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

Doubleday 357pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

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 She was warned, moreover, that if she did not cooperate, her permit to live in Moscow would be rescinded and she would fail her doctorate in linguistics.

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