“I’d Rather Not Write about It Anymore”: The Great Purge and Victims’ Children. An Analysis of the Diaries of Two Teenage Komsomol Members

Artem Kravchenko


Based on the analysis of the diaries of two Soviet teenagers whose parents were victims of Stalinist repressions, this essay attempts to evaluate how the authors of the diaries processed their traumatic experiences and to what extent these experiences affected their identity. Central to this process is, of course, the phenomenon of omission. Nevertheless, the conflict between the official Soviet worldview and the teenagers’ personal experiences could not be resolved purely through omission. In the diaries the authors craft a distinction between their personal, intimate space and Soviet collectivist ideals. This takes places differently in each author’s case. However, in both cases the necessity to view oneself as an exemplary Soviet person ceases to be either the only or the primary theme. By avoiding making challenges to Soviet ideals, the authors actively shape personal, intimate environments that no longer fit into the “big” official world of their surroundings. In Russian.


History of Childhood; Stalinism; Political Repressions; Great Purge; Diaries; Soviet Man; Victims of Terror; Soviet Utopia

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