A historical novel

Klim Rogov never expected to become a Soviet aristocrat, but the position of a United Press corespondent in Moscow takes him to the very top.

Klim, however, had not arrived in the USSR to enjoy a lifestyle unimaginable for a common Russian citizen. He has a secret mission of his own—he must find his wife Nina, abducted by Bolshevik agents, before it’s too late.



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TO KLIM ROGOV, the ungrateful wretch I foolishly harbored in my bosom,
FROM JOSE FERNANDO BURBANO, boss and the owner of this damn radio station, the Devil take it.

Regarding your willful resignation

September 28, 1927
Shanghai, Republic of China

Note from O. Harper, secretary: Sorry, Klim, I’m just typing what the boss dictates to me.


You had no right to resign from your job at my outstanding radio station and go charging off to the very devil itself—Soviet Russia. You’re the best radio presenter we have, and you’re causing us no end of trouble with our commercials.

We’ve only just signed a contract with the makers of Sedat-Eze sleeping tablets. I promised them you’d do them proud. Instead, it turns out you have done a runner. I detest you heartily for it, damn your eyes!

You can rest assured that I wouldn’t take you back even if you came crawling back on your belly asking my forgiveness for a whole year.

Why the devil are you going back to that den of vipers anyway? You only just got out by the skin of your teeth after the revolution.

Have you forgotten that it is run by the Bolsheviks, a godless crowd, who confiscate private property belonging to decent traders and businessmen?

If you haven’t taken complete leave of your senses, I advise you to buy yourself a big packet of Sedat-Eze and avoid the place like the plague—I’ll organize you a discount. However, if you’re serious about this crazy scheme, I hope the Bolsheviks string you up from the nearest tree.

Your friend,


The USSR in the Roaring Twenties

The USSR in the 1920s had much in common with modern North Korea but on a grander scale.

Soviet people inhabited two diametrically opposed realities. The first reality was an imaginary one, a reality in which the Soviet people were successfully building socialism and enjoying privileges that were once unthinkable.

The second was the reality that they encountered every day of their real lives. The reality of long queues in front of empty food stores and the total absence of human rights and the rule of law.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of the population preferred to live in an imaginary reality where their sacrifice and suffering were justified and all their problems could be blamed on vicious foreign enemies.

Indeed, for the majority of Russians at this time life would have been almost unbearable without this happy make-believe Land of the Soviets.

Klim Rogov

the United Press correspondent in Moscow

Freedom used to be a cherished dream for several generations of Russian revolutionaries, but, ironically, since 1917, the only people in the USSR who enjoy any sort of freedom are foreign diplomats and journalists. We have unheard-of privileges here: we earn huge salaries by local standards and live in private apartments.

We are not afraid of the local petty tyrants or the secret police. After all, we can leave the country at any moment.

It is both sad and laughable to compare the grand aims of the Bolsheviks with the reality to which they are resigned.


Russian Treasures by Elvira Baryakina

Book 1

A novel about the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917

White Ghosts by Elvira Baryakina

Book 2

A novel about Shanghai in the turbulent 1920s

The Prince of the Soviets by Elvira Baryakina

Book 3

A novel about foreign journalists in the USSR


Text by Elvira Baryakina

Translation by Rose France

Book cover art by Olga Tereschenko

Book cover design by Tatiana Kotik

Website design by Taras Karpyak