The economical context
The economical context of The Master and Margarita is characterized by col-lectivization. Everything belonged to the state, which had its consequen-ces. Until today many Muscovites still experience what it is to live in very small dwellings, in apartments of which the common parts are, still today, in bad repair or totally neglected. A чистый подъезд (chisty podyezd) or clean entrance hall is still a dream for most Muscovites.
In the novel we can feel Bulgakov’s repugnance to the housing conditions. He often wrote about it, not only in his novels and his theatre plays, but also in his letters to his friends and to his family.
In the novel also largely appears the subject of the foreign currency. Becau-se the supply of goods differed much from the abundance in the western world the Soviet economy was carefully screened off from foreign econo-mies. Although it was possible, if you belonged to the right class, to spend you dollars in special currency stores. But Koroviev and Behemoth knew quite well how to deal with that.
As far as foreign currency is concerned: the Soviet citizens in Bulgakov’s time knew some kind of an internal strange currency. Most people think that the rouble was the currency in the Soviet Union. And partly it was. But in The Master and Margarita Bulgakov always uses the word червонец (cher-vonets) to describe a bank note which causes strange things to happen throughout the novel. The reason why is explained more in detail in this part of the website.
Your guide through the novel
In this section are explained, per chapter, all typical notions, names of people and places, quotations and expressions from the novel with a description of the political, social, economical and cultural context.