English > Characters > Moscow characters > Annushka


«Annushka has already bought the sunflower oil, and has not only bought it, but has already spilled it. So the meeting will not take place...» That's what Woland said to Berlioz when he announced him his decapitation at the bench of the Patriarch's Ponds.

Right after Berlioz's decapitation a sharp-nosed and bare-headed woman shouted the following to another one: «...Annushka, our Annushka! From Sadovaya! It's her work... She bought sunflower oil at the grocery, and went and broke the whole litre-bottle on the turnstile! Messed her skirt all up, and swore and swore! And he, poor man, must have slipped and - right on to the rails...»

The only thing known about her is that she could be seen every day either with the can, or with bag and can together, in the kerosene shop, or in the market, or under the gateway, or on the stairs, but most often in the kitchen of apartment no. 48, of which this Annushka was one of the tenants. Apartment no. 48? Yes! Annushka lives in the well known block at Sadovaya. And wherever she was or wherever she appeared, a scandal would at once break out. She bore the nickname of the Plague.

When Annushka came out of the apartment building at the same moment that Margarita left it after her reunion with the Master, she had picked up the little golden horseshoe that Margarita had lost. Azazello went back in to search for it and offered her two hundred roubles. With this money Annushka went to a department store on the Arbat. She handed over a tenrouble bill to the cashier, but it appeared to be a ten-dollar bill... Foreign currency! Having foreign currency was punished heavily. Annushka's story about people flying out the window of the house on Sadovaya and about the little horseshoe which Annushka, in her own words, had picked up in order to present it to the police, was listened to attentively, at first. But then the investigator got properly sick of her, and wrote a pass for her to get out on a green slip of paper, after which, to everyone's pleasure, Annushka disappeared from the building.


Bulgakov has long hesitated on how to name this character. Along with Annushka, he used the name Pelageyushka in his documentation, and in the third edition of the novel she is called Annushka Basin, and described as «well-known in the apartment under the name bitch».

Annushka is, together with professor Kuzmin, of the few characters to keep her actual name in Bulgakov's novel. Bulgakov's first wife remembered Annushka Goryacheva, who lived across the corridor in apartment number 48. The apartment was a sort of working-class dormitory with 7 rooms off a central corridor. Annushka Goryacheva had a son and beat him often. They used to buy home-brew vodka, get drunk, fight, and make noise.

Boulgakov could get terribely annoyed by the real Annouchka, as we can conclude from the fact that he wrote in his diary on October 29, 1923: «The first day of heating was marked by the fact that the famous Annushka left the window of the big kitchen opened during all night. I resolutely do not know what to do with the scoundrel who lives in this flat.»

Annushka Goryacheva did not only play a role in The Master and Margarita. She already showed up in No. 13 - The House of the Elpit Workers' Commune, a feuilleton published in December 1922, not so long after Bulgakov moved to Bolshaya Sadovaya nr. 10 with his wife Tatyana Nikolaevna Lappa (1892-1982). The Elpit House is also inspired by the house at Bolshaya Sadovaya, and one of the tenants is Annushka Pylyayeva, the «scourge of the house». She's not only annoying the other residents by her thriving and swearing, but she also sets the whole building on fire.

In Black Snow - A Theatrical Novel, an unfinished and often underestimated novel by Bulgakov, the main character Sergei Leontievich Maskudov hopes that he will not have visitors, because they could be deterred by «the sound of Annushka swearing from the kitchen».

Share this page |