Study Guide

Breaking Stalin's Nose Chapter 4

By Eugene Yelchin

Chapter 4

  • Sasha's papa finally comes home, and the whole room falls silent. They seem afraid of his dad, but Sasha points out that they're just being respectful. Maybe it's a bit of both?
  • One neighbor, Stukachov, asks Sasha's dad "how many spies" he has caught that day (4.1). Of course, his dad can't reveal that, since "it's a state secret" (4.1).
  • Stukachov follows them to their room, and Sasha wishes he'd just go away.
  • Their room sounds pretty swanky compared to what others in the building have. Plus, they get the large-ish room all to themselves, while Stukachov shares a small room with his wife, three kids and his mother.
  • Is Stukachov a creepy peeper? He peeks into their room just before Sasha's dad closes the door. We're starting to get a bad feeling about this...
  • Which gets worse when Sasha's dad warns him to not talk to Stukachov, because "He'll use it" (4.3).
  • Sasha has no idea what this means (and neither do we—but it certainly sounds bad).
  • Now safely in their room, Sasha reads his father the letter to Joseph Stalin he wrote earlier.
  • His dad gives him the red scarf of a Young Soviet Pioneer, and Sasha learns that his dad will be at the ceremony at school the next day to tie on Sasha's scarf.
  • And then his Dad gives him a strange, out-of-the-blue warning: if anything ever happens to him (to his dad, that is), Sasha should go to his Aunt Larisa. Well that's not exactly reassuring.
  • The next-door neighbor, Orlov, starts playing his accordion and singing a patriotic song so loudly that Sasha and his Dad can hear it through their wall. After his Dad knocks on the wall and tells him to pipe it down, Orlov stops (not because he's afraid of Sasha's dad or anything, but because—you know—"respect").