I Want to Live
This is the diary of a girl in her teens, writing during the mid-1930s under Stalin’s Soviet Union. Nina’s father was classified as a counter-revolutionary and exiled from Moscow, and so the rest of the family lived under the threat of the NKVD (the forerunner to the KGB). The diary is a mélange of typical teenage angst about school, personal looks and relationships, interspersed with some lucid and dangerous criticism of the Soviet regime. It was these diaries seized in a NKVD raid which supplied the “evidence” to exile Nina and her immediate family to the Siberian wastes in 1937. Nina survived this harsh incarceration, and became an artist, dying in 1994, having seen the end of Communism. A sobering first-hand account of growing up during the start of Stalin’s Terror.