Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sofi Oksanen

“Are you sure, comrade Aliide”?

The interrogator asks Aliide:” Where is Hans”? (the husband of her older sister Engel and an Estonian nationalist)

Aliide: “Hans is dead. Killed by roaming gangs in the forest…”

Are you sure, comrade Aliide?”

“Hans is dead”

The tchekist (Soviet security agent) said: “I have done all that is possible to help you. I can do nothing now”

Those people in long chromed leather boots and leather black coats attached the hands of Aliide behind her back, and dropped a jute bag over her head.

She could see nothing. Water dripped on the floor of the cave beneath the municipality. The odor of the humid cave spilled out the door.

Aliide shirt was torn apart and her chest bared. She was transformed into a mouse in a corner, a fly on a lamp, a rusty thumbtacks on the wall..

Blood under the skin of her chest, the hematoma of her tits were inflated. As the skin of the naked woman touched the floor, she didn’t move. This body with a bag over her head was now a stranger, she never existed, she was a root going deeper under the soil.

Aliide was spit on the leg of the table, by a hole for termites. She was a mole digging away. The courtyard smelt of rain and wind, the humid dirt breathed. The head of Aliide was dipped in a trash bucket.

She was being sniffed by dogs, urinated at… And somewhere you could smell brandy, guess the chromed boots… Somewhere people were mixing the languages of Estonia and Russia, rotten tongued whistling…

The buckle of a belt jingling, a door opening, a glass resounding, a chair scratching the floor…

Aliide was a fly, trying to escape in her mind, but this woman is emitting a moan, a death rattle in a spasm. The bag smelt of vomit, smelt of urine…

The door banged: “It stinks. Get her out”

Aliide is in a ditch. Shortly the sun will be up: She has to drag her sore body home, before anybody see her and recognizes her. She had no socks on.

Her older sister Engel will never forgive her for bearing her legs, no decent woman should show her naked legs…

As Aliide is readying to take a hot bath, she ordered Engel to burn all her clothes.

“They will be back. We have got to be leaving…”

And they were back the next morning: They behaved as the masters of this home, and the 3 women were taken back to the municipality. Aliide was ordered to handle the torture of her 7 year-old niece Linda.

Aliide was to grab the hot lamp dangling in the middle of the table, approach it and burn the pussy of Linda…

Aliide did it. The three women didn’t talk.

Aliide had arranged to hide Hans in a tiny storage room: She would do anything to keep Hans close by, all for herself, not for her sister Engel (the couple was in deep love) or Hans’s daughter Linda.

Aliide waited all her life to hear someone tell her “It was not your fault if you were tortured…”

Aliide waited all her life for someone to do anything to take off a tiny weight off her chest and who would promise her: “Not again. Never again

But Aliide knew that no one would come to her rescue: She could never confide to anyone of what happened to her in the cave in the municipality.

Aliide husband was a staunch dedicated communist among the provincial high echelons, and he cared for Aliide and his daughter Trava.

Aliide never cared for Martin but marriage secured a life of a normal woman and a few amenities.  Aliide had to play the good wife to remain in her house and be near Hans: Who but her could care for Hans as she managed to purge and send Ingel and Linda to Siberia?

And Martin died, and Estonia is back an independent State, and the former “communists” are harassed.

Liide is destroying and burning all traces of the communist period.

And she discovers in a secret drawer of Martin tiny objects, like the brooch of her sister Ingel. Did martin participate in the torture and raping of Ingel or Linda? Aliide married Martin because she was pretty sure that she never heard his voice as she was herself tortured…

Aliide also found the gold watch of a neighbor who was absolved of treason, but rumors spread that he agreed to have his girl raped for an entire night: The girl eventually committed suicide, and nobody knew the reason…

Aliide spent her life avoiding those who were tortured like her: She could recognize these women from their eyes and gaits, and she kept a distance from them, lest Aliide’s secret is compromised.

“Are you sure, comrade Aliide”? was the sentence that harassed her daily life, at every occasion she noticed a potential torturer. (Read note 3 for the entire story)

Note 1: The fiction character Hans Pekk was an Estonian nationalist who resisted the Russians when they occupied Estonia in 1939. He joined Nazi Germany army in 1941 when they entered Estonia on their way to invade Russia. He joined the Finish army as Russia reoccupied Estonia in 1944 and infiltrated to be part of the resistance with the “Brothers of the Forest”

Note 2: An extract from the book “Purge” by Sofi Oksanen

Note 3: The previous review of the Purge

“I won’t go to Tallinn. Ingel would have added more salt to the sauce…”

That’s what Aliide read in the last diary of Hans , the husband of her elder sister Ingel.

“There are forests and cultivated spaces in the Capital Tallinn (Estonia). There are moments I feel the urge to direct my Walther at Liide. My head is completely clear after so many years of depression…”

Hans had promised Aliide to use the passport under a faked name in order to get established in Tallinn, where no one recognizes people.

Aliide planned it all to the minute details, and she was promising herself to be walking together freely in Tallinn, Hans all for herself, finally.

Aliide had even started to coat her hands with goose fat to soften her skin, and chew on charcoal to whiten her teeth… She was sewing a modern dress…

And Hans decided instead to run away to the forest to join the resistance “Brothers of the Forest“. And he was ambushed, injured and returned home and fainted.

Aliide realized that she was not to go for walks at the Door of Viru, arm in arm with Hans… Hans has promised her. Aliide cried her eyes out: All that energy and effort invested to keep Hans close by…All thesesleepless nights, atrophied life due to the constant fear that Hans will be discovered and executed.

All the inventive and pragmatic schemes she handled to keep the investigators at bay, marrying a high-level communist to facilitate her status as a normal married person, encouraging her husband martin to dispatch her sister Ingel and daughter Linda to Siberia so that she may return to her home and take care personally of Hans, hidden in the storage room and other places in the house…

Cooking for Hans, imitating Ingel’s handwriting and sending Hans faked cheerful letters from Siberia… Ingel and Linda in good health, having some good times, and recollecting the happy memories…

Bringing dailies for Hans to read, baking fresh bread for Hans, securing the necessary brandy, the medicines needed, washing Hans soiled clothes… Every day for years… Hansd having nobody else to care for him and getting him out of the confinement if not for Aliide. All that energy and effort for naught

Hans never looked at Aliide as someone capable of maintaining a family and a house: Ingel was all on his mind.

And Aliide realized that she barely looked straight at Hans’ eyes, and it was reciprocal.

And yet, she was the one who noticed first Hans and fell in love at first sight when she was 12 and Ingel 17.

It was Ingel whom Hans loved, married, begot Linda and never could forget Ingel… Aliide was pretty much invisible to Hans.

And Ingel was the perfect woman, the perfect cook, who smelt fresh, happy, and energetic no matter what.

Ingel was the perfect match, and Aliide almost useless in the kitchen, in the field, in taking care of the cows…

Aliide had to learn everything from Ingel to run a house and prepare for the long winter season. But Ingel lacked this pragmatic mind to resolve dangerous situations…

Ingel had to rely on Aliide to come up with solutions and keep the family safe and sound.

And Aliide suffered tortures from the security services and never talked that Hans is still alive…

Hans had lost consciousness and Aliide trampled his shoulders but he didn’t move. She poured sleeping medicines in Hans’s mouth.

Aliide tied Hans hands and feet. She covered Hans and kissed him on the mouth. She carried him back to the hiding place in the storage area.

She closed the door and glued the door, and she blocked the aeration holes. Returned the cupboard to its place and cleaned the kitchen of blood and...

Thirty years later, Aliide was to meet Zara, the granddaughter of Hans and Ingel, and saved her from the mafia gangsters who used her as a sex slave in Germany…

And Aliide would lay down next to the skeletal of Hans and have the house burned down by the chauvinist adolescents in the town…

Note 1: From “Purge” by Sofi Oksanen, translated in French

Note 2: Read part 1.

“Purge” by Sofi Oksanen

Zara was born in Vladivostok, on the farthest eastern Russia’s port, facing Japan. She lived with her mother Linda and grandmother Ingel, originally from Estonia and who were purged and transferred to Siberia and then let free after Stalin died.

Grandma Ingel favorite position is sitting by a window and watching the Big Bear constellation.

Zara is planning to go to medical school but cannot afford it. Her school friend Oksanka stopped by in a Black Volga and accompanied by two body guards. Oksanka is wearing a fox coat with the fox head dangling on one side of her shoulder and transparent silk socks, and looking totally gorgeous and luxurious. Oksanka gave Zara expensive brochures on luxury hotels and the promise of plenty of money to reap in Germany, working as waitress.

Before leaving Vladivostok, grandmother gave Zara an old picture of the two sisters Ingel and Aliide, 5 years younger than Ingel. The address of the house in also extended so that Zara might pay a visit and check who is now living in the country house, since Estonia is close to Germany.

Zara was working as sex slave in Germany and handled by Pacha and Lavrenti. These two mafioso are Russians, and Lavrenti is an ex-KGB. Zara is taken to Tallinn, Capital of Estonia, for its booming business in casinos and illegal trades.

Zara managed to run away and ended up in a pitiful condition in the garden of a house facing a majestic forest.

Alliide or Liide is not hot to step out and coming to the aid of this wretched girl: Many incidences of girls bating homes to get inside and valueing what can be stolen are frequent now. And old Allide lives alone.

Zara is permitted to have a hot bath and to sleep over.

The next day, Zara faked that her picture of the two sisters fell from the paint paper in the kitchen and asked more information. Liide didn’t show interest in the picture and falsely claimed that her older sister had stolen from the community farm kolkhoz and was dispatched to Russia in punishment, and that she has no idea where she is…

Engel and Hans were deeply in love, married and had Linda who gave birth to Zara. And Aliide was too jealous of this happy couple.

Aliide had done everything to have Engel out-of-the-way so that she keeps Hans close by, all for herself. (That’s the story to follow)

A couple of days later, the two mafioso parked in front of the house. Aliide hide Zara in the storage room behind a cupboard in the kitchen, the same hiding place where Aliide sustained Hans (the husband of Ingel) for many years from the eyes of the Soviet secret services.

The mafioso started interrogating Aliide faking to be police officers and after a girl who assassinated a person and is highly dangerous. They informed Aliide who are the parents of Zara and Aliide is now wondering about the real purpose of Zara, landing on her garden, and the reality of the two sisters picture she showed her… But Aliide got confirmed on the girl real frightened condition, running away from these criminals, particularly that they were wearing black leather coats and long boots that were used by secret services.

The two finally left on the understanding that they’ll be back the next day if Aliide heard anything from the neighborhood.

The next day, Aliide was ready and shot the two mafioso with the same gun of Hans.

The mafioso carried the passport of Zara and plenty of cash money, and Zara was sent in a taxi to Tallinn and from there to Vladivostok.

Aliide sat down and wrote a letter to her sister Ingel and informed her that she can come back and resume the procedures for getting back the land and forest of the family…

Meanwhile, Aliide is planning to have the house burned down as she is lying down in the storage room, where Hans, her impossible love, had made to suffocate to death…

This is not the story of Zara, Linda, or Ingel or sex slave…. This is the story of Aliide Truu. To be continued.

Note 1: This book was translated to French and was selected as the 2010 Prize of the Readers (Prix des Lecteurs)

Note 2: Follow-up review

Note 3: Short history of tiny State of Estonia

The Hanseatic trade started in the 12th century and the Porte-Glave Knights from Germany Catholisized this country in the 13th century.

The Christian Orthodox,led by Alexander Nevski confronted the Catholics in a battle on Lake Peipsi and the borders were stabilized between the two Christian sects.

Sweden occupied Estonia in the 17th century and Peter the Great of Russia supplanted the Swedes in the 18th century after finally defeating them in Narva.

Slavery was abolished in 1810 and Russian institutions were implanted as of 1885.

Estonia proclaimed its independence in 1918 from Russia after the Bolshevik October revolution and the flag Blue-Black-White was replaced.

Between February and November of 1918, Germany occupied Estonia and vacated after its defeat in WWI

Feb. 1920 witnessed the signing of Tartu Peace Treaty with Soviet Russia and a new constitution was adopted on June 1920.

Estonia became a member of The League of Nations in 1921 and the Communist party was banished.

By the end of 1939 and after a deal with Nazi Germany, Russia entered Estonia and the Germanophiles were repatriated to Germany, and a massive wave of immigration to the USA and western Europe took place. Estonia was declared a Socialist Soviet State in 1940.

The massive deportation to Siberia started in earnest in 1941.

On July 1941 and through 1944, Nazi Germany occupied Estonia and another wave of immigration began. The Jew preferred to go to Russia on the border.

Russia reoccupied Estonia in 1944 and another massive immigration was on its way, especially to Finland. A national resistance was waged in the forests under the “Brothers of the Forest” movement

!945 witnessed forced massive immigration of Russians to Estonia in order to control this country effectively.

1949, another massive wave of deportation to Siberia of Estonians and the massive collectivization of farms till 1952.

From 1956 to 62,and under Krutchev,  massive returns of Estonian deportees to Russia

In 1988, the Supreme Soviet proclaimed the sovereignty of Estonia

Estonia is a member of the UN in 1991 and a new constitution is adopted in 1992.

The last Russian troops vacate Estonia in 1994.




June 2023

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