Today, Mikhail Bulgakov without doubt is the most well-known Russian writer of the first half of the twentieth century. But let us recall that during his lifetime, Bulgakov was hardly allowed by Bolsheviks to publish any of his writings or see theatrical productions based on his plays.
Olga Medvedkova's semi-documentary novel New Year's Eve at the Bulgakov's shows us the inner cercle of Bulgakov and Elena's family at the midst of Stalinist purges. The moment, the beginning of 1939, was decisive in the career of Bulgakov, since he just completed a commissioned work that shold have turned the powerful Owner of the Kremlin towards him. But was it really so? --Read more
For many years, we knew next to nothing about the private lives of ordinary Soviet citizens during Stalin’s reign. Until very recently, the social history of the Soviet Union written by Soviet and Western historians alike was limited entirely to the public sphere – politics and ideology, and the collective experience of the ‘Soviet masses’. The individual (insofar as he or she appeared at all) featured mainly as a letter-writer to the Soviet authorities (that is, as a public actor rather than a private person or member of a family).
It was only from the end of the 1980s that the practice of oral history – politically impossible in the earlier Soviet period – began to develop in Russia. Public organizations like Memorial, established in the late 1980s to represent the victims of repression and record their history, took the lead, collecting testimonies from survivors...