The Shoemaker and His Daughter: One Ordinary Family’s Remarkable Journey from Stalin’s Soviet Union to Putin’s Russia by Conor O’Clery - review by Xan Smiley

Xan Smiley

Orphans of the USSR

The Shoemaker and His Daughter: One Ordinary Family’s Remarkable Journey from Stalin’s Soviet Union to Putin’s Russia

By

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It was a bit disconcerting to discover that an old friend, when I was a correspondent in Moscow back in the dying days of the Soviet Union, had been told by the KGB to spy on me. Some foreign correspondents, Zhanna Suvorova was darkly told, were ‘not what they seem’. They wanted to ‘damage our homeland’. She was warned, moreover, that if she did not cooperate, her permit to live in Moscow would be rescinded and she would fail her doctorate in linguistics.

As things turned out, Zhanna, an Armenian-Russian scholar, was able to resist such threats. Moreover, despite a host of obstacles, she married one of her language students, who happened to be Ireland’s most distinguished foreign correspondent, Conor O’Clery, moving with him to America after the Soviet Union collapsed. They eventually

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