Like all physicians, Vera Ivanovna Malakhova and the other new graduates were required to serve in the war effort, and most of them were more than eager to do so. During her military service, Malakhova was wounded twice. She was decorated many times for courage under fire and received the Red Star, the second most prestigious medal for military service that the Soviet government awarded. In Malakhova’s memory, the four years she served in World War II overshadowed virtually everything else. But Malakhova’s account served to expose some of the failings of the Soviet war effort. Voluntary unions and romantic love were a different matter to her. Malakhova was a romantic, and love also figured as a prominent theme in her narrative. Malakhova was referring to a characteristic of “Stalin strikes.” Malakhova was particularly outraged because suicide is a sin according to the Russian Orthodox faith.