The Foundation Pit

by Andrei Platonovich Klimentov

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Voshchev is the main character in the story. He is a machine worker who sits around thinking about the meaning of life.

Safronov is arguably the most politically active of the workers trying to reach the pit. He is a socialist who “parrots official slogans.” Interestingly, however, he is also critical of others and, to a certain extent, of Soviet ideology. For example, he criticizes workers for putting too much effort into the project.

Prushevsky is an engineer and a supervisor. He represents a member of the intelligentsia, a common character in Russian literature of the time. While he is initially distrusted by the rest of the characters, he is eventually welcomed because of his skills and his ability to enlighten the masses with his knowledge. He attempts suicide at one point in the novel.

Lev Il’ich Pashki is the chairman of the trade union and a government official with a lot of special privileges. He is most often observed complaining about the group's work. Like Prushevsky, he represents a stock character in the Russian novels of the era.

Kozlov is murdered in the collective village along with Safronov. He is portrayed by Platonov as a sexual pervert who “caresses himself at night under the blanket and then has insufficient strength to work during the day.”

Nastya is portrayed as an ideal communist child. She forgets her wealthy mother and is often seen repeating party slogans. Platonov says she has “come to love the Soviet government, and now collects objects for recycling.” The money obtained from recycling activities, explains Thomas Seifrid in his companion to The Foundation Pit, was used to buy tractors. She dies at the end of the novel.

The activist is an overeager party worker who is sent to oversee the project's political activities. He is often seen reading instructions form the party and obsessively complying with every government order.

Bear is an anthropomorphic bear who goes through the village killing its inhabitants.

A more in-depth analysis of the characters in the novel, including etymological analysis and comparisons to characters in other Platonov stories, can be found in A Companion to Andrei Platonov's The Foundation Pit by Thomas Seifrid.

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