Tanya Shchukina may be the only child in Russia who goes to school wearing the star-shaped badge of the Little Octobrists. [A Soviet era youth organization for children 7-9 years old.] Last year, her mother ceremoniously inducted her into the long defunct organization when Tanya entered first grade.
Tanya lives on the outskirts of the ancient Russian city of Sergiev Posad, in a barracks with her adoptive mother, grandmother, five cats, and two dogs. One year ago, the family’s house burned down, apparently due to the fact that Tanya’s mother is a renowned defender of animals.
“They burned us out, it seems, because of the dogs, as far as I understand,” Tanya’s mother says. “We had a new neighbor. He started throwing stones, bricks, saying: ‘I will destroy you, I will outlive you.’ But, as we know, a man is innocent till proven guilty.”
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