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In this classic of Russian humor and social commentary, a fired cable fitter goes on a binge and hopes a train to Petushki (where his “most beloved of trollops”. LibraryThing Review. User Review – Natalia_Sh – LibraryThing. It’s late s in Russia. Venya Erofeev is going from Moscow to Petushki by train. It’s not a long. by Sharon MacNett Communist Party censors denied publication of Venedikt Erofeev’s novel Moscow to the End of the Line for its.

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Developed in the s, socialist realism offered an official party framework for the arts. The plausibility of achieving communism seemed remote at best to a great deal of the educated urban public.

Within the socioeconomic context of the Brezhnev era, Moscow to the End of the Line represented a stark counterpoint to socialist realism, a vision of decline and degeneration rather than progress and enlightenment. Many of these reforms fell short of their goals while creating instability.

A fictionalized version of Erofeev Venichka narrates an alcohol-fueled day in which he attempts to reach Petushki, a suburban city east of Moscow where a woman and his child await him and which he describes in utopian terms.

Venichka wakes up drunk in a stairwell on a Friday morning, and as he walks around Moscow looking for a drink, he recounts going on a bender for several days in the aftermath of losing his job as foreman of a cable-laying crew for charting their workplace drunkenness.

He boards a train to visit his lover and his child in Petushki. On the train, Venichka continues drinking and engages in a series of fantastic and likely hallucinatory conversations with both the audience and other passengers, discussing literature, writers, alcohol, love, and philosophy.

As he lapses in and out of increasingly disturbing dreams and drunken delirium, he questions whether he has indeed reached Petushki. Walking through city streets in the middle of the night, Venichka realizes he must be in Moscow after all.


Moscow to the End of the Line

Attempting to flee a group of attackers, likely the police or some other embodiment of Soviet authority, he tries to take refuge in a stairwell but is unable to escape. As he finally catches sight of the Kremlin, a structure he claims several times in the novel to never have seen in his years living in Moscow, his attackers kill him.

Venichka is a sympathetic anti-hero, a postmodern reimagining of the superfluous man archetype common in 19th century Russian literature. The statue is a quintessential example of socialist realist propaganda, a larger-than-life depiction of the powerful unity of worker and peasant. Waking from this dream, Venichka reflects drunkenly on the apparent impossibility of reaching Petushki.

Perhaps more tellingly than any other moment in Moscow to the End of the Linethis grim appraisal of his own prospects portrays Venichka as the antithesis of the New Soviet Man.

Moscow to the End of the Line : Venedikt Erofeev :

His degeneration into depravity, excess, and nihilism plots a course flagrantly opposite to the trajectory of self-improvement and advancement familiar within socialist realism. Just as heroes of socialist realism embody the inevitable success of the Communist regime, Venichka embodies the imminent decay of the Soviet system.

Venichka, after being elected president of his apocryphal plenum, scathingly attacks the Soviet regime, beginning with its origins. He moves from one leader to the next in what seems an effort to highlight continuity rather than change within the Soviet system.

He then suggests getting drunk, making a declaration on human rights, and beginning a terror campaign. Following the plenum, Venichka falls into a depressed stupor.

He becomes embroiled in a heated argument with his own sense of reason. It argues that merely disliking the dark does not end darkness. It tells him not to try to supercede natural laws, that to accept and experience it is the only way out of darkness.

Analysis of Moscow to the End of the Line

Darkness — shorthand for ignorance, moral deficit, backwardness, and lack of culture — had long been ascribed to the peasantry in pre-revolutionary Russia by elites and the intelligentsia. As indicated lline, Erofeev employs Moscow itself to stand in for the Soviet system. Venichka spends the novel desperately trying to escape it in favor of the utopian Petushki. As Venichka tries fruitlessly to make sense of the fourth riddle, the sphinx goads him toward the realization that even travel away from Kursk Station always leads back to the station, located on the circular Garden Ring road.


Venichka is overwhelmed by the futility of attempting to escape Moscow and by proxy the Soviet system. Although written as a eroreev first-hand account of the drunken spree of a degenerate alcoholic, Erofeev carefully and deliberately indicts the Soviet system throughout Moscow to the End of the Line. Venichka, his debauched behavior all the more startling against the backdrop of his wnd intelligence, is a supreme caricature of everything the upstanding New Soviet Man should be.

Through his drunken monologues and conversations, Venichka disparages the brokenness of the Soviet system. He condemns Soviet leaders reaching back to Lenin, a virtual sacrilege within Soviet society.

Moscow to the End of the Line | Northwestern University Press

ov He laments the empty promises of socialist realism and the untenable futility of daily life in a doomed system. A Historyedited by. April 12, Author: History as Ritual Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press Oxford University Press,3.

Dnd Historyed. Oxford University Press, Northwestern University Press, Cambridge University Press, Indiana University Press, Moscow to the End of Line. A Historyedited by Gregory L. Oxford University Press, The Russian Revolution, Cambridge University Press, This site uses cookies.

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