Dear Comrade Chkalov

Seva, Dear Comrade Chkalov. 1937


One of the many hundreds of letters to Hero of the Soviet Union Comrade Chkalov, from Seva (aged fourteen).

Dear Comrade Chkalov,

Of course, you’ll say at once, “Whose writing is this? I don’t seen to recognize or remember it.” But there’s nothing to remember because you’ve never seen me or my handwriting. Perhaps I shouldn’t have written to you, but really, on my Pioneer’s word of honor, I just couldn’t stop myself. My hands are shaking a bit as I write. What can one say to someone who’s a hero a thousand times over? In our yard we play at the flight of the ANT 25, and at being Chkalov, Baidukov, and Beliakov, but it always ends in a fight because everybody wants to be Chkalov. How I envy your wife and Igor (I got to know about them from the newspapers); they’re with you lots of the time. I want to ask you for something. Could I see you and shake hands with you just for a minute? I’ve been saving up for a bicycle and I’ve got 35 rubles in the bank already, so if you need anything I’ll take them out at once.

With Pioneer greetings. Dear Uncle Valerii, please answer-please.

If you’re terribly busy ask your wife to write.

Source: Bertha Malnick, comp., Everyday Life in Russia (London: George G. Harrap, 1938), pp. 77-78.

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