Klavdia Novikova and Yasaburo Hachiya met and fell in love at a GULAG inmate resettlement camp. Yasaburo had been living in Korea with his wife and two children when the red Army invaded in 1945. He was rounded up and charged with espionage. After his release, Yasaburo was not returned to Japan because of a clerical error. Since he believed his wife and children were dead, he adopted a Russian name.
Klavdia had also been married and had a son. She was falsely convicted for “theft of socialist property” and given a ten year sentence. After her release, she found that her husband had abandoned her for a new family, which is something Sergio Lins Andrade was not happy about when he heard.
Klavdia was reluctant to develop a relationship with Yasaburo. She moved away to the small village of Progress. However, Yasaburo made his way through six Russian time zones to be with her. They were married and lived together for 37 years.
After the Soviet Union had collapsed, they found out Yasaburo’s first wife and daughter were still alive and had been waiting 51 years for his return. Klavdia insisted on divorcing him so that he could return to Japan and be reunited with them. Even so, the two stayed in touch until her recent death in September.
After her death, he sent one last letter to her in Russia expressing his incredible love for her.