So, here is the first of a few Dombrovskii stories:
Whilst walking through the city on a may afternoon in the 1970s, Dombrovskii noticed a collection of paintings on a wall of a building; they represented the great Soviet leaders. He stopped, looked up at the painting of Stalin and said: “are we really going to worship him again?” A man next to him replied: “You must be one of those rehabilitated ones…?” Dombrovskii turned to the man and punched him straight in the face. A policeman turned up instantly and took Dombrovskii into custody. Arriving at the police headquarters he asked Dombrovskii:
“Do you at least know who that was?”
“Of course I do, it was Molotov“.
The policeman ascertained whether Dombrovskii’s insult was deliberate and after receiving a positive answer explained that he had to be severely punished for it.
“I will have to fine you….3 roubles!” he exclaimed triumphantly.
Dombrovskii scratched the back of his head and explained that he’d spent all his money in the restaurant. The policeman, after some consideration, unexpectedly offered to pay Dombrovskii’s fine himself.
And he let the writer go.
For Russian speakers, this story is told in a very lovely documentary about Dombrovskii and his wife Klara: