Chapter 27

The End of Apartment No. 50

[Konets kvartiry No. 50]

Margarita slept But not sleeping was a whole floor of a Moscow organization, and its windows, which opened onto a large asphalt-covered square were brightly lit. This building is obviously Lubyanka, the NKVD/KGB headquarters on Dzerzhinsky Square. The phrase is introduced chiastically and through contrast, and the floor and windows of the building substitute for the organization itself. Bulgakov never refer to the NKVD by name, and almost never uses a noun for its agents. That the windows are ominously lit through the night may be a reference as well to Stalin's famous all-night vigils.

apartment on Kamenny Bridge: Sempleyarov apparently lives in the famous House on the Embankment.

Astoria Hotel

Caucasian fur cap, papakha, burka: Styopa's dress shows evidence of an earlier version of the novel, in which he was sent to the Caucasus instead of Yalta.

Starka vodka

black Mauser

Most likely a C95 "broomhandle" Mauser. The Imperial Russians fell in love with both the 7.63 Mauser cartridge (aka .30 Mauser) and the Mauser Military Pistol, and were to become one of Mauser's best customers. The October Revolution did not change this fondness for the C96 and the 7.63 Mauser cartridge (it is said a C96 was one of the firearms used in the murder of the Czar and the Royal Family), and both pistol and cartridge remained in general use in the early years of Communist rule.

primus stove


the cat on the chandelier

Baron Maigel