Svetlana Alexievich:  In the ‘90s, we were all naïve. We just thought that we will finish the communism, and we will get freedom, and we will get a beautiful life.  One thing we didn’t realize is that if somebody spent their whole life in prison, even if you let them out, it doesn’t mean that they will be free inside.  There actually was no freedom; there was only talk of freedom. People who were in the Communist Party, they didn’t get their judgment; they were still in power.  They not only had power but now they bought a lot of things. So they were very rich. So it is basically double power.

In those days, people were very confused because nobody from the top was explaining to them what was happening. I think Putin actually learned that lesson, and now there are a lot of explanations on TV and on radio, but in those days, people didn’t have a clue.

In many places, the Soviet generation is called sovok, but I think it’s very demeaning. I don’t like that word. I cannot call my father or his friends such a word because it was an amazing generation. They experienced a lot. They fought in the war, and that is not the word to describe them. That’s why I describe the history of the soul because it’s important to describe the world of feelings — what people experience inside.