SPEAKING WITH STRANGERS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN
Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita features the story of Satan's visit to Moscow in the time of Stalin. It also retells the story of the passion of Jesus Christ:
"Immortality. . . It's come now, immortality."
Begemot, the Black Tomcat of "Master and Margarita." The name means literally "hippopotamus," and is usually translated by translators of Bulgakov as "Behemoth."
N.Y. Times Travel section, Nov. 13, 1994
The first floor of Bldg. No. 10, Bol'shaja Sadovaja St. in Moscow is the site of the Museum-Theater of the Bulgakov House. Since May of 2007 there has been a second museum in the building. It is called The State Museum of M.A. Bulgakov and is located in Apt. No. 50 upstairs.
Bulgakov himself once lived in Apt. 50 (beginning in Sept., 1921), and, in writing his brilliant novel, The Master and Margarita, he used the apartment as prototype for the place occupied by the devil (Woland) and his henchmen (Apt. 302)--including the most popular character in the story, the huge black tomcat called Begemot--during their visit to Moscow. Patriarch Ponds, the little park where Woland makes his first appearance in the novel, is located nearby.
In the early nineties there were not yet any Bulgakov museums at the site, but there was a sort of unofficial "museum" of tributes to the novel in graffiti outside Apt. No. 50. During these times the apartment was still occupied, various efforts were made to keep sightseers and graffiti artists away, but they kept coming to "the apartment of the devil."
Here I am posting various photographs of the graffiti, some of it quite impressive artistically. I took these pictures in the summer of 1992 or 1993.
"Master, I'm yours. Margo."
"We love those who don't love us; we destroy those who love us."
"Stop the world; I want to get off."
Woland (Satan) as pictured in his most devilish aspect: