Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror


The manuscript I am working on (waiting for friends’ feedback at the moment) is set in the 1930s in the then-young Soviet Union.

The 1930s was the time when the USSR was but in its twenties — the youngest nation in the world. It was the time of frantic building, an epoch of wild pride and big dreams. The Soviets were in the middle of the greatest human experiment. They were building the best place on earth, the most humane, the fairest society in the entire world.

For millions of Soviet people, the 1930s was also the time of nightmares. 

Here is a 2-minute video clip from a popular movie of the time.


Do you know whose portrait these people are holding up while marching in a parade? That man with the mustache was Comrade Josef Stalin, the harshest, most ruthless dictator known to human history. Josef Stalin built a system of oppression, under which millions of people were sent to their deaths, or to the remote areas of their country, thousands of kilometers away from their lives and their loved ones. Millions were sent away or shot for making a wrong joke. For not being “political” enough. For having connections to old wealth or old Russian aristocracy. For being too wealthy. Too unorthodox. Too different. For refusing to follow an order. For refusing to seal someone else’s fate with a careless word. Sometimes, they were sent away for no reason at all.

In the video clip, do you know what these people are singing? They are singing, “there is no other land where a man can live this free.”

The 1930s was the time of massive arrests and even more massive paranoia. The 1930s was the epoch of fear that enveloped the Soviet society.

If you have another moment, I invite you over once again to the blog of my good friend and historical fiction author Joyce Moyer Hostetter, where I share a very personal memory of my own fear, half a century later.


Thanks everyone, once again, for stopping by!


February 27, 2011 Posted by | The U.S.S.R. | , , | 8 Comments