Mikhail Bulgakov Monument
Address: 13 Andriivskiy Descent, Kyiv, Ukraine
"But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. However, shadows also come from trees and living
beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid."
Mikhail Bulgakov (Михаил Булгаков) (The Master and Margarita)
Mikhail Bulgakov is a Kiev-born Russian novelist and playwright, a literary subversive genius who is best known for his surreal inventiveness and biting satirical humour. The monument stands close to the Mikhail Bulgakov museum situated about half-way down Andriivskiy Descent which is in Podil region of old Kiev (Kyiv). This is a great area to explore. Combine visiting the Bulgakov Museum and seeing the statue with visiting St Andrews Church at the top of the hill. There is also a street market on the same street (Andriivskiy Descent). It's a bit touristy but there are lots of interesting antiques, gifts and souvenirs here. It is a very long steep hill so make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes, and possibly avoid in icy conditions.
In 1915, Bulgakov graduated with honours from the Medical School of Kiev University. In 1915-1919, he practiced medicine, specializing in venereal and infectious diseases. During the Russian civil war, he joined the anti-communist White Army and served alongside his brothers.
In 1919, he abandoned medicine in favour of writing and wrote some of the greatest Russian and Ukrainian literature of this century. His love and feeling for Kiev led him to publish a mainly autobiographical book called “The White Guard”. It is a brilliantly evocative account of the Ukrainian civil war in Kiev during the occupation of his beloved city. The book was an instant success but was promptly banned by Stalin
Bulgakov was so depressed by Stalin’s ban on all his earlier books that he burned the original copy of The Master and Margarita; he then changed his mind and re-wrote the novel from memory. The famous quote "Manuscripts don't burn" ("Рукописи не горят") from his book The Master and Margarita, not only become a well-known saying, but also in some way sums up Bulgakov’s literary life. Bulgakov. The Master and Margarita, White Guard, Heart of the Dog and many other novels have finally been released from censorship and have proved to be brilliant satirical fantasy, made even more enticing when you begin to understand the veiled attacks on communism.
The Bulgakov museum is itself something of a unique experience. It was opened in 1991 for the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth. In developing the museum, the decision was made to create a theatrical experience conveying the life and creativity of Bulgakov and his surroundings. The museum cleverly creates a link between two worlds – the fictional world of his literary writing and the real story of Bulgakov and his family. This is a museum where fantasy overlaps reality. The simple theatrical lighting, contrasting black and white colours and clever use of mirrors enhance the feeling of entering a different dimension. A wardrobe becomes a door leading to a different door, all with reference to parts of Bulgakov’s books.