The NKVD came for Angelina and Nelly Bushueva's father in 1937, when they were one and three years old. Nine months later, the sisters were sent to different orphanages when their mother, Zinaida, was sent to the Akmolinsk Labour Camp for Wives of Traitors to the Motherland, along with their baby brother, Slava. Zinaida's own mother found Nelly several weeks later but didn't recover Angelina until the spring of 1940. The girls were then reunited with their mother and brother in the labour camp, where they went to school and joined the Pioneers. After Zinaida's release in 1946, the family moved to a small settlement outside Perm because Zinaida didn't have a right of residence in the city itself. She worked in a state insurance office while Nelly, who was then 12, ran messages. In 1951, Angelina enrolled in Perm's Pedagogical Institute, where she became secretary of the Komsomol. She eventually married a Communist official in the factory where she worked from 1962 until her retirement in 1991. That same year, Nelly and Angelina learned that their father, who had been working for a steamship line at the time of his arrest, had been executed as an 'enemy of the people' in January 1938. Their mother died in 1992.
LRB 10 April 2008 | PDF Download