Botkin Hospital (1957–1958)

Address: 5 2nd Botinskii Passage, Moscow

Botkin Hospital at the end of 1950s. Photo: PastVu

Botkin Hospital at the end of the 1950s. Photo: PastVu

During the late 1950s, Varlam Shalamov was admitted to Botkin Hospital, one of the most famous hospitals in Moscow, several times. Shalamov was in good health during the first few years after his return from Kolyma, but in 1957 his health deteriorated rapidly. Shalamov became almost entirely disabled due to various post-traumatic illnesses. He began to lose his sight and hearing and suffered from kidney stones and Meniere's syndrome.

Despite his worsening physical condition, Shalamov wrote poems and planned new stories even while in the hospital. For the rest of his life, Shalamov had to follow a very strict diet and avoid smoking in order to continue writing.

Sergey Solovyov