Breaking Stalin's Nose
by Eugene Yelchin
Sasha Zaichik Timeline and Summary
- Sasha's dad gives him the scarf of a Young Soviet Pioneer. Sasha's super excited that he's going to be inducted into the Pioneers the following day.
- Hold the phone—Sasha's dad is arrested in the middle of the night, which probably throws a wrench into Sasha's pioneering hopes and dreams.
- As his dad instructed, Sasha goes to his aunt's house, but she and her husband can't help him: because they're afraid for their lives.
- The next day at school, Sasha accidentally breaks the nose off of a statue of Stalin. Four-Eyes falsely confesses to the crime.
- Later, Sasha stages a mini-rebellion in his classroom, and as punishment, he has to pay a visit to the State Security senior lieutenant (the dude who arrested his father).
- Sasha learns some bad news from this guy: Sasha's mom, who was an American, did not die in the hospital. His dad actually turned her in as a criminal.
- Oh, and Sasha's dad was actually a snitch, which is not very heroic after all.
- Sasha makes a deal with the senior lieutenant: he'll be a spy at the school in exchange for being allowed to become a Pioneer. Plus, he'll get to carry the banner in the ceremony today.
- As he's about to march in the Pioneers ceremony, Sasha decides he doesn't want to be a Pioneer after all, and leaves the school.
- He goes to Lubyanka prison and gets into line with roughly a thousand other people (and we're not exaggerating for poetic effect here) to wait to see his dad.
- In line, he meets a kindly woman who offers him food and a cot to sleep in.
- The two wait.