Study Guide

Breaking Stalin's Nose Chapter 5

By Eugene Yelchin

Chapter 5

  • Sasha wakes up in the middle of the night worried about that whole Aunt Larisa thing.
  • He looks out the window and sees a ginormous statue of Joseph Stalin. This bad boy can be seen from every building in Moscow, apparently.
  • We find out that his dad, all heroic-like, recently shut down a group of terrorists (called "wreckers") who were trying to blow up the statue.
  • Sasha imagines that the statue is the real-life Stalin, watching over lots of shiny black cars (which belong to the State Security—or the secret police).
  • And—strangely enough—one drives up to Sasha's house right now. Someone's apparently in trouble (maybe for too-loud accordion music?).
  • Remember the boatload of people who live in Sasha's building? Well, they have a weird way for visitors to get the attention of the person they want: each family has a target number of doorbell rings to alert them that they have visitors.
  • So, five rings means Sasha's family has visitors, which we're starting to think is probably not the best thing in the middle of the night in this place. But, that's just our guess.
  • It's three State Security agents, and Sasha enters the room to discover that one of them has roughed up his dad. Then, they begin to riffle through their room, throwing their belongings everywhere and even cutting open his dad's mattress.
  • When they're finished, Sasha watches the agents drag his Dad from the room. His last words to his son are: "It's more important to join the Pioneers than to have a father [...] [y]ou hear me?" (5.18).
  • Cue the Dramatic Music: it turns out Stukachov was behind the arrest of Sasha's dad. And what do you know, once Sasha leaves (the state will come collect him tomorrow), Stukachov's family will move into their room. Talk about pouring salt in the wound.
  • Sasha watches through a window as his dad is frog-marched out into the night and forced into a black car.