Moscow 2042

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Moscow 2042
Moscow 2042 book cover.jpg
1st English edition (1987)
AuthorVladimir Voinovich
Original titleМосква 2042
CountrySoviet Union
GenrePolitical, dystopian, satirical
PublisherHarcourt Brace Jovanovich (English 1st ed.)
Publication date
Published in English
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
891.73/44 19
LC ClassPG3489.4.I53 M6513 1987

Moscow 2042 (Russian: Москва́ 2042, Moskva 2042) is a 1986 satirical novel (translated into English from Russian in 1987) by Vladimir Voinovich.[1] In this book, the alter ego of the author travels to the future, where he sees how communism has been successfully built in the single city of Moscow, but it soon becomes clear that the political system in the country is not a utopia and that Russia is ruled by the "Communist Party of State Security" which combines the KGB, the Communist Party, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The party is led by former KGB general Bukashin (name literally meaning "the insect") who met previously with the main character of the novel in Germany. An extreme slavophile Sim Karnavalov (apparently a parody of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) enters Moscow on a white horse as the savior.

Voinovich wrote this book in 1982.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

The Russian author Kartsev, living in Munich in 1982 (just like Voinovich himself), time travels to the Moscow of 2042. After the "Great August Revolution", the new leader referred to as "Genialissimus" has changed the Soviet Union... up to a certain point. After Vladimir Lenin's dream of the world revolution narrowed down to Joseph Stalin's theory of "Socialism in one country", Genialissimus has decided to start from building "Communism in one city", namely in Moscow.

CPGB – The Communist party of state security (combined Emblem of the USSRKGB)

The ideology has changed somewhat, into a hodgepodge of Marxism–Leninism and Russian Orthodoxy (Genialissimo himself is also Patriarch). The country is ruled by CPGB – The Communist Party of State Security, a merger of the Communist Party and KGB. The decay from which the Soviet Union suffered has worsened. The rest of the Soviet Union, where people barely survive, has been separated by a Berlin type of wall from the "paradise" of Moscow, where communism has been realized. Within the wall everyone gets everything by the communist principle, "according to his needs", though their needs are not decided by themselves, but by the Genialissimus. Most people have "ordinary needs", but a chosen few have "extraordinary needs". For the first-mentioned group, life is dismal even within the privileged "Moscorep" (Moscow Communist Republic). The situation finally gets so desperate that people throw themselves in the arms of the "liberator", a dissident writer and acquaintance of Kartsev, the slavophile Sim Karnavalov (an apparent mockery of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn), who enters Moscow on a white horse and proclaims himself Tsar Serafim the First. Thus, communism is abandoned and society digresses back into feudal autocracy.


This novel is considered[3] to be a masterpiece of dystopian satire. Some (including Voinovich[4]) have called the novel prophetic.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gross, John (2 June 1987). "Books of the times". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Yusupov, Alexander (6 August 2014). "'Moscow 2042' gets award 30 years on". The Moscow Times.
  3. ^ Шишкина, С.Г. (2007). "Литературная антиутопия: к вопросу о границах жанра" [Literary dystopia: toward the frontiers of genre] (PDF). Вестник гуманитарного факультета ИГХТУ [Herald of Humanitarian faculty at the Ivanovo State University of Chemistry and Technology] (in Russian) (2): 199–208.
  4. ^ Васильев, Юрий (1 August 2012). "Владимир Войнович – о "Москве 2042" в Москве-2012" [Vladimir Voinivich on Moscow 2042 in Moscow-2012] (in Russian). Radio Liberty.

External links[edit]