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Bulgakov Writes ‘Love Letters to Stalin’ in Miami

photo Julio de la Nuez

Mikhail Bulgakov wrote probably the best Russian novel of the 20th Century, The Master and Margarita, in which the Devil comes to Moscow and raises all kinds of hell. (You can make a case for The First Circle, Quiet Flows the Don, or maybe Invitation to a Beheading, if you like, but I’ll stick with the Devil, personally). Margarita capped a tumultuous twenty-plus years for Bulgakov, who spent much of the time working in the theater when he could and working fitfully on the novel. Concerns about Margarita‘s subject matter, and Bulgakov’s plan to publish it, were neatly arrested when Bulgakov died of kidney failure in 1940; his widow finally succeeded in getting it into print in 1966, where it remains. You should really read it.

Anyway, a lot of Bulgakov’s problems in the theater stem from a 1929 government decree that banned his work entirely. Frustration drove him to write Stalin about the issue; miraculously this did not lead him to the gulag. Stalin let him work again, instead. This here is the hook on which Juan Mayorga hangs his Cartas de Amor a Stalin, which translates to Love Letters to Stalin and is now up at Teatro Abancio through the 13th. (FULL ARTICLE: Mia Leonin, The Miami Herald)