Stepan Bogdanovich Likhodeev (Styopa)

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Styopa Bogdanovich Likhodeev is director of the Variety Theatre who wakes up with an hangover and sees that Woland is waiting for him. He lives in the notorious apartment 50, together with the unfortunate Berlioz.

Woland reminds Likhodeev that he had promised him that he could have seven black magic shows in his theatre. Likhodeev doesn't remember such agreement. But Woland shows him the contract with his «dashing» signature; apparently Woland is manipulating the situation, but Likhodeev is bound by the agreement. When he realises that he wuill have to authorize Woland to perform, Woland introduces his retinue to the theatre director - Behemoth, Koroviev, and the small redhaired Azazello - and he tells them that they will need apartment nummer 50. Woland and his troup have a low opinion of people like Styopa Likhodeev; they think that people like him, in high functions, are scump - «Availing hisself of a government car!», the cat snitched, chewing a mushroom. «This retinue requires room», Woland says to Likhodeev, «'so there's just one too many of us in the apartment. And it seems to us that this one too many is precisely you».

Shortly after that Styopa is suddenly in Yalta.


In the 1929 version of The Master and Margarita this character's name is not Styopa Likhodeev, but Garusha Pedulayev. This one was based on Tuadzhin Peizulayev (?-1936). Peizulaev was a lawyer whom Bulgakov knew when he lived in Vladikavkaz in the Caucasus from 1919 to 1921, and the co-author of The Sons of the Mullah, one of Bulgakov's very first theatre plays.

In that early version Woland sent Pedulayev not to Yalta, but to Vladikavkaz. In later versions Pedulayev changed into Stepa Bombeev and later into Stepan Likhodeev. Tuadzhin Peizulaev died in 1936 and that's probably why Bulgakov, out of respect, changed Pedulaev's name into Likhodeev and sent him to Yalta. In the final version of The Master and Margarita, Likhodeev keeps one small detail from the earlier versions, though: he returns to Moscow with «a Caucasian fur cap and a felt cossack coat».

His name is certainly not meant as a compliment, since Лиходей (Likhodieï) means scoundrel, blackguard, villain or rogue.

The situation in Yalta refers to Earthquake, a story from 1929, written by Mikhail Mikhailovich Zoshchenko (1895-1958) in which the hero, Ivan Yakovlevich Snopkov, wanders through Yalta in his underwear, as the result of a drinking problem. Before the earthquake mentioned in the title, Snopkov had emptied one and a half bottle of vodka, he fell asleep, and got robbed of his clothes by plunders. Such incidents really happened after the earthquake which disstressed the area of Yalta on September 11, 1927, by the way.

The syndrom of black tomcats and amnesia as a result of drinking port already appeared in earlier work of Bulgakov: in Чаша жизни [Chasha zhizni] or The Cup of Life (1922) and in День нашей жизни [Den nashey zhizni] or Days of our Life (1923).

Likhodeev's concern about the seal on Berlioz's door and a «dubious conversation» that had taken place in the apartment is an allusion to what happened to one of Bulgakov's friends, the actor Nikolai Vasilevich Bezekirsky. Bezekirsky was arrested and banned to Ryazan because of «a contarevolutionary discussion in a certain house that I visited regularly». Bulgakov had received a letter from Bezekirsky on this subject in April 1929.

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