of the orders, so you certainly will have it at home before the New Year celebrations.

Click here to benefit from our yearend offer


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