Степан Богданович Лиходеев

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Role

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.

Background

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, someone Bulgakov knew when he lived in Vladikavkaz in the Caucasus from 1919 to 1921. In that early version Woland sent Pedulayev not to Yalta, but to Vladikavkaz. In later versions Pedulayev changed into Stepa Bombeev or Likhodeev, and in the 1937 version he was sent to Yalta. In the final version Likhodeev keeps a small detail from the earlier versions: he returns with "Caucasian fur cap and a felt cossack coat". The real Peizulayev died in 1936 and that's probably why Bulgakov, out of respect, replaced the Pedulayev character ny Likhodeev and sent him to Yalta.

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. It so happened that, before the earthquake mentioned in the title, he had emptied one and a half bottle of vodka, fell asleep, and robbed of his clothes by plunders. By the way, such things were really observed after the earthquake which disstressed the area of Yalta on September 11, 1927.

The syndrom of black tomcats and amnesia as a result of drinking port already appeared in earlier work of Bulgakov: Чаша жизни (The cup of life, 1922) and День нашей жизни (Days of our life, 1923).

Likhodeev's concern obout the seal on Berlioz's door and a "dubious conversation" that had taken place, he recalled, on the twenty-fourth of April in the apartment is een allusion to what happened to one of Bulgakov's friends, the actor Nikolai Vasilevich Bezekirsy. 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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