Dariya Gizatullina

Born in 1996 in Troitsk, Russia
Student (South Ural State University)

"I will write as I wish…" (2015)

Herman Stepanov was born in 1913 into one of the richest families in the Orenburg region (today's Chelyabinsk region) in Russia. His father was a prominent businessman. After the 1917 Revolution, however, millions of Russians were deprived of political and civil rights (including electoral participation, holding certain posts, college education) and they came to be called "former people." Needless to say, the life of the Stepanovs changed dramatically. The Reds (Bolsheviks) confiscated all their property and the family escaped. What followed was a period of hunger, cold, living in various rental apartments and a shortage of essential goods.

How did these events influence the little boy Herman? Herman kept a diary and his diary entries are preserved from 1922 to 1925, i.e. when he was between 9 and 12 years old. His entries coincide with the time when Stalin came to power. It was not an intimate diary, Dariya says, as it was kept under the initiative and the supervision of Herman's mother. "But even the notes in such a childish manner inevitably reflected the life that surrounded Herman and the events that bothered the boy," states Dariya.

Read Dariya's original research paper (11 MB, in Russian)

Dariya Gizatullina won a second prize in 2015 with her work: ”I will write as I wish…”, in the Russian History Competition "Man in history – Russia in the 20th century”.

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