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Breaking Stalin's Nose

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.