In the spring of 1935 Lazar Moiseevich Kaganovich, one of Stalin’s most loyal adjutants, was appointed People’s Commissar for Transport. At a ceremony in the Kremlin in July 1935, he awarded medals to a number of railway workers. Soon afterwards Platonov was invited to contribute to a collective volume in praise of the heroism of Soviet railway workers.
In January 1936 Platonov was sent to the industrial Donbas region, to meet a railway station director who had been awarded the Order of Lenin. This led to him writing “Bessmertie” [“Immortality”], a story that won enthusiastic approval at a Writers’ Union meeting held on 10 March. Platonov then received another commission: in late March he was s…
Chandler, Robert. "Sredi zhivotnykh i rastenii". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 February 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=14444, accessed 22 January 2017.]