Ilya Vinitsky

vinitsky@princeton.edu
Articles by Ilya Vinitsky

Bitter Taste: How Gorky Saved Pushkin’s Honor by Closing His Café, Part III

Immediately after Gorky’s death, rumors began to spread that he had been poisoned by chocolate candies sent to him from the Kremlin. Whether this is true or not, nobody knows. One thing is certain, however: even had he been poisoned, the efforts of this great warrior against vulgarity would have ensured that the chocolate was at least free of Pushkin’s name. To be fair, however, the box of assorted desserts produced by the Bolshevik Baked Goods Factory in 1936 still included a biscuit called “Pushkin.”

Continue reading...

Bitter Taste: How Gorky Saved Pushkin’s Honor by Closing His Café, Part II

The hysterical reaction by the Soviet establishment to an apparently innocent incident — a reaction that struck at least one Western observer as symptomatic, but still curious — was deeply significant in the ideological context of the early Soviet period. It was inscribed into a campaign against vulgarity (or rather petty-bourgeois ideology) in all its antisocial manifestations that has long been associated with Gorky.

Continue reading...

Bitter Taste: How Gorky Saved Pushkin’s Honor by Closing His Café, Part I 

“The dignity of Russia’s most famous poet, Alexander Pushkin, has been saved, but as a result Moscow’s most pretentious café is now nameless. It all started a few weeks ago when a new café, elaborately equipped with modernistic furniture and a jazz orchestra – a really unique spot in this rather drab city – was established on Pushkin Square.”

Continue reading...