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Stalin and Bulgakov - What Is the Difference?

Stalin and Bulgakov - What Is the Difference?
Alexander Trubitsin 17.01.2007

"The whole world is - theatre and people here are - actors" - Shakespeare said once. And his compatriot Jerom K. Jerom developed this idea having broidered the details of acting. I shall not recollect literally but it was done approximately like this: "Ladies and gentlemen! Now the old chap Smith who has climbed up this shaky construction which we shall consider to be the ship, will represent furious pirate. And respectable Mrs. Smith will represent innocent maiden who is awfully afraid of this pirate. Mr. Johns who swings a wooden sward will pretend that he is a brave gentleman who is trying to rescue innocent maiden from the pirate…” And so on and so forth.

And what is strange! – Such non artful tricks influence people who don’t want to think over a lot.

Here the actor attires a thrum beard, starts to shake it representing "the intellectual of old times" - and ingenuous public is delighted with "the professor Preobrazhensky" who ministers to "clean public", the heads and richmen injecting brown-sekarovsky liquid to increase potentiality into the growing old mouse studs. The matter is trite, certainly, but how intelligent he makes it! What maxims he thus gives out!

And another actor represents rough and ill-bred Sharikov - a parody to Klim Chugunkin embodied in him. Other actors in the process accompany these "positive and negative" character emphasizing positivity of positive and negativity of negative.

Though it is clear that if it was paid differently - they would with the same diligence remake positive into negative and negative into positive.

And here this simple in reality trick of depicting used by actors of "characters" played a role of information-psychological ram in destruction of common sense and logic of construction of Soviet – fair – society.

And cheated millions looked at the depicted characters and sympathized «the professor Preobrazhensky» and tore away «Polygraph Sharikov» - and, at the same time, tore away the past, smeared, deformed and defiled by those very actors, mercenaries of ideological war.

Well, it is possible to understand emotions of the author of "Dog’s Heart" - Bulgakov who came from Kiev, from cosy house on Andreevsky Spusk into the shared apartment in Moscow. Having come, contrary to the advice of his own hero who told that uncle Berlioz should sit n Kiev as meek as a lamb and wouldn’t dream of living space in Moscow. By the way, Bulgakov with gratitude recollected Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya under whose petition he received that very space in Moscow. But he was not at all comfortable in Moscow shared apartment – people having transferred from basements and barracks for workers with cemetrial norm of 2 sagene per a person simply couldn’t live in new conditions. Whether they are guilty of it? How would Bulgakov behave if he also spent all his life in their living conditions?

From these very emotions the plot of "Dog’s Heart” and “Houses Elpit-Rabcommunity” appeared, the main character Sharikov – the same Klim Chugunkin came into being.

Bulgakov was born in a happy family – a family of the senior lecturer of the Kiev spiritual academy. That fact for long years predetermined his life.

« … One-hundred-eighty-windows, four-storeyed enormous rest grammar school native to Turbin bordered a parade-ground. Eight years spent Turbin there, within eight years in spring changes he ran on this parade-ground and in winters when classes were full of a stuffy dust and the cold important snow of winter academic year covered parade-ground, saw a parade-ground from a window. … Oh, eight years of drilling! How many were things ridiculous and sad and desperate for boyish soul in them, but how many was joyful. Grey day, grey day, grey day, ut consequtivum, Kai Julius Caesar, unsatisfactory for cosmography and eternal hatred to astronomy from the date of the receiving of this grade. But at the same time spring, spring and a roar in the halls, grammar-school girls in green aprons in parkway, chestnuts and May and, the main thing, an eternal beacon ahead - university, means, free life, - whether you understand what the university means? Sunsets on Dnepr, will, money, power, glory … »

I was in this grammar school - the building remains undamaged despite of the wars and changes of authority happened. I looked through the same windows at the same parade-ground. Bronze, covered by a white paint bolts remained since those times and, maybe, Bulgakov's hand even touched them… 

" … After eight years of grammar school already outside of any pools were corpses of a dissecting room, white chambers, glass silence of operating rooms and then three years of throwing in a saddle, strangers’ wounds, humiliations and sufferings - oh, damned pool of war... He ran on a parade-ground sick and harassed enough, pressed  browning in a pocket, ran god knows where and what for. Possibly, to protect that life – future for the sake of which took sufferings over the pools and those damned pedestrians one of whom goes from the point “A” and another towards him from the point “B”…” In this extract one can find the key for understanding – where he took “Dog’s Heart” from.  

 “…Whether you understand, what the university means? Sunsets on Dnepr, will, money, power, glory …Ran on a parade-ground sick and harassed enough, pressed  browning in a pocket, ran god knows where and what for. Possibly, to protect that life - future … "

Keywords - will, money, power, glory. Keywords - to protect that life.

Well, yes, school boy Misha Bulgakov had not a bad life. Well, yes, University was ahead of him as well as will, money, power and glory. All ways were open – for the minority.

What the son of shoemaker Soso Dzhugashvili could count in his life on? Ways to a grammar school and university were closed before him. Though even his sworn enemies admitted that his mind is – of a rare type, that the level of his self-education surpasses all their oxfords and cambridges. Verses which he wrote at school age entered chrestomathies of the Georgian literature - verses of a boy not known to anybody. And thus, at such endowments, the system closed a way upward for him as well as to the overwhelming majority of simple people.

Ordinary plot in literature - babies who are substitute after the birth. If they changed Misha Bulgakov and Klim Chugunkin - what they would grow like? We know about Klim Chugunkin only from "Dog’s Heart" and about Bulgakov - from a self-portrait in "White Guards", from the memories of the grammar-school boy of Kostya Paustovsky – Misha’s character was not like a sugar. He liked fighting, vandalizing. What would turn from him living in a different environment, would not go on a bad path – that is a reason for serious doubts. May be the very same Klim Chugunkin found oneself in a family of docent would know cosmography, Latin and would do even more than the professor Preobrazhensky.  

That is an essence of distinctions between Bulgakov and Stalin. One wants power, money, glory - for himself, the second - fair establishment of life, open ways in lives for everyone, granting of opportunities not because of the status of parents but because of the talents for all.

Yes, certainly, Bulgakov worked for some time in Smolensk remote places, treated peasants, taught, disseminated "Egyptian darkness". But it’s not a system approach, it’s some kind of charity, basically solving nothing.

But then a revolution happen. Doctors - worth their weight in gold. The new system of public health services is being constructed – a system of national public health services. Personnel starvation. And doctor Bulgakov hits in a fiction… Well, it’s all right, he felt an urge, the talent woke up. He could not combine, as, for example, Veresayev combined. But also here - people worked differently. Mayakovsky, the god-poet (as he was defined by A.Zinovev), "licked con spittles by rough tongue of the poster", gave his talent for the blessing and education of people. While Bulgakov – went deep into esthetics …

Klims Chungins is - the heritage of an imperial regime, a heritage of capitalism, a heritage of a system when some lived in clover because the rest were deprived of an access to study, access to knowledge, access to civilization.

And Stalin saw in them people whom it is necessary to waken, lead to light, to teach and educate. While Bulgakov – saw Sharikovs who were only worth turning from them away fastidiously, who should be despised and derided. It’s simply surprising for the writer – he could not put itself on a place of such Sharikov, to imagine who he could become.

Stalin used titanic efforts to build an education system which became the best in the world, system of public health services with which would bless by Hippocrates while Bulgakov was getting stuck in literary and household squabbles. A difference in scales of a personality …

Yes, certainly, to communicate with Sharikov - is unpleasant. But what can be done so that there will be no problems in communication? According to Stalin - to educate, teach, bring up, transform into people, no matter how difficult it was. According to Bulgakov - to transform again into dogs. Here is the difference, here is the problem. And – I am sure - if Bulgakov as the doctor and writer would come to help Stalin in his work, there would be no contradictions between them.


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