Klavdia Vavilova (Nonna Mordyukova) serves as a political officer – a Commissar – in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Her life is defined by her military occupation.
She’s a ruthless soldier and commander. Early on in the film we witness her execute a deserter.
However, she soon has to change her ways when she finds out she’s pregnant. She realizes it’s impossible to continue her role and so she stays with a modest Jewish family to give birth to her child.
Klavdia is distraught about the loss of her Commissar role and the transformation her body is undergoing. In the end, she is unwilling to allow herself to become a happy mother of a happy child. She abandons her child and leaves to rejoin her regiment.