Just like the reviewer I expected to find out more about the regime but it is just a tedious documentary. I agree that the book conveys "greyness and claustrophobia" of the former USSR - the book itself is grey and claustrophobic. I cannot really understand how others labelled this book "a great love story" ; it feels like a newspaper article expanded over 200 pages. I come from this part of Europe - at times I felt that this book needs annotations - most of the abbreviations did not make any sense to me at all.
English is not my mother tongue, yet I did not have to look up words in the dictionary, the narration is simple. The book lacks "colour".
I lived in the Eastern Bloc under the Soviet occupation, and I expected to read a love story about two common people, but this pair went to university in Moscow, and to do this you had to be part of the elite, so to imagine that this is somehow, representative of ordinary Soviet life (and love) is mistaken. If Lev and Sveta had been true proles this story would never have been told, worse things happened to common people and, of course, their stories didn't survive.