History of The Twelve Chairs

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The Twelve Chairs satirizes not only its central characters, but also the people and institutions they encounter: the operations of a Moscow newspaper, student housing, a provincial chess club, and so on. Bender represents values of the old order, egoism and individualism. He knows “four hundred comparatively honest ways of taking money away from the population” (Russian: "Четыреста сравнительно честных способов отъёма денег у населения"), and he has no future in the post revolutionary Soviet Union. Ilf and Petrov’s observations on aspects of everyday life are comic, but shrewd.

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