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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.