Interview with N. V. Riakhovskaia

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Key information

Title: Interview with Nina Riakhovskaia
Date: 22/10/2013
Interviewer: Nadezhda Beliakova (NB)
Interviewee: Nina Riakhovskaia (NR)
Duration: hour(s) minutes and seconds
Location: Moscow


NB Did you ever have dealings with the KGB?
NR Of course
NB When the service was dispersed or not only then?
NR Several times. When the service was dispersed and when they came simply to re-educate me. I was young, they’d say, I’d ruined my life with this, I had prospects, look, we’ll look after you. But I realized that I couldn’t really continue with my studies, they just wouldn’t let me.
NB So Higher Education was closed to you.
NR Of course not. I was happy that I got at least some education and I was very happy that I managed to.
NB You worked under your specialism, yes, as a seamstress?
NR Yes, I was a tailor’s cutter. There, that’s why.
NB The KGB wanted to know you had been brought up correctly, or were they just trying to recruit you? Did you have any experience of that?
NR But of course! Of course! ‘We don’t need anything in particular, just tell us where and when the service is so that we know’. Am I a Judas? What are you talking about? I’m not like that, you’ve come to the wrong person.
NB And they went away and that was all?
NR I spoke honestly.
NB Or did they come to see you on a regular basis? I mean, was this systematic or just one-off actions?
NR Systematic, it was quite constant, as I see it. Well, maybe not that constant, say, when I was at school they came round just once and talked to my teachers and the Head, and with me. That was just the once, and then it happened again. It happened a couple of times at school.
NB At school did they also ask you to tell them about services?
NR No, not at school. At school they’d only say like ‘you see that this is a sect, they’ll sacrifice you to the commune’. Generally, that’s the sort of rubbish they would spout. To be honest, I found it all quite funny, to hear grown-ups speaking such rot.
NB They were sure about that, that the Pentecostals sacrificed children.
NR Yes, indeed! The whole point was that in our street people said I had been offered up to sacrifice. Because I had a brother and mum found difficult to cope with us, and it was nearly time for me to go to school and she found life difficult with me and my brother. And she had to go to work, too. Grandmother took me to live with her in Melitopol and the first four years at school I was with her. Feodosiya-Melitopol is about 5-6 hours away by train. So she took me to live with her, they had just built an electrical installation plant there, I can’t remember what it was called, it was literally two bus stops away. Our religious believers lived there, too. Some speaker came and started with ‘so, do you know what is going on?’ Then this other speaker who was a neighbour of ours who lived six blocks away and says ‘so, yes, and I’m a witness myself, yes, you see I live over there, on our street so-and-so lives, and he names my mother and says she had two children and what do you know? She’s given up her own daughter for sacrifice! She’s gone! Thank God there is still a son, but the daughter has gone!’ There was such a hullaballoo, our believers were sitting there and one says ‘what are you talking about? She’s alive, she’s with the mother!’ Then all the speakers came out in support and start yelling ‘She doesn’t know a damn thing, she’s probably also member of a sect’. In short, it was a real mess.
NB Did nobody suggest instigating criminal proceedings to check it all out? It could have been all sorted out in 10 minutes.
NR What are you talking about? They’re all made from the same cloth! Where could I go?