Title of the article:



Olga V. Fedunina

Information about the author/authors

Olga V. Fedunina — PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A. М. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya St. 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia. E-mail: fille.off@gmail.com


Philological sciences




Vol. 55


pp. 186–194


May 23, 2019

Date of publication

March 28, 2020



Index UDK


Index BBK



The article deals with one of the cardinal aspects of the poetics of criminal literature of the Soviet period — the issue of personal and professional identity of the characters, which directly appeals to the correspondent status of the Soviet person. The novel by Yulian Semenov “Petrovka 38” acted as a main subject matter for the analysis, being characteristic of the “thaw” period, where both detectives and an involuntary accomplice of criminals go through an identity crisis. As analysis shows criminal literature of the “thaw” sees the value system complicating, when the reader, like the character, faces the need to make ethical choices of their own and ethically evaluate the act of an involuntary accomplice of the murderers as a crime or mistake that could be corrected by repentance. At the same time, this entails, on the one hand, the fact of recognizing by stumbling protagonist the destruction his identity as a Soviet person, and on the other, discrepancy in assessments between the police authorities and investigators conducting an investigation, which provokes a kind of professional identity crisis in the latter. Thus, unambiguity of evaluations characteristic of the socialist-realist canon is relieved in the criminal literature of the period studied, by relying on tradition of the Russian classical novel.


criminal literature, genre, police story, identity crisis, Yu. Semenov, “Petrovka 38”.


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