In the People's Paradise

COURTESY OF IRINA OSIPOVA

FACE OF DEFIANCE: Mug shots of Lugovskaya, 18, taken after her arrest by the NKVD in January 1937

Thirteen is a difficult age, especially when your father is in jail, your mother is sick with worry and your two older sisters are perfect in every way. So Nina Lugovskaya, a high school student in pre-World War II Moscow, began confiding her innermost turmoil to a diary. For nearly five years, she poured out her thoughts on parties, puppy love and sibling resentment — until one day in 1937, when there was a knock at the door. The diary was seized by Joseph Stalin's secret police (nkvd) and used to convict the girl of treason. Lugovskaya, her mother and...

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