Nina Lugovskaya began writing this diary in 1932, when she was thirteen years old. She lived with her family in Moscow during the time of Stalin's Great Terror. Upon the discovery of her diary, Nina, along with her mother and two sisters, was sentenced to five years of hard labor in a prison camp and seven more in exile in Siberia. Recently discovered in the newly opened KGB archives, Nina's diary offers today's reader a fascinating perspective on the era in which she lived.
Recently unearthed in the archives of Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD, Nina Lugovskaya’s diary offers rare insight into the life of a teenage girl in Stalin’s Russia—when fear of arrest was a fact of daily life. Like Anne Frank, thirteen-year-old Nina is conscious of the extraordinary dangers around her and her family, yet she is preoccupied by ordinary teenage concerns: boys, parties, her appearance, who she wants to be when she grows up. As Nina records her most personal emotions and observations, her reflections shape a diary that is as much a portrait of her intense inner world as it is the Soviet outer one.
Preserved here, these markings—the evidence used to convict Nina as a “counterrevolutionary”—offer today’s reader a fascinating perspective on the era in which she lived.
In this revealing diary, 13-year-old Nina Lugovskaya gave a true account of
her life during Stalin's Great Terror. Nina's diary begins on October 8, 1932
and continues as she records her observations about school, friends, crushes
and her family life, along with angry commentary about Stalin's restrictive
regime: "Today they herded us out to march around the streets, which made me
absolutely furious.... Walking over the cold, gray ground in the damp, dull
light of an autumn day... and cursing Soviet power to myself." Her family was
subjected to constant raids by the NKVD (Stalin's secret police) because of
her father's involvement in the Socialist Revolutionary Party. She was
cruelly teased by classmates because of her lazy eye and her academic
struggles made her depressed-suicide is a topic she revisits throughout her
diary. Nina's final entry occurs on January 3, 1937; the next day her diary
was confiscated during a raid by the NKVD. During intensive interrogation,
Nina (falsely) confesses to a plot to assassinate Stalin and she, her mother
and twin sisters are sentenced to five years of hard labor in Kolyma prison
camp, where they miraculously survived; Nina herself worked as an artist and
lived until the age of 74. Lugovskaya's diary, which was found in the NKVD
archives, stands as a compelling historical artifact and Nina's story gives a
moving-if relentlessly melancholy-personal account of life in Communist
Russia. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
A remarkable document, showing an intelligent teen's rage against oppressive politics, as well as universal coming-of-age concerns--including anxieties about looks, academic pressures, and hopeful yearnings coupled with suicidal lows. . . . This will provide crucial support for high-school, and even college-level, studies of Russian history. Using boldfaced type, the editors have preserved those passages marked as counterrevolutionary by the Soviet investigators who confiscated the diary; helpful appended material includes editor's notes, a thoughtful bibliography, and several photos and family letters.
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