To hell with the new society! It's only Gennady who can get wrapped up in it and spend hours reading what Lenin and Stalin said and about the achievements of our Soviet Union.
Fourteen-year-old Nina Lugovskaya wrote this in her diary on 2 May 1933 (Gennady was a classmate). Four years later, the secret police confiscated the diary and arrested its author. When the NKVD men read it, they underlined this passage, along with other heterodox thoughts. Against the new society! Contemptuous of Soviet achievements! And, on top of that, the daughter of a former socialist Revolutionary, a political opponent of the Bolsheviks with an arrest record going back to 1919, the year after Nina's birth. In fact, Nina's bad mood on 2 May was related to her father's travails: he had just been refused a Moscow residence permit and had had to move to Mozhaisk, a small provincial town not far away; and on this May Day holiday, Nina's mother had gone out to Mozhaisk to be with him. Nina was alone at home, 'dreary and sad'. It was the first time she had missed the big holiday demonstration. 'I heard the orchestra playing the march and, somewhere in the distance, cries of "Hurrah!",' she wrote plaintively.
LRB 6 May 2004 | PDF Download