Алоизий Могарыч

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When Margarita asked Woland to bring her and the Master back to the basement near the Arbat, the Master said: "Ah, don't listen to the poor woman, Messire! Someone else has long been living in the basement". Though Woland said: "But we shall try". And he called out: "Azazello!" At once there dropped from the ceiling on to the floor a bewildered and nearly delirious citizen in nothing but his underwear, though with a suitcase in his hand for some reason and wearing a cap. With this Bulgakov referred to the fact that under the Stalin terror every soviet citizen had always a suitcase ready with the most necessary things, just in case of un unexpected visit from the secret police at night.

The bewildered and nearly delirious citizen in nothing but his underwear was Aloisy Mogarych, a journalist wo had written incriminating articles on the Master and who had reported him for the possession of illegal litterature. He hoped to move in into the Master's basement after his arrest. And it worked.

"Know a witch when you see one!", Margarita howled when she heard it, and she sank her nails into Aloisy Mogarych's face.


The first name Aloisy which Bulgakov assigns to Mogarych sounds quite odd in Russian ears. Especially in the - for Russians - rather absurd combination of the Latin Aloisius with the Russian slang Mogarych. That word is used to offer a drink when a deal is closed and gets the form of a surname here. It has a bad undertone because it suggests exaggerated drinking, and sometimes bribes.

When you read The Master and Margarita in Dutch, in French or in English, you only read about Mogarych in the above mentioned excerpt. In the Russian version the Master already talks about him when meeting Ivan in doctor Stravinsky's hospital, as you can read following the link hereunder. The text in blue is not in the translations. So, when you read it, do not forget that it was translated by someone who just finished his first year of Russian... :-) In his TV-serial Мастер и Маргарита director Vladimir Bortko showed the meeting between the Master and Mogarych, as you can when you follow the other link.

Click here to read the loose end
Click here to see the meeting of the Master and Mogarych

Mogarych's character is inspired on the playwright Sergey Aleksandrovich Yermolinsky (1900-1984), who got acquainted, in 1929, with Maria Artemyevna Chimishkyan, a friend of Bulgakov and his second wife Lyubov Belozerskaya. After some time Sergey and Maria got married and they moved to the little house of Sergey Sergeevich Topleninov in Mansurovsky pereulok 9. This wooden little house would give the inspiration for the basement where stayed the Master with Margarita.

So Yermolinsky became a friend of the Bulgakovs by his marriage with Maria Arternyevna, but Lyubov Belozerskaya wrote in her memoires that se didn't trust him. She called him a man with two faces.

In real life Bulgakov himself was also bothered by intruders. In the '30's the Bulgakovs were frequently visited by snoopers and informants, like the journalist and squealer Kantorovich, Emmanuel Zyukhovitsky and Grisha Konsky. Bulgakov had no choice but to tolerate them, although they stubbornly insist to constantly redirect the discussions towards political questions. This situation caused tensions, and Bulgakov's consolation probably was the joy he found in offensing them every now and then.

Mogarych is only lightly punished by Woland. In the epilogue it turns out that he even becomes an important official: he succeeds Grigory Rimsky as the financial manager of the Variety Theatre.

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