Man From Talalaivka by Olga Chaplin
The Man from Talalaivka is the gripping story of a man torn between love for his country and the harsh reality of totalitarian rule… The story of a man forced to change countries through the battles of two totalitarian tyrants…
In an idyllic Kylapchin village, 200 kilometres north-east of Kiev, in Ukraine’s Sumskaya Oblast, a young man’s life was overturned by the brutality of the Stalinist regime. It was 1929: Lenin had died five years earlier, his followers gradually scattering or succumbing to Secretary General Stalin’s ruthless will.
Upheaval took on a sinister new dimension as ‘collectivisation’ of farms was enforced throughout Stalin’s new Russian empire; no greater effects of which were felt than by Peter and his family, along with millions of others in the Ukraine.
Stalin’s goal-to break and destroy the independence of Ukrainian farmers-did ultimately succeed. But at massive cost. Most were herded to ‘collective farms’, or kolkhozes. Others-like Peter’s parents Yosef and Palasha-were gaoled on pretext of being ‘kulaks’ (wealthy farmers), then sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in a Siberian labour camp. It was a one-way ticket to a slow death.
Peter risked his life-and perhaps even the safety of his young family-and did the unthinkable: he forged travel documents and journeyed to the Siberian snow-bound prison camp in which his parents were incarcerated. The journey, and his capture by NKVD agents, almost cost him his life. Miraculously, he returned, changed by the haunting experience…
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