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Dark Memories

Oleg Nikishin / Pressphotos

GRIEF: Svetlana Tsigoeva, who lost her daughter in the siege, stands in the ruins of the school; drinks, denied to the hostages, are left in tribute to the dead

The scene looks normal enough. A group of teachers sit talking quietly in an empty room in a brand-new, cavernous school. Drinking bad instant coffee, they chat about everything from a problem studentŚ"God, I hope we're not going to get him next year"Śto furniture for their staff room. One instructor, Elena Kasumova, leafs through a small questionnaire she gave some 11-year-olds 18 months ago. The first question was, "What do you fear most?" Spiders, answered one girl. Low grades, another. The loss of someone close to me, wrote a third.

The children who answered the questionnaire are...

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