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Anna Azvanova, Autobiography



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Terbish, Baasanjav 


This is Anna's story: My name is Anna Bovaevna Azvanova, Azvanova is my marital name. I was born in a place called Shorvan Kets on 22 February 1941. Four months after my birth, the Great Patriotic War broke out. On 28 December 1943 my family was forcibly deported to Siberia. We lived there for 13 years and returned to Kalmykia, to our homeland, on 15 April 1958. It was freezing in Siberia; the temperature would drop to 40-50 degrees below zero. Before the exile my parents were cattle-breeders and my elder sister (born in 1936) worked with my parents. In Siberia we had a vegetable patch where we grew potatoes. There was even a sugar factory in our sovkhoz. We had food. My mother had given birth to twins on 7 February 1951 in Siberia. I looked after the twins while my parents and elder sister worked all day. This is how we lived in Siberia. In 1958 we returned to Kalmykia. Here we settled in a sovkhoz and looked after the livestock. I got married and gave birth to six children. Today I have 11 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren. I am already 76. Those were difficult years in Siberia, we had to steal some grain to eat. After grating grains, we fried them on a stove. We used to make cereals too. Because we worked in sovkhoz we were given a patch of land (1000-1500 squared meters in size) where we planted potatoes and pumpkins. We did not eat frozen potatoes, we planted our own and ate fresh potatoes. My mother cooked us meals from potatoes and pumpkins. We did not have cakes and candies, not even tea. In those days tea (in blocks) was expensive. My father had to divide and share tea blocks with his friends. The sovkhoz grew vegetables and there was a lot of sugar. This is how we lived in Siberia.



Autobiography, exile, Siberia

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin