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The Annotated Diary of Lidia Makarovna Androsova


By crossing the western border of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Nazi Germany opened a second front at a turning point in World War II. Despite the terms outlined in the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, war between the conflicting ideologies was inevitable. The German leader, Adolf Hitler, broke faith with his ally through an initially successful invasion. The Nazis pushed hundreds of miles east and reached the outskirts of Moscow, occupying the conquered territories. The number of Soviet deaths is disputed, but the USSR lost at least 8.6 million soldiers. Total deaths including citizens, politicians, medics, and workers number at approximately 26 million. This implies, shockingly, that nearly 90 percent of the Allies who died fighting the Nazis were Soviet.[i]

Among the Western territories placed under German occupation during Reichskommissariat Ukraine[ii] was the city of Krasnodon. There, former Komsomol members responded to harassment by occupying German soldiers through underground resistance. The Komsomol, formally known as the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League, acted as an independent youth organization that supported the ruling Communist Party in the Soviet Union. It welcomed young adults from ages 14 to 28 who sought to live a patriotic life in line with communist ideals as the new nation established itself on the world stage.[iii] Since the Soviet Komsomol were in many ways the future of the party, the training ranks for leadership positions in Soviet society, the Germans targeted young Komsomol members in particular for surveillance and destruction. In all occupied territories, local Komsomol groups were disbanded by the Nazis, and its members were placed under scrutiny by the police.

The Germans took control of Eastern Ukraine in July 1942. By the end of September, soldiers from the Red Army (including both army and air forces) of the USSR, united the smaller rebel groups in the city of Krasnodon to form the Young Guard. The Young Guard sought to sabotage any German activity in the city and surrounding villages while also covertly sharing accurate news about the war.

Lidia Makarovna Androsova kept her parents Makar Timofeevich Androsov and Daria Kuzminichna Androsova in the dark about her activities as a clandestine agent until necessary. Lidia Makarovna had a brother in the Red Army, Nikolai Makarevich Androsov.[iv] She looked up to her father, though it was her mother who she lived with most often. Daria Kuzminichna encouraged her daughter to exclude any details in her diary that might reveal the identity of the Red Guard. In fact, as we can see in the following translation of Lidia Makarovna’s diary, she was careful to conceal or “play dumb” about the actual nature of her and her friend’s resistance activities.

The role of the Young Guards, both their idealistic heroism and their demise, was amply recognized — and even romanticized for patriotic purposes — in the Soviet Union. The Soviet author Alexander Fadeyev wrote a famous novel based on the activities of the resistance. For the most part, his novel served the purposes of Stalinist propaganda, extolling the will of the people to defend the Motherland. Yet Fadeyev also used his creative license to transform the facts of the Young Guard, presumably for narrative purposes. Most importantly for the purposes of my project, his novelistic account claims that Lidia Makarovna was the traitor whose diary inadvertently fell into enemy hands and compromised the group’s operations.[v] This is simply not true. Fadeyev himself admitted that he created archetypal composite characters, and in some places romanticized the trials that citizens of Krasnodon endured to survive. However, the real Lidia Makarovna died resisting the occupation of the city she called home for duration of her short life. What you are about to read is a translation of the contents of her private diary, which never fell into Nazi hands, but, on the contrary, was preserved in the archives of the Young Guard Museum and digitalized on the website Prozhito.

Through the Russian database Prozhito, one can access the online transcriptions of Androsova’s diary. However, it has never been translated into English. While this work only reports on a fraction of what the Young Guard experiences, the translation of this first-hand account seeks to bring this history to light in the West.

Principal Figures[vi]

Lidia Makarovna Androsova, 12/12/1924-1/16/43 Also called Lida or Lidochka.

Survived by her parents and older brother. Joined the Komsomol at 15 and led a group of Young Pioneers. Supported the injured soldiers in the hospital by reading the newspaper, transcribing their letters, and playing music. Began serving as a deputy to the newly established Young Guard at 17. Her diary is kept at a museum in Sorokyne.

Nikolai Stepanovich Sumskoy, 5/10/1924-1/16/43 Also called Kolya.

Joined the Komsomol in 1939. At 17, led a small resistance group that was absorbed into the Young Guard as a 12-person division through coordination with commanders Ivan Turkenich and Oleg Koshev. Acquired a German radio to listen for news from Moscow.

Vladimir Alexandrovich Zhdanov, 8/13/1925-1/16/43 Also called Volodya. Joined the Komsomol in 1942. Worked on a collective farm at the war’s start and engaged in local defense training for aerial attacks. Collaborated with Nikolai Stepanovich to carry out Young Guard assignments by developing combat operations, monitoring radio messages, and working in the hospital as a stoker.

Nina Georgievna Kezikova, 3/5/1925-1/16/43 Joined the Komsomol at 15 and led a group of Young Pioneers. Worked on a collective farm before the occupation. Joined the Young Guard upon her return to the city. Her diary is kept at a museum in Sorokyne.

Yuri Fedotovich Polyansky, 3/20/1924 -1/16/43 Joined the Komsomol in 1942. Found work at mine No. 17 with Nikolai Stepanovich to avoid being transferred to Nazi Germany. Carried out propaganda campaigns with the Young Guard and participated in all combat operations that the organization carried out.

Maps of Eastern Europe

Krasnodon, 1942 [viii]


Wednesday, November 25

I had already kept a diary and wrote quite a lot in a year and a half, but the position[ix] forced me to quit writing. It is one thing that we are in the 5th month of being occupied by the damned Germans. It is yet another that I do not especially like the contents of this diary. Endless jealousy, tears, etc. I will write about the best – friendship. After all, there is no way [without] friendship. Friendship is the best thing in our lives, especially in this difficult period…Yes, difficult, and even very grave period.

We, the Komsomol members, are made to walk every day and register ourselves with the police. As for our girls, and myself also, they all work in mines, though they do not send us to work for free. And what about our pay? 350 gm. of bread, and 5 rubles, 60 kopeks per team. I would not work, but work saved me. They did not take me to Germany, although there had been plans to, nor did they take me to Stalingrad. Soon, probably, they will take us all.[x]

No. Do not be this.

Our comrades from school have arrived – Yuri Polyansky, Volodya[xi] Zhdanov, and my dear friend Kolya[xii] Sumskoy. We have fun evenings. Kolya Sumskoy is a great young man, 18 years old, average height, thin, loving yet serious, very serious…I can write a lot of good things about him, but this is enough for the time being.

Since the 19th, I lay in bed sick with the flu[xiii]. Kolya Sumskoy comes to the hospital to visit me every day – two times a day since Monday. He wishes that I recover quickly. Overall, I love him, and that I will never change.

Yuri Polyansky is a young man the same age as Kolya Sumskoy. He is also serious; he jokes, and he plays the mandolin. How my roommate, Nina Kezikova, loves him!

Volodya Zhdanov is 17 years old and tall. He loves to talk a lot, though you will never know if he is speaking honestly or not. Nadya Petrachkova loves him and he too loves her.

I am reading the book City in the Steppe. How boring! And at work it is all the same – I do not want to go. Kolya came by in the evening. The girls had gone to a party and came to me from there. They joked and sang.

Kolya left early on business.

Thursday, November 26

I was still in the hospital. Sergei Nikolayevich[xiv] gave me an exemption until the 29th. Soon Kolya arrived, he has also received an exemption – only until the 30th. Mama always laughs. She says, “Come on, get married already!” I do not understand Mama.

[The doctor] does not let me go to work; he does not understand that they will whip me.

Oh, what slow German time! There is no way to sleep, not that I want to. I will go to bed early and think on everything…I think of when I will stop thinking.

Friday, November 27

After lunch, Kolya came. He brought the newspaper New Life. Papa and Mama read the newspaper in the kitchen, as Kolya and I, like small children, had fun with a map.

Kolya looked at me and I looked at him. Ready to kiss each other, but [their presence] prevented us. How much fun we have together! But alas, Kolya left very early today. He needed to go to Tosya Elisenko[xv]. I am doing what I can. I am bored, but he has things to do. I am not offended of course, and I even help him with very big preparations.

Yes, I almost forgot, today a man came to Papa and said that in Sorokin there are a lot of Germans, they are retreating through Voroshilovgrad[xvi]. Yes, in general, they are already retreating everywhere. The airplanes fly very, very rarely! And according to the newspaper, they are all just on the verge of losing it, like dogs.

Saturday, November 28

In the morning, I mended a bra and washed the floors…I waited a long time for Kolya, but soon left and went to Nina. Klava[xvii] trimmed [my hair], and Zomochka led me [home]. At home, Kolya waited for me. In the evening Nina showed up, and Yuri soon followed. Nina had just begun to talk about him and when he appeared. Speak of the devil! A little later V.D. and V.C. arrived. How well V.D. played the guitar[xviii]! Yes, while he is my good friend it is a shame that he is such a coward.

V.D. and V.C. did not stay long. We sat still for a while in our pairs. Nina taught Yurochka[xix] to play the guitar as I conducted them. Kolenka[xx] and I chatted. Though, I would rather Nina’s situation improved. How beautiful it would be…

Sunday, November 29

What a pity that today is a working day! But never mind – since I get to meet my own people with more than what is normal. Mama returned from the bazaar very early. I washed my hair and mended the cloaks. All of a sudden, our neighbor came in and reported good news. “Along the access road…the Germans are retreating!” Mama quickly dressed and went to see. They were really driving west, to the warm winter apartments.

Nina has taken ill as I did. After lunch Kolya and Nina Startseva came. We also had Anya L.; she is completely taken with me for some reason. What a joker she is! Never lets her spirits down! The three of us went down to visit Ninochka,[xxi] but, alas, she was not at home. We spoke some with her papa and I left with Kolya.

And here in our room that long-awaited moment came to me. Kolenka put me on his knees and we sat long in silence. We did not find words for talking. What happiness, us two. For four months since we met how sweet it seemed no one could break us. Kolya kissed me on the lips, cheeks, neck, wherever it could be so. I also kissed him. Then we talked.

Soon Ninochka arrived; Kolya sat for fifteen minutes and began to collect himself to head home. Ninochka asked us to kiss her. We performed the job and she said, “Well done.”

A long while with Nina all we talked about was her business with Yu. P.[xxii] Mama arrived and asked, “May I come in?” Nina and I laughed. She thought that I was with Kolya when I was with Nina. I saw Ninochka out and kissed her again in a friendly way. I wished her a quick recovery.

I read a little and went to bed. In German it was only eight o’clock.

Monday, November 30

I walked with Nina to the hospital. S.N.[xxiii] wrote out a work exemption for Nina and me until December 2nd. Tomorrow, I go to work. How I do not want to! I waited long for Kolya and he, as luck would have it, was not there. I already thought that police had taken him in. Soon he arrived.

He stayed quite a while at ours, and we went to the police. We checked in.

Tuesday, December 1

From sunrise to sunset I was at work. How hard! Yet, [I am] joyful because the Germans are retreating!

In the evening came Kolenka. We sat with him until nine o’clock.

How I do not want to part with him, but it is necessary. He asked not to read the book that evening, but I read. Really, am I wrong that I do not want to go to bed early? Of course not.

Sunday, December 6

Yesterday was our holiday – “Stalin’s Constitution Day.” The police were at their posts in anticipation of this day. They were afraid lest we hang the banners and flyers[xxiv].

Today I went to the bazar[xxv]. I was at [the home of] L.L., I went with her to [the home of] I.E.R., but he was not at home, what a pity! I saw Kolya, Yuri and Knyaz. They promised to come by and have fun. Yes, yesterday Kolenka brought his photo. That evening they gathered at Nina Kezikova’s. The evening was boring. I was in a very bad mood.

Mama with my father – they argue without end. How tiring this all is. Kolya says that in old age their characters do not agree. I came home early [from the party].

Monday, December 7

We were at work for two hours. We sat the entire shift because they are building the overpass and there is nothing for us to do. Tomorrow morning, I will walk to work. What happiness! I will see Kolenka.

Tuesday, December 8

Papa is on leave. He and Mama are going to Orlovka. I did not go to work.

Lusya Lodkina came by. She told me a lot of news about the front. The Romanians and Italians do not want to fight, and they are forced to do so. Now these Germans hold the defense at Morozovsk[xxvi].

I walk with Lyuda L. to I.E.’s, but again he was not at home. I told her that Yuri should come, and later Vala E. told me that Kolya and Volodya should also come by. It promised to be a good evening until it went bad. Volodya did not come. Kolya and Yuri left very early. For some reason Kolya seemed gloomy. I began to ask him why he is going home early. He said because the Romanians and policemen were on duty. I did not believe that he would go straight home. He accompanied Yuri and came back. I saw that he was mad at me. Nina was reading, as Kolya and I sat talking. I was almost in tears because I had forcibly pushed him to stay.

He started to talk me down, and he said that this should not happen again.

“Sorry, sorry my Linochka… I love you… I love you so much, I have never loved anyone so much and I probably never will.”

He kissed me. Overall, we made peace. He promised to come again on Saturday. He asked me not to be angry with him.

I ate dinner with Nina and went to bed.

Friday, December 11

We worked with Nina at the new engineering job constructing outhouses. They paid us.

In the evening Kolya came. I felt that he would come, although he had not promised. Mama and papa traded for barley. Mama prepared dough for my pie [with the barely flour]. I accompanied Kolya home and went to Nina for yeast.

Kolya is back in the hospital.

Saturday, December 12

Today is a big holiday – “Supreme Soviet Election Day.” I am exactly 18 years old today. Kolya, Nina, and Nadia Petrachkova arrived in the evening. The rest did not. Nina gave me a photo of herself and Klava, a card and wished me a happy birthday. Mama gave me four meters of batiste[xxvii] for a dress.

Kolya gave me a powder case and ox horn comb.

For the gifts, I kissed them all. I served people with what we had: pie and homebrew. They all wished for my happiness, growth, etc. We played cards and parted ways at 9 o’clock.

Tuesday, December 15

I work there all the same. Nina yesterday was sick with angina, and I worked with just one man. She has a high temperature at 39.5° C. Today I worked with Olga Lukideva. Tomorrow I go to the mines.

And so, we dug three pits for restrooms. One of them is for our Mr. Trofimenko and Shteiger. Kolya promised to visit. And Tosya D.[xxviii] has already arrived, bringing little news.

Kolya still came, but later than usual. Being with him is good fun! You forget everything for a moment, and then you imagine something terrible, like separation etc.

Wednesday, December 16

I worked at the eastern shaft with Valya P. I brought wood for fastening. The work is good, but it is dusty and there is no money in it. The Germans today forced my dad to be a foreman – what do they need from him? – Fine, let him work! Better, for the enemy’s quickest defeat. They called him out again to work. I walked to register myself with Nadia P. They marked us until the 19th.

Kolya came. I copied songs into the album. He and I joked around a little, Mama had come, and we left to visit Nina. Her health had not improved. We sat a little, we wished that Nina would recover, and went home. I have gotten so used to Kolya. I have this fear that he may suddenly leave me and not come back. Yes, in life anything can happen.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, December 17-20

Everything is old.

December 20, eleven o’clock at night, papa came from work and said to go out in the street and listen to the boom of the guns. Mama and I listened. In the course of just five minutes, there were two rounds of shots. How joyful and how terrible at the same time.

Kolya came that evening, we walked to visit Nina.

Tuesday, December 22

With morning came work. How fun. Today our Romanians retreated along the road. They went through with 84 carts, 6 cars, and 1 motorcycle. That was just on our road. On other roads they left both day and night, without end and without edge. Straight from work we came to the police. Nadia P. still has one Romanian in her apartment building. At the station, the police ordered that we bring them sheets, pillows, or blankets.

Does the hospital already have lots of injured?

They came to the evening party: Ninochka, having already recovered, Kolenka and Volodya Zhdanov. I had thought of spending the evening in this way, but it did not work out. They left at six o’clock. I accompanied them out. Kolya told me that he may come by on Thursday.

In a few days there will be rest. This is the third week that we have worked without rest.

Wednesday & Thursday, December 23-24

All the Romanians were still leaving. It is impossible to count them all. On the 24th two Romanians took all our pyshki[xxix]. That evening they had all gone.

“Liberators” have turned up. At night they dropped bombs and flyers.

Yes, I carried the sheets to the police.

Friday, December 25

We have been cleaning up since morning. At eleven o’clock, Kolya stopped by. We spoke with him and he soon left. I wrote songs in the album.

In the evening Shishenko[xxx] came by after we went with Nina to the police. We were walking by the railroad when we saw him.

We carried out our assignment.


On New Year’s Eve 1942, the Young Guard ambushed a convoy of German trucks to steal the enemy’s wares. The following day two members, previously unmentioned in the above text, were arrested for selling some of the stolen goods. It is known that three young men, Eugene Moshkov, Victor Tretyakevich, and Ivan Zemnukov, were all arrested in early January. However, it is unknown who among them, if any, revealed the full scope of their activities that lead to the apprehension of their companions. Mass arrests ended on January 11th. Executions began four days later. The city was not liberated for another month.

Every young adult mentioned in this diary was, in one way or another, involved with Young Guard activities. Lidia Makarovna was one of many to keep a diary during this period, contributing to much of what we know about the members of the Young Guard. More information comes via commemorative pieces written by their surviving family. Daria Kuzminichna Androsova wrote often about her daughter.[xxxi]

During the mass arrests, Nikolai Stepanovich warned Lidia Makarovna, saying “If they arrest me, keep working hard.” The Germans captured Zhdanov and Sumskoy before Androsova. Lidia Makarovna told her mother that she would not abandon them and that she would remain in the city until the Young Guard could rescue them even if she was also captured. The night of Lidia’s arrest she was very angry and insulted the policemen but had the presence of mind to calm her mother. The police led Lidia Makarovna out of the apartment and to the home of Nina Kezikova who was arrested the same night. Daria Kuzminichna followed her daughter and took Lida’s brooch. The brooch attached to her coat contained a picture of Lidia Makarovna and Nikolai Stepanovich, which Daria Kuzminichna thought would further entice the Nazis to beat her.

They tortured the Young Guard in cycles, beating Lidia Makarovna until she was unconscious, at which point they would throw her in the snow. There, her friends and fellow prisoners used the cold to revive her. They broke the comb that Nikolai Stepanovich gifted her. She is said not to have spoken throughout the ordeal except to swear at her captors. Her mother visited her in her jail cell and asked, “Lida, tell me, dear, what to bring to you?” She replied, “I don’t need anything, only, mom, kiss dad for me.”

The Red Army liberated the city on February 14, 1943, at which point Makar Androsov directed the recovery of the Young Guard’s bodies from the execution site at mine shaft No. 5. The task was so horrible, that it is said that Makar Androsov fainted, and it was necessary for the doctor on site to rouse him with the scent of ammonia The party identified the remains of Lidia Makarovna by the Komsomol membership card that she always kept on her person. They found her with a rope around her neck and a gunshot wound in the forehead. During her torture, the Nazis removed an eye and an ear. Eerily, there was still a smile on her face where she died laughing at the Germans.

The Nazis executed seventy-one citizens of Krasnodon in January, forty-nine of whom were part of the Young Guard. The bodies of the victims found at the mine were buried in a mass grave on March 1st and granted military honors by the USSR. Only thirteen members evaded capture, of them only ten survived the war.[xxxii]

Rosa Lovo is a student at the University of Richmond, class of 2023. She has a degree in Russian and Global Studies and has twice conducted research with the Howard Undergraduate Think Tank. I.D.E.A.S. View the Siege of Leningrad Timeline she created with fellow Think Tank students: When not exploring the role of Soviet Women in World War II, Rosa can be found on the rugby pitch.


“В. Минаев "Что Не Знал А. Фадеев При Написании Романа ‘Молодая Гвардия, ’” August 18, 2016.

“Сайт ‘Молодая Гвардия’. Молодогвардеец Лидия Андросова.” Accessed July 14, 2020.

“Сайт ‘Молодая Гвардия’. Молодогвардейцы.” Accessed July 19, 2020.

Fürst, Juliane. Stalin’s Last Generation: Soviet Post-War Youth and the Emergence of Mature Socialism. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Gorsuch, Anne E. "Soviet Youth and the Politics of Popular Culture during NEP." Social History 17, no. 2 (1992): 189-201. Accessed July 25, 2020.

Lee, Timothy B. “42 Maps That Explain World War II.” Vox, November 13, 2014.

Polyan, Pavel. “Остарбайтеры — Журнальный Зал.” Zvezda magazine, June 2005.

жизнь, Редакция журнала Наука и. “‘МОЛОДАЯ ГВАРДИЯ’ - НЕКОТОРЫЕ ФАКТЫ.” Accessed July 14, 2020.

Прожито. “Прожито.” Accessed July 20, 2020.


Notes [i]Timothy B. Lee, “42 Maps That Explain World War II.”, 2014,

[ii] Pavel Polyan, “Остарбайтеры — Журнальный Зал,” Zvezda magazine, June 2005,

[iii] Anne E. Gorsuch, "Soviet Youth and the Politics of Popular Culture during NEP," Social History 17, no. 2 (1992): 189-201, Accessed July 25, 2020,

[iv] “Сайт ‘Молодая Гвардия, ’ Молодогвардеец Лидия Андросова.” Accessed July 14, 2020,

[v] Juliane Fürst, “Stalin’s Last Generation: Soviet Post-War Youth and the Emergence of Mature Socialism,” Oxford University Press, 2010.

[vi] “Сайт ‘Молодая Гвардия, ’ Молодогвардейцы,” Accessed July 19, 2020,

[vii] User: Gdr, Eastern Front 1941-06 to 1941-12, March 20, 2005, Wikimedia Commons accessed July 25, 2020

[viii] “Krasnodon, Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine,” Google Maps, Accessed July 25, 2020,

[ix] Here, the author refers to her falling to the enemy and working in the resistance.

[x] Citizens from the Nazi occupied territories in Eastern Europe were conscripted for slave labor and moved West to work in factories.

[xi] Diminutive of male name “Vladimir.”

[xii] Diminutive of male name “Nikolai.”

[xiii] According to her mother’s notes, during her illness, she continued to work for the Young Guards by preparing pamphlets for distribution.

[xiv] The doctor at mine No. 18. Daria Kuzminichna wrote that the Androsov family had known him for 20 years.

[xv] Antonina Zakharovna Eliseenko, fellow Young Guard member

[xvi] Present-day Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine

[xvii] Diminutive of the female name “Klavdiya.” Specifically refers to Nina Georgievna’s sister, Klavdiya Georgievna Kezikova.

[xviii] Through the Russian database Molodaya Gvardia, it is known that Lidia Makarovna hosted small gatherings of Young Guard members at her family home. While discussing underground work, they would play music to cover their voices.

[xix] Diminutive of male name “Yuri.”

[xx] Diminutive of male name “Nikolai.”

[xxi] Diminutive of female name “Nina.”

[xxii] Initials of Yuri Polyansky. In the Cyrillic alphabet: Ю.П.

[xxiii] Initials of Sergei Nikolayevich. In the Cyrillic alphabet: С.Н.

[xxiv] The Russian journal, Science and Life, writes that during the holiday weekend, the Young Guard set fire to the building of the German labor exchange. The Nazis kept lists of approximately two thousand young adults in the region at that location. The actions of the Young Guard saved those citizens from compulsory export and labor in Nazi Germany.

[xxv] Daria Kuzminichna Androsovа wrote that she and her daughter would frequently distribute pamphlets with information about the war at the open market, even arranging to pass them out wrapped around pies. The Young Guard issued more than five thousand of these anti-fascist flyers, in total.

[xxvi] A town in present day Russia, east of Krasnodon.

[xxvii] Also called “cambric,” a type of cotton or linen fabric.

[xxviii] Antonina Nikolaevna Dyachenko, fellow Young Guard member

[xxix] Fried yeast dough equivalent to modern day donuts

[xxx] Alexander Tarasovich Shishchenko, fellow Young Guard member

[xxxi] “Сайт ‘Молодая Гвардия, ’ Молодогвардеец Лидия Андросова.” Accessed July 14, 2020,

[xxxii] “Young Guard (underground organization),” Wikipedia Russia, last modified July 5, 2020,Молодая_гвардия_(подпольная_организация)


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