In Ivankiad, I learned Vladimir Voinovich is the uncompromising protagonist in constant dispute with the antagonist, Ivanko. The way in which society works and the economy, is governed by the bureaucracy. In the Ivankiad, it shows how important people within the bureaucracy govern society with their own type of corrupted rules. Voinovich as the main character is motivated by this injustice of bureaucratic corruption. Meanwhile Ivanko is motivated by his bureaucratic position, as a man of stature he is epitomized by others as a wealthy man with an American attitude. Ivanko’s stature puts Voinovich in predicaments that show how corrupt the system was in favor of important people, and how little sympathy they had for others.
The main character, Voinovich is motivated to get the vacant apartment that he is promised earlier. This sheer determination is also fueled by his rival’s determination to acquire the empty apartment as well. While Voinovich is legally going through all the steps to acquire the apartment, Ivanko is using his stature in society as a bureaucrat to get the decision making people on his side. He gets everyone, but the public attorney’s office on his side to win over the apartment. Ivanko as a member of the housing cooperative was able to exude fear through threats and types of coercion into the other chairmen to vote in his favor. Ecspecially Turnagov, the head of the housing cooperative and top decision maker who also fights in favor of Ivanko.
Acting morally wasn’t operating well on Voinovich’s side, while his rival’s unmoral actions were getting him results. I learned Ivanko’s corrupt actions were normal in Soviet society at this time because he was able to coerce many committees to wane off his enemy. Ivanko’s status and stature also showed how the economy worked in bureaucratic favor. The people in the housing cooperative often spoke of Ivanko’s wealth and western material things. This type of talk also gave greater determination for Voinovich because American ways in the superior Soviet Union were taught to be inferior. This type of exceptionalism was clear in the Ivankiad, when talking about Ivanko and his western things.
On one hand we have a Vladimir Voinovich who is a “middle class” man with a baby on the way and all he wants is the apartment promised to him. He does this by going from the housing cooperative to the borough head and beyond. He was the exception to the rule in his victory of the apartment. In other living situations, with people of a lower stature I am afraid wouldn’t have gotten so lucky. On the other hand, Ivanko a prominent man in society who has done much for his country uses his power to attempt to just throw away the structure of the system to get what he wants.
In all, the soviet bureaucracy was corrupt but still had a legal system to keep some of these elites in check. The economy of the Soviet Union shaped society in not only where the people of the state lived, but their behavior as well. Voinovich sought out justice and received it with patience, but without his struggle he wouldn’t have prevailed. Then again, this is Russia and it lives by its own rules!