House-Museum of Boris Pasternak, Moscow, Russia

The Boris Pasternak House-Museum is a memorial museum of Boris Pasternak located at the writer’s former summer residence in Peredelkino. Pasternak lived in this building from 1939 to 1960, after his death an unofficial public museum in memory of the writer was organized in the house. In 1990, at the initiative of Pasternak’s friends and relatives, the museum received official status as a branch of the State Literary Museum.

The Boris Pasternak House Museum is located in the former writer village of Peredelkino, the buildings of which were designed by the German architect Ernst May. In addition to Pasternak, Korney Chukovsky, Alexander Fadeev, Nikolai Leonov, Alexander Afinogenov and others also lived in Peredelkino.

“This is exactly what you could dream of all your life. In terms of species, freedom, comfort, tranquility and thriftiness, this is exactly what… tuned poetically. Such slopes stretched across the entire horizon (in a birch forest) with gardens and wooden houses with mezzanines… a settlement covered with some unearthly and enviable charm. And suddenly life turned so that on its slope I myself plunged into that, seen from a great distance, soft, multi-speaking color.
Boris Pasternak in letters to his father ”

Pasternak moved to the village in 1936, however, the first house allocated to the writer did not suit him because of excessive dampness. For this reason, in 1939, he moved to another building, located on the outskirts of the village. Living in this house Pasternak wrote a series of “Peredelkino” poems, “On Early Trains”, “Earth space”, “When clear up…” and translated the dramas of William Shakespeare and ” Faust ” by Johann Goethe, he worked in parallel on the ” Doctor Zhivago “. The news of awarding him the Nobel Prize also found Pasternak in Peredelkino.

Over the years, the writer visited Anna Akhmatova, Korney Chukovsky, Vsevolod Ivanov, Konstantin Fedin, Olga Bergholtz, Friedrich Asmus, Peter Kapitsa, Alexey Kruchenykh, Varlam Shalamov, Andrey Voznesensky, Evgeny Evtushenko, Leonard Bernstein. Alexander Skryabin, Sergey Rachmaninov and pianists Henry and Stanislav Neigauzy, Svyatoslav Richter, Maria Yudina took part in family music evenings.

After the death of the poet in 1960, the house became a place of his memory: the widow of Zinaida Pasternak was often visited by relatives, friends and relatives of the writer. Gradually, fans of Pasternak’s art began to come to the house, for which unofficial tours of the building were conducted. Since the cottage was the property of the Literary Fund, in 1980, after the death of Pasternak’s stepson Stanislav Neigauz, the writer’s relatives lost their right to live in the house. In 1984, the court transferred the building to Chingiz Aitmatov, however, the writer abandoned the house in memory of Pasternak.

In the mid-1980s, a group of writers took the initiative to create a Pasternak house-museum in Peredelkino. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev received an official appeal signed by Veniamin Kaverin, Evgeny Yevtushenko, Arseniy Tarkovsky, Anatoly Pristavkin and Robert Rozhdestvensky. The opening of the museum took place on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Boris Pasternak in 1990. The museum’s relatives were the directors of the museum: first, niece Natalia Pasternak, and then – granddaughter Elena.

As of 2018, the intravital situation has been completely restored in the house. The central room of the exposition is Pasternak’s office located on the second floor.

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (January 29 [ February 10 ], 1890, Moscow – May 30, 1960, Peredelkino, Moscow Region) – Russian poet, writer and translator. It is considered one of the largest Russian poets of the XX century.

Pasternak published his first poems at the age of 23 years. In 1955, Pasternak completed writing the novel Doctor Zhivago. Three years later, the writer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, after which he was persecuted and persecuted by the Soviet government and a number of colleagues and was forced to refuse the prize.

Doctor Zhivago
In February 1959, B. L. Pasternak wrote about his attitude to the place that prose occupied in his work:

… I always strove from poetry to prose, to narration and description of relationships with the surrounding reality, because such prose seems to me to be a consequence and realization of what poetry means to me.
In accordance with this, I can say: poetry is raw, unrealized prose…

The novel “Doctor Zhivago” was created for ten years, from 1945 to 1955. Being, according to the writer himself, the pinnacle of his work as a prose writer, the novel is a broad canvas of the life of the Russian intelligentsia against the backdrop of a dramatic period from the beginning of the century to the Great Patriotic War. The novel is riddled with high poetry, accompanied by poems by the protagonist – Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago. During the writing of the novel Pasternak repeatedly changed its name. The novel could be called “Boys and Girls”, “The Candle Burned”, “The Experience of Russian Faust”, “There Is No Death”.

The novel, touching on the innermost issues of human existence – the secrets of life and death, issues of history, Christianity – was sharply negatively received by the authorities and the official Soviet literary environment, rejected for publication due to the ambiguous position of the author in relation to the October Revolution and subsequent changes in the life of the country. So, for example, E. G. Kazakevich, after reading the novel, said: “It turns out, judging by the novel, the October Revolution is a misunderstanding and it was better not to do it”; K. M. Simonov, editor-in-chief of the New World, responded with a refusal: “You cannot give the podium to Pasternak!”

The book was published first in Italy in 1957 by the Feltrinelli publishing house, and then in Holland and Great Britain, through the mediation of the philosopher and diplomat Sir Isaiah Berlin.

The publication of the novel in the Netherlands and Great Britain (and then in the USA in pocket format) and the free distribution of the book to Soviet tourists at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels and at the Festival of Youth and Students in Vienna in 1959 was organized by the US Central Intelligence Agency ]. The CIA also participated in the distribution of the “book of great propaganda value” in the countries of the socialist bloc. In addition, as follows from declassified documents, in the late 1950s, the British Foreign Office tried to use Doctor Zhivago as an instrument of anti-communist propaganda and financed the publication of a Farsi novel.

Feltrinelli accused the Dutch publishers of violating his rights to publish. The CIA managed to clear up this scandal, as the book was a success among Soviet tourists.

Nobel Prize. Harassment
Every year, from 1946 to 1950, and also in 1957, Pasternak was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1958, his candidacy was proposed by last year’s laureate Albert Camus, and on October 23 Pasternak became the second writer from Russia (after I. A. Bunin) to be awarded this award.

Already on the day the prize was awarded (October 23, 1958), on the initiative of M. A. Suslov, the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee adopted a resolution “On the Slanderous Novel of B. Pasternak,” which recognized the decision of the Nobel Committee as another attempt to draw it into the Cold War. Awarding the prize led to the persecution of Pasternak in the Soviet press, his expulsion from the Union of Writers of the USSR, insults against him from the pages of Soviet newspapers, at meetings of the “working people”. The Moscow organization of the Union of Writers of the USSR, following the rule of the Union of Writers, demanded that Pasternak be expelled from the Soviet Union and deprived of his Soviet citizenship. Among the writers demanding expulsion were L. I. Oshanin, A. I. Bezymensky,B. A. Slutsky, S. A. Baruzdin, B. N. Polevoy and many others (see the transcript of the meeting of the All-Moscow meeting of writers in the “References” section). A negative attitude to the novel was also expressed by some Russian writers in the West, including V.V. Nabokov.

“Literary Gazette” (editor – Kochetov) October 25, 1958 stated that the writer “has agreed to play the role of bait on a rusty hook anti-Soviet propaganda “.

The journalist David Zaslavsky published in Pravda the article “The hype of reactionary propaganda around the literary weed.”

Sergei Mikhalkov responded to Pasternak’s award of a negative epigram under the caricature of M. Abramov “The Nobel dish”.

On October 29, 1958, at the Plenum of the Komsomol Central Committee, Vladimir Semichastny, at that time – the first secretary of the Komsomol Central Committee, stated (as he subsequently claimed, at the direction of Khrushchev) the following:

“… as the Russian proverb says, a black sheep is raised in a good herd. We have such a black sheep in our socialist society in the person of Pasternak, who made his slanderous so-called “work”…

On October 31, 1958, regarding the presentation of the Nobel Prize to Pasternak, the chairman of the All-Moscow meeting of writers of the USSR, Sergei Smirnov, made a speech concluding that writers should appeal to the government to deprive Pasternak of Soviet citizenship.

In a semi-formal writing environment, the Pasternaku Nobel Prize was also perceived negatively. At a meeting of the party group of the Board of the Writers’ Union on October 25, 1958, Nikolai Gribachev, Sergei Mikhalkov and Vera Inber made a demand to deprive Pasternak of citizenship and expel them from the country. On the same day, Literary Newspaper, at the request of the New World editorial board, headed by A. T. Twardowski at that time, published a letter to Pasternak compiled in September 1956 by the then editorial board of the journal and rejecting the manuscript of his novel. The letter contained harsh criticism of the work and its author and, in addition to Literary Newspaper, was later published in the next issue of the New World.

On October 27, 1958, Pasternak was unanimously expelled from the Union of Writers of the USSR by a resolution of a joint meeting of the presidium of the board of the Union of Writers of the USSR, the bureau of the organizing committee of the Union of Writers of the RSFSR and the presidium of the Moscow branch of the Union of Writers of the RSFSR. The decision on expulsion was approved on October 28 at a meeting of Moscow journalists, and on October 31 at a general meeting of writers in Moscow, chaired by S. S. Smirnov. Several writers did not appear at the meeting due to illness, due to departure or without indicating reasons (including A.T. Twardovsky, M.A. Sholokhov, V.A. Kaverin, B. A. Lavrenyov, S. Ya. Marshak,I. G. Erenburg, L. M. Leonov). Meetings of republican, provincial, and regional writers’ organizations were held throughout the country, at which writers condemned Pasternak for his treacherous behavior, which put him outside Soviet literature and Soviet society.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize to B. L. Pasternak and the persecution campaign that began began unexpectedly coincided with the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physics to Soviet physicists P. A. Cherenkov, I. M. Frank, and I. E. Tamm in the same year. On October 29, an article signed by six academicians appeared in the Pravda newspaper, which reported on the outstanding achievements of Soviet physicists who were awarded the Nobel Prizes. It contained a paragraph that the awarding of prizes to physicists was objective, and according to the literature, it was caused by political considerations. In the evening of October 29, Academician M.A. Leonontovich arrived in Peredelkino, who considered it necessary to assure Pasternak that real physicists do not think so, and biased phrases were not contained in the article and were inserted against their will. In particular, academician L. A. Artsimovich refused to sign the article (referring to Pavlov’s testament to scientists to say only what you know). He demanded that he be given to read the Doctor Zhivago for this.

The persecution of the poet was named in folk memories: “ I have not read, but I condemn! “. In particular, an article was published in the Kiev Literary Newspaper:
“Boris Pasternak writing the novel “Doctor Zhivago.” I haven’t read the yoga, but I don’t say that I haven’t read the editorial board of the New World magazine, which is a novel of mischief. I of art side, of i of art. ”
Accusatory rallies took place at workplaces, in institutes, factories, government organizations, creative unions, where collective insulting letters were drawn up demanding punishment of the disgraced poet.

Despite the fact that Pasternak was awarded the prize “for significant achievements in modern lyric poetry, as well as for the continuation of the traditions of the great Russian epic novel”, the efforts of official Soviet authorities should have been remembered for a long time only as firmly connected with the novel “Doctor Zhivago”. As a result of a massive pressure campaign, Boris Pasternak refused the Nobel Prize. In a telegram sent to the Swedish Academy, Pasternak wrote: “In view of the significance that the award awarded to me received in the society to which I belong, I must refuse it. Do not consider my voluntary refusal to be an insult. ”

Jawaharlal Nehru and Albert Camus took over the petition for the new Nobel laureate Pasternak before Nikita Khrushchev. But everything turned out to be in vain.

According to Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Pasternak in these events turned out to be a hostage to the internal political struggle between various groups of the power elite of the USSR, as well as the ideological confrontation with the West:

“Wanting to push Khrushchevsensing that some part of his soul also wants a “reverse” from the path of liberalization and an experienced scent, ideological officials prepared a 35-page digest of “Doctor Zhivago”, skillfully selected from “counter-revolutionary quotes”, for Politburo members and skillfully organized the pages of the newspapers “popular indignation” by a novel which none of those indignant had read to them. They began to manipulate the parsnip, making his novel a card in a political dirty game – both in the West and inside the USSR. Anticommunism in this game turned out to be smarter than communism because it looked more humane as the defender of the persecuted poet, and communism, prohibiting this novel, looked like a medieval Inquisition. But the party bureaucracy didn’t care what it looked like in the so-called “world public opinion” – it needed to stay in power inside the country, and this was possible only with the continuous production of “enemies of the Soviet power.” The most cynical thing in the Pasternak story is that ideological opponents forgot: Pasternak is a living person, not a playing card, and they fought against each other, hitting him on the card table of his political casino. ”

Despite the exclusion from the Union of Writers of the USSR, Pasternak continued to remain a member of the Literary Fund of the USSR, receive royalties, and publish. Repeatedly voiced by his persecutors, the idea that Pasternak would probably want to leave the USSR was rejected by him – Pasternak wrote to Khrushchev in a letter: “Leaving my homeland is tantamount to death. I am connected with Russia through birth, life, work ”.

Because of the poem “Nobel Prize” published in the West, Pasternak was called to the USSR Prosecutor General R. A. Rudenko in February 1959, where he was threatened with charges under Article 64 ” Treason to the Motherland “.

In the summer of 1959, Pasternak began work on the remaining unfinished play, Blind Beauty, but he soon discovered lung cancer in the last months of his life, confined him to bed.



“Doctor Zhivago” was first filmed in Brazil in 1959, when the television movie of the same name was directed (“Doutor Jivago”).

The most famous in the world of the novel adaptation of was a Hollywood movie, 1965, David Lean, won 5 awards ” Golden Globe ” and the 5 figurines ” Oscar “.

The third production was directed by Giacomo Campiotti (Italian: Giacomo Campiotti) in 2002.

In the USSR
In the film “ Risk Level ” (1968) Innokenty Smoktunovsky (performer of the role of mathematician Alexander Kirillov) quoted a 12-line passage from Pasternak ’s poem “Being famous is ugly…” (1956). The poem “I want to get to the bottom of everything” is quoted in Oleg Efremov’s film “ The Bridge Is Built ” (1965) performed by Igor Kvasha.

The mass Soviet television viewer got acquainted with Pasternak’s poems in 1976 in the film by Eldar Ryazanov “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!” “. The poem ” There Will Be Nobody in the House… ” (1931), transformed into an urban romance, is performed by Sergei Nikitin in the film to the accompaniment of a guitar. Later, Eldar Ryazanov included an excerpt from Pasternak’s other poem, “To love others is a heavy cross…” (1931), in his film “ Office Romance ”, however, in a farcical episode.

Song to the verses of B.L. Pasternak to the music of Sergei Nikitin, “The Snow is Falling” (1957), is featured in the film directed by Naum Ardashnikov and Oleg Efremov ” Old New Year ” (1980) performed by Sergei Nikitin.

In Russia
“Doctor Zhivago” was filmed in 2005 by Alexander Proshkin. Oleg Menshikov starred in the title role. This film adaptation caused mixed reviews from critics.

Alexander Smirnov, Leonid Meisel (“ Another Drama ” (“Pasternak”), USSR flagUSSR, Flag of the Great BritainGreat Britain, 1990)
Alexander Kudrenko (Yesenin, Flag of RussiaRussia, 2005)
Alexander Khochinsky (General, Flag of RussiaRussia, 1992)
Sergey Yursky (Furtseva, Flag of RussiaRussia, 2011)
Evgeny Knyazev (Mirrors, Flag of RussiaRussia, 2013)
Alexander Baranovsky (” Mayakovsky. Two days “, Flag of RussiaRussia, 2013)
Sergey Varchuk (“ Mysterious Passion ”, Flag of RussiaRussia, 2015)

In theatrical productions
In 1987, the premiere of the opera written by the British composer Nigel Osbourne “ Electrification of the Soviet Union ” based on the works of Boris Pasternak, written a year earlier, took place.

In 2006, the musical “Doctor Zhivago” was staged by the director Boris Milgram, composer Alexander Zhurbin and playwright Mikhail Bartenev in the Perm Academic Theater-Theater. The premiere took place on December 30.

In 2016 in Gogol-center of the premiere of “Pasternak. My sister is life. ” Director Maxim Didenko.

In the work of contemporaries
For a long time Pasternak was in correspondence with Marina Tsvetaeva.

Anna Akhmatova wrote a poem on the death of Pasternak on June 1, 1960.

Varlam Shalamov, who was at Peredelkino at Pasternak’s funeral, responded to the poet’s death with a cycle of several poems, four of which were written on the same day – June 2, 1960.

On June 4, 1960, German Plisetskiy, who was present at the poet’s funeral, wrote a poem entitled “In Memory of Pasternak”.

In 1962, Boris Chichibabin wrote a poem to Pasternak.

On December 4, 1966, Alexander Galich wrote and dedicated one of his best songs, “In memory of Pasternak”, to the memory of the poet, which he subsequently performed several times. The song ended with the following stanza:

So slander and debate fell silent –
It was like taking a day off from Eternity…
And above the coffin – the looters stood up,
And they bear – the honorary – ka-ra-ul!

11/29/1971 at the Taganka Theater the premiere of the play “Hamlet” on the tragedy of William Shakespeare took place, the main role in which was played by the leading actor of the theater Vladimir Vysotsky. The performance began with the performance by the artist, to his own guitar accompaniment, of a song to B. Pasternak’s poem “Hamlet” (1946) – “The Humming Quiet. I went to the stage… ” (music by V. Vysotsky). The performance became central in the repertoire of the theater and remained in it until 07/18/1980 inclusive.

In October 1984, by a court decision, Pasternak’s dacha in Peredelkino was seized from the writer’s relatives and transferred to state ownership. Two years later, in 1986, the first Pasternak Museum in the USSR was founded in the country.

In 1980, the year of the poet’s 90th birthday, the astronomer of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory Lyudmila Karachkina named an asteroid discovered on February 21, 1980, 3508 – Pasternak.

In 1990, the year of the poet’s 100th birthday, the Pasternak Museum opened its doors in Chistopol, in the house where the poet lived in evacuation during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1943), and in Peredelkino, where he lived for many years until his death. The director of the poet’s house-museum is Natalya Pasternak, who is his daughter-in-law (widow of the youngest son Leonid).

In 2008, a museum was opened in Vsevolodo-Vilva (Perm Territory) in the house where the budding poet lived from January to June 1916 .

In 2009, on the day of the city, the first Russian monument to Pasternak was unveiled in Perm in the square near the Opera House (sculptor – Elena Munts ) .

On the house where Pasternak was born (Arms Lane, d. 3), a memorial plaque was installed.

In memory of a three-time stay in Tula on the Wörmann hotel building, a marble memorial plaque to Pasternak was installed on 27/05/2005 as a Nobel laureate who dedicated several works to Tula .

On February 20, 2008, in Kiev, at memorial plaque, a memorial plaque was erected in house No. 9 on Lipinsky Street (formerly Chapaeva), and seven years later it was removed by vandals.

In 2012, a monument to Boris Pasternak by Z. Tsereteli was erected in the district center of Muchkap (Tambov Region)

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize to B. Pasternak, the Principality of Monaco issued a postage stamp in his honor.

On January 27, 2015, in honor of the poet’s 125th birthday, the Russian Post issued an envelope with the original stamp.

On October 1, 2015, a monument to Pasternak was unveiled in Chistopol.