Natalya Ushakova and Nikolay Lyamin’s address
12 Pozharsky Lane
Subway station «Kropotkinskaya»
Philologist Nikolay Lyamin, Bulgakov’s long-time friend, lived here. Lyamin’s house was a model for house 13 in The Master and Margarita, where Ivan Bezdomny stole the paper icon and the candle on the way to the Moskva river. Until 1922, the lane was called Savelovsky and, from 1922 to 1993, Savelevsky.
This building, which belonged to the Vavarinskoe Homeowner Corporation, was built in 1898 by the architect A. Ivanov. In the Soviet era, many people involved in science, culture and art lived here (A. Abrikosov, N. Koltsov, V. Shukhov and others). Bulgakov met Lyamin at the beginning of 1924 at a gathering at the writer Sergey Zayaitsky’s place. According to Belozerskaya’s memoirs, literary readings took place at Lyamin’s flat, where, aside from Bulgakov, many writers and poets, scholars and art critics, philosophers and directors gave readings (M. Morozov, A. Gabrichevsky, B. Shaposhnikov and others). In one of the two rooms that the Lyamins occupied in a communal flat was a fireplace thanks to which the Lyamins’ place became the preferred location for such literary readings. Sometimes during the readings, up to thirty packed into the room. On different occasions, Bulgakov read the entire novel, The White Guard, the plays, Zoyka’s Apartment, The Crimson Island, The Cabal of Hypocrites, and also the first edition of, The Master and Margarita. Bulgakov and Lyamin were keen chess players, and spent a lot of time playing. In 1936, after being denounced, Lyamin was dismissed from work and arrested. After three years in a prison camp, he was banned from living in Moscow and he settled in Kaluga. Despite the ban, in 1940, he secretly travelled to Moscow to bid farewell to the dying Bulgakov.