CONTENTS - FILM LOCATIONS - WARTIME LOCATIONS - GRAND TOURING - EQUIPMENT - NEW MATERIAL - INDEX

 

 

+ Return to the First Half of The Gulag Archipelago

 

 

continued - The Gulag Archipelago

From July, 1918, on, the people's courts were given the right to hand down sentences of up to five years. And in 1922, when all threats of war had died down, the people's courts got the right to impose sentences of up to ten years and lost the right to sentence anyone to less than six months.

From the beginning, the circuit courts and the Revtribunals had the power to impose the death sentence, but they lost it for a brief period: the circuit courts in 1920, and the Revtribunals in 1921. There were many tiny ups and downs in this period which only a historian pursuing all the details of those years would be able to trace.

Perhaps that historian will seek out the documents and un- roll for us the scroll of tribunal sentences and also the statistics. (Though probably not. Whatever time and events failed to destroy was destroyed by persons interested in having such ma- terial disappear.) We know only that the Revtribunals were not asleep. They were handing down sentences right and left. And we know, too, that every time a city was captured during the Civil War the event was marked not only by gunsmoke in the court- yards of the Cheka, but also by sleepless sessions of the tribunal. And you did not have to be a White officer, a senator, a land- owner, a monk, a Cadet, an SR, or an Anarchist in order to get your bullet. Soft white uncallused hands alone were sufficient in. those years. But one can also hazard the guess that in Izhevsk or Votkinsk, Yaroslavl or Murom, Kozlov or Tambov, the uprisings were very costly as well to those who had callused workers' hands. And if those scrolls—of both the extrajudicial executions and those by tribunal—are unrolled for us someday, the most surpris- ing thing will be the number of ordinary peasants we find on them. Because there was no end to the number of peasant up- risings and revolts from 1918 to 1921, even though they did not adorn the colored pages of the official History of the Civil War, and even though no one photographed them, and no one filmed motion pictures of those furious crowds attacking machine guns with clubs, pitchforks, and axes and, later, lined up for execution with their arms tied behind their backs—ten for one! The revolt in Sapozhok is remembered only in Sapozhok; the one in Pitelino only in Pitelino. We learn from Latsis the number of peasant rebellions that were suppressed during that same year and a half in twenty provinces—344. (From 1918 on, peasant revolts were already being called "kulak" revolts, for how could the peasants revolt against the workers' and peasants' power! But how then could one explain that in every instance it was not just three peasant huts that revolted but the whole village? Why did the masses of poor peasants not kill the insurgent "kulaks" with those same pitchforks and axes, instead of marching with them against the machine guns? Latsis claims: "The kulaks compelled the rest of the peasants to take part in these revolts by promises, slander, and threats." But what could have been more laden with promises than the slogans of the Committees of the Poor? And what could have been more loaded with threats than the machine guns of the Special Purpose Detachments, the CHON?

And how many wholly random people, completely random, whose destruction inevitably accounts for half the casualties of every real, shooting revolution, were caught between those mill- stones?

Here is an eyewitness description of a session of the Ryazan Revtribunal which met in 1919 to hear the case of the Tolstoyan I. Ye------v.

With the proclamation of universal and compulsory conscrip- tion into the Red Army (just one year after the slogans: "Down with the wan"; "Stick your bayonets in the ground!"; "Go home!"), "54,697 deserters were caught and sent to the front" by September, 1919, in Ryazan Province alone. (And how many others were shot on the spot as examples?) Ye------v was not a deserter at all but a man who simply and openly refused to enter military service because of his religious convictions. He was con- scripted by main force, but in the barracks he refused to take up arms or undergo training. The enraged Political Commissar of the unit turned him over to the Cheka, saying: "He does not recognize the Soviet government." There was an interrogation. Three Chekists sat behind the desk, each with a Naguan revolver in front of him. "We have seen heroes like you before. You'll be on your knees to us in a minute! Either agree to fight immediately, or we'll shoot you!" But Ye------v was firm. He couldn't fight. He was a believer in free Christianity. And his case was sent to the Revtribunal.

It was an open session, with a hundred spectators in the hall. There was a polite elderly defense lawyer. The learned "accuser" —the term "prosecutor" was forbidden until 1922—was Nikol- sky, another old jurist. One of the members of the Revtribunal— a juror—tried to elicit the views of the accused. (How can you, a representative of the working people, share the opinions of the aristocrat Count Tolstoi?) But the presiding judge in- terrupted the questioning and refused to permit it to continue. There was a quarrel.

Juror: "You do not want to kill people, and you try to persuade others to refrain from killing. But the Whites began the war, and you are preventing us from defending ourselves. We will send you to Kolchak, and you can preach your nonresistance there!"

Ye------v: "I will go wherever you send me."

Accuser: "This tribunal is not supposed to concern itself with any nondescript criminal actions but only with those which are counterrevolutionary. In view of the nature of this crime, I demand that the case be turned over to a people's court."

Presiding Judge: "Ha! Actions! What a pettifogger you are! We are guided not by the laws but by our revolutionary conscience!"

Accuser: "I insist that you include my demand in the record."

Defense Attorney: "I support the accuser. The case should be heard in an ordinary court."

Presiding Judge: "There's an old fool for you! Where did they manage to find him?"

Defense Attorney: "I have been a practicing lawyer for forty years and this is the first time I have heard such an insult. Enter it in the record."

Presiding Judge (laughing): "We'll enter it, we'll enter it!" Laughter in the hall. The court exits in order to confer. The sounds of a noisy argument come from the conference room.

They return with the sentence: to be shot.

Loud indignation in the hall.

Accuser: "I protest against the sentence and will complain to the Commissariat of Justice!"

Defense Lawyer: "I join my voice to that of the accuser."

Presiding Judge: "Clear the hall!"

The convoy came and led Ye------v to jail, saying to him: "If everyone was like you, brother, how good it would be! There would be no war, and no Whites and no Reds!" They went back to their barracks and called a Red Army meeting. It condemned the sentence and sent a protest to Moscow.

In daily expectation of death, Ye------v waited for thirty-seven days, while, from the prison window, he watched executions taking place. They commuted his sentence to fifteen years of strict detention.

This is an instructive example. Although "revolutionary legal- ity" won a partial victory, how enormous an effort it required on the part of the presiding judge! How much disorganization, lack of discipline, lack of political consciousness there still was! The prosecution stood firmly with the defense. The convoy guards stuck their noses into something that wasn't their business in order to send off a protest. Whew, the dictatorship of the prole- tariat and the new kind of court were not having things easy by any means! Of course, not all the sessions were anything like so turbulent, but this wasn't the only one of its kind. How many years it would take to reveal, direct, and confirm the necessary line, until the defense would stand as one with the prosecution and the court, and the accused would be in agreement with them too, and all the resolutions of the workers as well!

To pursue this enterprise of many years' duration is the re- warding task of the historian. As for us—how are we to make our way through that rosy mist? Whom are we to ask about it? Those who were shot aren't talking, and neither are those who have been scattered to the four winds. Even if the defendants, and the lawyers, and the guards, and the spectators have survived, no one will allow us to seek them out.

Evidently, the only help we will get is from the prosecution.

In this connection, I was given by well-wishers an intact copy of a collection of speeches for the prosecution delivered by that fierce revolutionary, the first People's Commissar of Military Affairs in the Workers' and Peasants' Government, the Com- mander in Chief, and later the organizer of the Department of Exceptional Courts of the People's Commissariat of Justice— where the personal rank of tribune was being readied for him, until Lenin vetoed the title—the glorious accuser in the greatest trials, subsequently exposed as the ferocious enemy of the people, N. V. Krylenko.

[Krylenko, Za Pyat Let (1918-1922). Edition 7,000 copies. Prose- cution speeches in the most important trials held before the Moscow and the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunals.]

And if, despite everything, we want to at- tempt a brief review of the public trials, if we are determined to try to get a feeling for the judicial atmosphere of the first post- revolutionary years, then we have to learn to read this Krylenko text. We have no other. And using it as a basis, we must try to picture to ourselves everything that is missing from it and every- thing that happened in the provinces too.

Of course, we would prefer to see the stenographic record of those trials, to listen to the dramatic voices from beyond the grave of those first defendants and those first lawyers, speaking at a time when no one could have foreseen in what implacable sequence all of it would be swallowed up—together with those Revtribunal members as well.

However, as Krylenko has explained, for a whole series of technical reasons "it was inconvenient to publish the stenographic records" It was convenient only to publish his speeches for the prosecution and the sentences handed down by the tribunals, which by that time had already come to jibe completely with the demands of the accuser-prosecutor.

Krylenko claims that the archives of the Moscow Revtribunal and the Supreme Revtribunal turned out (by 1922) to be "far from orderly. ... In a whole series of cases the stenographic records . . . were so incomprehensible that it was necessary either to cross out entire pages or else to try to restore the text from memory"! And a "series of the biggest trials"—including the trial which followed the revolt of the Left SR's, and the case of Ad- mirai Shchastny—"were conducted entirely without stenographic records."

This is strange. The condemnation of the Left SR's was not a trivial matter. It was, after the February and October revolutions, the third turning point in our history, signaling the transition to a one-party system in the state. Not a few of them were shot. And no stenographic record was made.

And the "Military Plot" of 1919 was "liquidated by the Cheka in an extrajudicial reprisal," which "was further proof of its existence." (In this case more than one thousand people were arrested altogether, and, really, how could trials have been set up for them all?)

So just try to produce a neat, orderly report on the trials of those years!

Nevertheless we can learn the important principles involved in them. For example, the supreme accuser—in other words, the Prosecutor General—informs us that the All-Russian Central Ex- ecutive Committee had the right to intervene in any judicial pro- ceeding. "VTsIK pardons and punishes, at its own discretion without any limitation whatever." For example, a six-month sentence was changed to ten years. (And, as the reader under- stands, it was not necessary for the entire All-Russian Central Executive Committee to assemble at a plenary meeting to this end, since its Chairman, Sverdlov, for example, could correct a sentence without leaving his office.) All of this, Krylenko ex- plains, "shows the superiority of our system over the false theory of the separation of powers," that is, the theory of the independ- ence of the judiciary. (True, Sverdlov also said: "It is very good that the legislative and executive power are not divided by a thick wall as they are in the West. All problems can be decided quickly." Especially on the phone.)

Krylenko formulated even more frankly and precisely the general tasks of the Soviet Courts in his speeches before those tribunals, when the court was "at one and the same time both

the creator of the law [Krylenko's italics] . . . and a political weapon." (My italics.)

Creator of the law because, for four years, there were no codes. They had thrown out the Tsarist codes, and they had not com- posed their own. "Don't tell me our criminal courts ought to act exclusively on the basis of existing written norms. We live in the process of Revolution." "A tribunal is not the kind of court in which fine points of jurisprudence and clever stratagems are to be restored. . . . We are creating a new law and new ethical norms." And also: "No matter how much is said here about the eternal law of truth, justice, etc., we know . . . how dearly these have cost us."

(But if your prison terms are compared with ours, maybe it didn't cost you so dearly after all? Maybe eternal justice was somewhat more comfortable?)

The reason that fine points of jurisprudence are unnecessary is that there is no need to clarify whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty: the concept of guilt is an old bourgeois concept which has now been uprooted.

And so we heard from Comrade Krylenko that a tribunal was not that kind of court! On another occasion we would hear from him that a tribunal was not a court at all: "A tribunal is an organ of the class struggle of the workers directed against their enemies" and must act "from the point of view of the interests of the revolu- tion . . . having in mind the most desirable results for the masses of workers and peasants." People are not people, but "carriers of specific ideas." "No matter what the individual qualities [of the defendant], only one method of evaluating him is to be applied: evaluation from the point of view of class expediency."

In other words, you can exist only if it's expedient for the working class. And if "this expediency should require that the avenging sword should fall on the head of the defendants, then no ... verbal arguments can help." (Such as arguments by lawyers, etc.) "In our revolutionary court we are guided not by articles of the law and not by the degree of extenuating circum- stances; in the tribunal we must proceed on the basis of con- siderations of expediency."

That was the way it was in those years: people lived and breathed and then suddenly found out that their existence was inexpedient.

And it must also be kept in mind that it was not what he had done that constituted the defendant's burden, but what he might do if he were not shot now. "We protect ourselves not only against the past but also against the future."

Comrade Krylenko's pronouncements are clear and all-inclu- sive. They bring alive for us that whole period of the law in sharp relief. The clarity of autumn suddenly pierces the mists of spring and reaches us. And is it perhaps unnecessary to go further? Perhaps we aren't required to page through trial after trial. These pronouncements will be henceforth inexorably applied.

Close your eyes tight for a minute and picture a tiny court- room—not yet gilded. Earnest members of the tribunal in simple field jackets, lean, not yet fat-faced. The accusing power—as Krylenko loved to style himself—wears an unbuttoned civilian jacket, with a glimpse of a sailor's striped undershirt just visible at the open throat.

The supreme accuser expresses himself in this sort of language: "The question of fact is interesting to me!"; "Define concretely the aspect of the tendency!"; "We are operating on the plane of analysis of objective truth." Sometimes, as you read, a quotation from the Latin shines out. (It is true that the same quotation turns up in case after case, but, after several years, a different one does appear. ) And no wonder—he did, after all, complete the course in two faculties despite all his revolutionary running around. What attracts one to him are his frank opinions about the de- fendants: "Professional scoundrels!" And he isn't hypocritical in the least. If he didn't like the defendant's smile, he didn't hes- itate to blurt out a threat, even before any sentence was imposed.

"And as for you and your smile, Citizeness Ivanova, we'll make you pay for it, and we'll find a way to fix it so that you never laugh again!"

So, shall we begin?

A. The Case of "Russkiye Vedomosti"

In this case, one of the earliest, free speech was on trial. On March 24, 1918, this famous "professorial" newspaper published an article by Savinkov entitled "En Route." They would have much preferred to arrest Savinkov himself, but he really was en route, damn it, and where was he to be found? So instead they closed down the paper and brought the elderly editor, P. V. Yegorov, to court as a defendant, insisting that he explain how he had dared to publish the article. After all, the New Era was four months old, and it was time to get used to it!

Yegorov naively defended himself by saying that the article had been written by a "leading political figure whose opinion was of general interest whether or not the editors shared it." Further- more, he saw nothing slanderous in Savinkov's having said: "Let us not forget that Lenin, Natanson, and Co. arrived in Russia via Berlin; i.e., that the German authorities helped them return to the homeland"—because that in actual fact was what had hap- pened; Kaiser Wilhelm's embattled Germany had helped Com- rade Lenin to return.

Krylenko retorted that he would not conduct a prosecution for slander (why not?), and that the newspaper was on trial for attempting to influence people's minds! (And how could any newspaper dare have such a purpose!?)

The formal charge did not include Savinkov's phrase: "One has to be criminally insane to affirm seriously that the interna- tional proletariat will come to our aid"—because it still would come to our aid.

For attempting to influence people's minds, the newspaper, which had been published since 1864 and had survived the most fiercely reactionary periods—those of Loris-Melikov, Pobedo- nostsev, Stolypin, Kasso, and all the rest—was ordered closed down forever! And Yegorov, the editor—and this is a shameful thing to have to say—was given only three months of solitary— just as though we were in Greece or some such place. (It is not so shamefully lenient, however, if one stops to think that it was only 1918! And if the old man managed to survive, he would be imprisoned again, and many more times too! )

It may seem strange to us now, but it is a fact that in those thunderous years bribes were given and taken just as tenderly as they had been from time immemorial in Old Russia and as they will be in the Soviet Union from here to eternity. Bribery was particularly rife in the judicial organs. And, though we blush to say it, in the Cheka. The official histories in their red, gold- stamped bindings are silent about this, but the old folks and eye- witnesses remember that the fate of political prisoners in the first years of the Revolution, as distinct from Stalinist times, often depended on bribes: they were accepted uninhibitedly, and pris- oners were honestly released as a result. Although Krylenko picked out only a dozen cases for the five-year period his book covers, he reports two cases of bribery. Alas, even the Moscow Tribunal and the Supreme Tribunal squeezed their way through to perfection along a crooked path, muddied themselves in im- proprieties.

B. The Case of the Three Interrogators of the Moscow Revtribunal— April, 1918

In March, 1918, a speculator in gold bars named Beridze was arrested. His wife tried to find a way to ransom her husband, which was the accepted thing to do. Through a series of connec- tions she succeeded in getting to one of the interrogators, who brought two others in with him. Meeting secretly, they demanded a bribe of 250,000 rubles, but, after some bargaining, they re- duced it to 60,000, half in advance. The deal was to be made through the lawyer Grin. Everything would have gone off without a fuss, as hundreds of similar deals had, and the case would have gotten into neither Krylenko's chronicle nor ours, nor even be- come a matter of concern to the Council of People's Commissars, had it not been that Beridze's wife began to get miserly, and brought Grin only 15,000 as an advance payment, instead of 30,000. But the main thing was that, in consequence of female fickleness, she changed her mind overnight, decided her lawyer wasn't good enough for her, and went off the next morning to find another, the attorney Yakulov. It is not stated anywhere, but it was evidently Yakulov who decided to turn in the interrogators.

It is of interest that all the witnesses in this trial, beginning with the unfortunate wife, tried to give testimony helpful to the accused and to befuddle the prosecution. (Which would have been impossible in a political trial!) Krylenko explained their conduct as the result of a narrow-minded, philistine attitude, be- cause they felt like outsiders as far as the Revtribunal was con- cerned. (And might we ourselves be so audacious as to advance the philistine hypothesis that in the course of a year and a half the witnesses had already learned to be afraid of the dictatorship of the proletariat? After all, it took a lot of nerve to turn in the interrogators of the Revtribunal. What would happen to you after that?)

The accuser's line of argument is also of interest. After all, just a month earlier the defendants had been his associates, his comrades in arms, his assistants. They were people who had been inalienably dedicated to the interests of the Revolution, and one of them, Leist, was even "a stern accuser, capable of hurling thunder and lightning at anyone who attacked the foundations." What was he to say about them now? Where was he to look for the causes of their fall? (A bribe was not enough in itself.) And, of course, it is clear where he looked: in their pasts, in their biog- graphies!

Declared Krylenko: "If we look closely" at this Leist, "we will find highly interesting information." This is intriguing. Was he an inveterate adventurer? No, but he was the son of a professor at Moscow University! And not an ordinary professor, but one who had survived twenty years of reaction by his indifference to political activity! (And who, notwithstanding that reaction, had been accepted by Krylenko as a consultant.) Was it surprising, then, that the son turned out to be a double-dealer?

As for Podgaisky, he was the son of an official in the law courts . . . beyond doubt one of the reactionary, pogrom-organizing Black Hundreds; otherwise how could he have served the Tsar for twenty years? And the son, too, had prepared for a career in the law courts, but then the Revolution had come—and he had wormed his way into the Revtribunal. Just yesterday all this had been depicted in a very favorable light, but it had suddenly be- come repulsive!

More repulsive than them both was, of course, Gugel. He had been a publisher. And what intellectual food had he been offer- ing the workers and peasants? He was "nourishing the broad masses with low-quality literature," not Marx but, instead, books by bourgeois professors with world-famous names. (And we shall soon encounter these professors as defendants too.)

Krylenko is enraged and marvels at the kind of people who have sneaked into the tribunal. (Neither do we understand: What kind of people are the workers' and peasants' tribunals composed of? Why had the proletariat entrusted the task of striking down their enemies to people of this particular kind?)

And as for Grin, the lawyer, a man with an "in" on the in- vestigating commission, who was quite able to get anybody off scot-free, he was a typical representative of that subspecies of the human race which Marx called "leeches on the capitalist structure"—a category including, in addition, all lawyers, gen- darmes, priests, and also . . . notaries.

It appears that Krylenko spared no effort in demanding merci- lessly severe sentences, without reference to "the individual shad- ings of guilt." But some kind of lethargy, some sort of torpor, overcame the eternally vigorous tribunal, and it just barely man- aged to mumble six months in jail for the interrogators, and a fine for the lawyer. And only by availing himself of the authority of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee "to punish without limitation," did Krylenko, there in the Metropole, con- tinue to hang ten-year sentences on the interrogators and five on the lawyer, plus full confiscation of his property. Krylenko thundered on about vigilance, and he almost managed, but not quite, to get the title of Tribune he so coveted.

We recognize that among the revolutionary masses at the time, as among our readers today, this unfortunate trial could not but undermine faith in the sanctity of the tribunal. And we there- fore proceed with even greater timidity to the next case, which concerned an even loftier institution.

C. The Case of Kosyrev—February 15, 1919

F. M. Kosyrev and his pals Libert, Rottenberg, and Solovyev had first served on the Commission for Supply of the Eastern Front (back before Kolchak, when the enemy forces were the armies of the Constituent Assembly). It was discovered that there they had found ways to siphon into their own pockets from seventy thousand to a million rubles at a time; they rode around on fine horses and engaged in orgies with the nurses. Their Com- mission had acquired a house and an automobile, and their major- domo lived it up in the Yar Restaurant. (We aren't accustomed to picturing 1918 in this light, but all this was in the testimony of the Revtribunal. )

But none of this, to be sure, was the case against them. No charge had been brought against any of them in connection with their activities on the Eastern Front; they had even been forgiven all that. But wonder of wonders! Hardly had their Commission for Supply been disbanded than all four of them, with the addition of Nazarenko, a former Siberian tramp and convict pal of Kosyrev in criminal hard labor, were invited to constitute . . . the Control and Auditing Collegium of the VChK—the Cheka!

Here's what this Collegium was: it had plenipotentiary powers to verify the legality of the actions of all the remaining organs of the Cheka, the right to demand and review any case at any stage of its processing, and to reverse the decisions of all the remaining organs of the VChK, excepting only the Presidium of the Cheka!" This was no small thing. This Collegium was second- in-command in the Cheka after the Presidium itself—it ranked immediately below Dzerzhinsky-Uritsky-Peters-Latsis-Menzhin- sky-Yagoda!

The way of life of this comradely group remained just what it had been before. They didn't get swelled heads; they didn't get carried away. With certain individuals named Maximych, Lenka, Rafailsky, and Mariupolsky, "who had no connection at all with the Communist Party," they set up—in private apartments and in the Hotel Savoy—"lavish establishments where card games with table stakes as high as a thousand rubles a throw were the order of the day, along with heavy drinking and women." Kosyrev acquired a rich establishment of his own (costing 70,000 rubles) and, in fact, did not even draw the line at hauling off silver spoons and goblets, and even ordinary glassware, from the Cheka. (And how did all these objects get to the Cheka? ) "And this was where his attention was concentrated, rather than in the direction of ideas and ideology, and this was what he took from the revolu- tionary movement." (In the very act of repudiating the bribes he had accepted, this leading Chekist, without blinking, volunteered the lie that he possessed 200,000 rubles from an inheritance in a Chicago bank! Evidently, as far as he was concerned, there was no conflict between such a circumstance and world revolution!)

Now how did he propose to make proper use of his super- human right to arrest anyone at all and release anyone at all? Clearly, one had to find a fish with golden roe—and in 1918 there were not a few such fish in the nets. (After all, the Revolu- tion had been carried out too quickly; they hadn't found every- thing—how many precious stones, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings the bourgeois ladies had managed to hide away!) Then one had to make contact with the relatives of those who had been arrested through some reliable middleman.

Such characters also pass before us at the trial. There was Us- penskaya, a woman of twenty-two. She had graduated from the St. Petersburg Gymnasium, but hadn't gone on to the university— the Soviets had come to power—and so, in the spring of 1918, Uspenskaya appeared at the Cheka to offer her services as an in- former. She qualified on the basis of her appearance, and they accepted her.

Krylenko has this to say about informing, which in those days had a different label: "For ourselves, we see nothing shameful in it, we consider this to be our duty . . . the work itself is not dis- graceful; once a person admits that this work is necessary in the interests of the Revolution, then he must do it." But, alas, it turned out that Uspenskaya had no political credo! That's what was awful. She declared: "I agreed in order to be paid a fixed percentage" on the cases which were turned up, and, beyond that, "to split 50-50" with someone else . . . whom the court protected and instructed her not to identify. Krylenko put it in his own words: "Uspenskaya was not a staff member of the Cheka but worked at piece rates." And, incidentally, the accuser, under- standing her in a very human way, explains that she had grown used to having plenty of money, and that her insignificant salary of 500 rubles from the Supreme Council of the Economy was nothing at all, considering that one exercise in extortion—for example, helping a merchant get the seal removed from his store—would net her 5,000 rubles, and another—from Meshcherskaya-Grevs, wife of a prisoner—would bring in 17,000. For that matter, Uspenskaya served only briefly as a mere stool pigeon. Thanks to the help of certain big Chekists, in a few months she became a member of the Communist Party and an interrogator.

However, we don't seem to be getting to the essence of the case. Uspenskaya had arranged a meeting between this Meshch- erskaya-Grevs and a certain Godelyuk, a bosom pal of Kosyrev, in order to reach an agreement on her husband's ransom. (They had initially demanded 600,000 rubles!) But unfortunately, by some still unexplained means, the arrangements for that secret meeting became known to the same attorney, Yakulov, who had already done in the three bribe-taking interrogators and who, evidently, felt a class hatred for the whole proletarian system of judicial and extrajudicial processing. Yakulov denounced them to the Moscow Revtribunal, and the presiding judge of the tribunal, recalling perhaps the wrath of the Council of People's Commissars in connection with the three interrogators, also blundered in terms of class premises.

[In order to temper the reader's indignation against this leechlike snake, Yakulov, we should point out that by the time of Kosyrev's trial he had already been arrested and was in custody. They had found a case to take care of him. He was brought in to testify accompanied by convoy, and we are certainly entitled to hope that he was shot soon afterward. (Today we are surprised: How did things reach such a pitch of illegality? Why did no one mount an offensive against it?)]

Instead of simply warning Comrade Dzerzhinsky and working it all out in the family, he hid a steno- grapher behind the curtain. And the stenographer took down all Godelyuk's references to Kosyrev, and to Solovyev and to other commissars, and all his stories about who in the Cheka takes how many thousands. Then, as per the stenographic record, Godelyuk received an advance payment of 12,000 rubles, and Meshcher- . skaya-Grevs was given a pass to enter the Cheka that had already been filled out by the Control and Auditing Collegium, by Libert and Rottenberg. (The bargaining was to continue there, inside the Cheka.) Then and there Godelyuk was caught! In his con- fusion, he gave testimony against them! (And Meshcherskaya- Grevs had already gotten to the Control and Auditing Collegium, and they had already ordered her husband's case transferred there for verification.)

But just a moment! After all, an exposé like this sullies the heavenly blue uniforms of the Cheka! Was the presiding judge of the Moscow Revtribunal in his right mind? Was he really tending to his own business?

But it turns out that that was the nature of the moment—a moment totally hidden from us in the folds of our majestic history! It seems that the Cheka's first year of work had produced a some- what repellent impression even on the Party of the proletariat, which still hadn't gotten used to it. Only its first year had passed; the Cheka had taken only the first step on its glorious path; and already, as Krylenko writes, although not very clearly, a "dispute" had arisen "between the court and its functions and the extra- judicial functions of the Cheka ... a dispute which, at the time, split the Party and the workers' districts into two camps." And that is how the Kosyrev case could come up—whereas everything had gone smoothly before—and reach all the way up to the top- most level of the whole state apparatus.

The Cheka had to be saved! Help! Save the Cheka! Solovyev asked the tribunal to allow him inside the Taganka Prison to visit Godelyuk (who, alas, was not in the Lubyanka) so as to chat with him. The tribunal declined the request. Then Solovyev managed to penetrate into Godelyuk's cell without the help of any tribunal, and—what a coincidence!—at that very point Godelyuk became seriously ill. ("One can hardly speak of evil intentions on Solovyev's part," Krylenko bows and scrapes.) Feeling the approach of death, Godelyuk shakily repented hav- ing slandered the Cheka and asked for a sheet of paper on which to write his recantation: it was all untrue; he had slandered Kosyrev and the other commissars of the Cheka, and everything the stenographer had taken down behind the curtain was also untrue!

[Oh, how many themes we have here! Oh, where is Shakespeare? Solovyev passes through the walls, flickering shadows in the cell, Godelyuk recants with failing hand. And all we hear about the years of the Revolution in our plays and our films is the street singing of "Hostile Whirlwinds."]

"And who filled out the passes for Meshcherskaya-Grevs?" Krylenko insisted. They hadn't materialized out of thin air, cer- tainly? No, the chief accuser "does not wish to say that Solovyev was an accessory in this case, because . . . because there is in- sufficient evidence," but he advances the hypothesis that "citizens still at liberty who were in danger of being caught with their hands in the till" might have sent Solovyev to the Taganka jail.

This was the perfect time to question Libert and Rottenberg, and they were subpoenaed, but they didn't appear! Just like that! They didn't show up. They declined to. All right, in that case question Meshcherskaya-Grevs! And—can you imagine it?— this broken-down aristocrat, too, was so brazen as not to appear before the Revtribunal! And there was no way to force her to! Godelyuk had recanted—and was dying. Kosyrev refused to admit anything! Solovyev was not guilty of anything! So there was no one to question.

What witnesses, on the other hand, did indeed appear before the tribunal, and of their own free will! The Deputy Chief of the Cheka, Comrade Peters. And even Feliks Edmundovich Dzer- zhinsky himself. He arrived in a state of alarm. His long, burning zealot's face confronted the tribunal—whose members sat with sinking hearts—and he testified passionately in defense of the totally innocent Kosyrev and his high moral, revolutionary, and professional qualities. This testimony, alas, has not been pre- served for us, but Krylenko refers to it this way: "Solovyev and Dzerzhinsky portrayed Kosyrev's wonderful qualites." (Alas, you careless shavetail, you! In twenty years' time, in the Lub- yanka, they are going to remind you of that trial! ) It is easy to guess what Dzerzhinsky could have said: that Kosyrev was an iron Chekist, merciless to their enemies; that he was a good comrade. A hot heart, a cool head, clean hands.

And from the garbage heap of slander, the bronze knight Kosyrev rises before our eyes. Furthermore, his whole biography testifies to his remarkable will. Before the Revolution he was convicted several times—most often for murder. In the city of Kostroma, he was convicted of worming his way by deception into the house of an old woman named Smirnova and strangling her with his own hands; then of an attempt to kill his own father; and then of killing a comrade in order to use his passport. The rest of Kosyrev's convictions were for swindling, and in all he spent many years at hard labor. (One could understand his desire for a luxurious life.) And he had only been freed by the Tsarist amnesties.

At that point, the stern and righteous voices of the major Chekists interrupted the chief accuser; they pointed out to him that those courts which had convicted Kosyrev were courts of the bourgeoisie and landowners and did not merit being noticed in our new society. But what happened? The shavetail, going overboard, poured forth from the chief accuser's rostrum a tirade so ideologically faulty that in our exposition of this harmonious series of cases tried by the tribunals, citing it is to strike a dis- cordant note.

"If there was anything good in the old Tsarist court system, it was only trial by jury. . . . One could always have confidence in the jurors' decisions and a minimum of judicial error was to be found in them."

It was all the more vexing to hear this sort of thing from Comrade Krylenko because just three months before, at the trial of the provocateur R. Malinovsky, a former favorite of the Com- munist Party leadership, who, notwithstanding his four criminal convictions in the past, had been co-opted into the Central Committee by the leadership and appointed to the Duma, the accusing power had taken an impeccable class stand.

"Every crime is the result of a given social system, and in these terms criminal convictions under the laws of a capitalist society and in Tsarist times do not, in our eyes, constitute a fact branding a person with an indelible mark once and for all. . . . We know of many examples of persons in our ranks branded by such facts in the past, but we have never drawn the con- clusion that it was necessary to remove such a person from our milieu. A person who knows our principles cannot fear that the existence of previous criminal convictions in his record will jeopardize his being included in the ranks of the revolution- aries."

That is how Comrade Krylenko could speak when in a Party vein. But in this other case, as a result of his mistaken judgment, the image of the knight in shining armor, Kosyrev, was being bespattered. And it created a situation in the tribunal wherein Comrade Dzerzhinsky was forced to say: "For just one second [Just one second!] the thought crossed my mind that citizen Kosyrev might be falling victim to the political passions which in recent times have blazed up around the Extraordinary Commis- sion."

And Krylenko suddenly took thought: "I do not wish, and I never have wished, that the present trial should turn into a trial of the Cheka rather than a trial of Kosyrev and Uspenskaya. Not only am I unable to desire such an outcome: I am obliged to fight against it with all available means!" And he went on: "The most responsible, honest, and self-controlled comrades were put at the head of the Extraordinary Commission, and they took on themselves the difficult task of striking down the enemy, even though this involved the risk of error. . . . For this the Revolution is obliged to say thank you. ... I underline this aspect so that ... no one can ever say to me later: 'He turned out to be an instrument of political treason!' "" (But that's what they will say!)

What a razor edge the supreme accuser was walking! But he evidently had certain contacts, going back to his days in the underground, through which he learned how things were going to move on the morrow. This is conspicuous in several trials, and came out here too. At the beginning of 1919, there were certain trends toward saying: "It is enough! It is time to bridle the Cheka!" And this moment was "beautifully caught in Bukharin's essay, in which he said that revolutionary legality must give way to legalized revolutionary."

Wherever you look you see dialectics! And Krylenko burst out: "The Revtribunal is being called on to replace the Extraor- dinary Commission." (To replace???) Meanwhile, it "must be ... no less fierce in implementing the system of terror, intimida- tion, and threat than was the Extraordinary Commission—the Cheka."

Than it was? The past tense? Has he already buried it? Come now, you are going to replace it, and where are the Chekists supposed to go? Ominous days! That was reason enough to hurry to the tribunal, in a greatcoat down to one's heels, to testify as a witness.

But perhaps your sources of information, Comrade Krylenko, are false?

Yes, the heavens darkened over the Lubyanka in those days. And this whole book might have been very different. But I sup- pose that what happened was that iron Feliks Dzerzhinsky went to see Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, and talked it over and explained. And the skies cleared. And although two days later, on Feb- ruary 17, 1919, the Cheka was deprived of its judicial rights by special decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee— it was "not for long."

Our day in court was further complicated by the fact that the objectionable Uspenskaya behaved abominably. From the de- fendants' bench she "threw mud at" leading Chekists who had not previously been touched by the trial, including Comrade Peters! (She turned out to have used his pure name in her black- mailing operations; she used to sit right in his office, without any ceremony, during his conversations with other intelligence agents.) Now she hinted at some dark prerevolutionary past of his in Riga. That's the kind of snake she had turned into in eight months, despite the fact that she had been with Chekists during those eight months! What was to be done with such a woman? Here Krylenko's position jibed completely with that of the Chekists : "Until a firm regime has been established, and we are a long way from that being the case [Are we really???] ... in the interests of the defense of the Revolution . . . there is not and cannot be any sentence for citizeness Uspenskaya other than her annihilation." He did not say "to be shot"—what he said was "annihilation"! But after all, Citizen Krylenko, she's just a young girl! Come on now, give her a "tenner," or maybe a "twenty- five," and maybe the system will be firmly established by then? How about it? But alas: "In the interests of society and of the Revolution there is no other answer, nor can there be one—and the question cannot be put any other way. In the given case, detention isn't going to bear any fruit!"

She had sure rubbed the salt in. ... She knew too much. . . .

And Kosyrev had to be sacrificed too. They shot him. It was for the health of the others.

Can it really be that someday we will read the old Lubyanka archives? No, they will burn them. They already have.

As the reader can see for himself, this was a very unimportant case. We didn't have to dwell on it. But here is a different one.

D. The Case of the "Churchmen"—January 11-16, 1920

This case, in Krylenko's opinion, is going to have a "suitable place in the annals of the Russian Revolution." Right there in the annals, indeed! It took one day to wring Kosyrev's neck, but in this case they dragged things out for five whole days.

The principal defendants were: A. D. Samarin (a famous man in Russia, the former chief procurator of the Synod; a man who had tried to liberate the church from the Tsar's yoke, an enemy of Rasputin whom Rasputin had forced out of office);

[But accuser Krylenko saw no difference whatever between Samarin and Rasputin.]

Kuznetsov, Professor of Church Law at Moscow University; the Moscow archpriests Uspensky and Tsvetkov. (The accuser him- self had this to say about Tsvetkov: "An important public figure, perhaps the best that the clergy could produce, a philanthropist.")

Their guilt lay in creating the "Moscow Council of United Parishes," which had in turn recruited, from among believers forty to eighty years old, a voluntary guard for the Patriarch (unarmed, of course), which had set up permanent day and night watches in his residence, who were charged with the responsi- bility, in the event of danger from the authorities to the Patriarch, of assembling the people by ringing the church alarm bells and by telephone, so that a whole crowd might follow wherever the Patriarch might be taken and beg—and there's your counter- revolution for you!—the Council of People's Commissars to re- lease him!

What an ancient Russian—Holy Russian—scheme! To as- semble the people by ringing the alarm bells . . . and proceed in a crowd with a petition!

And the accuser was astonished. What danger threatened the Patriarch? Why had plans been made to defend him?

Well, of course, it was really no more than the fact that the Cheka had for two years been conducting extrajudicial reprisals against undesirables, the fact that only a short while before four Red Army men in Kiev had killed the Metropolitan, the fact that the Patriarch's "case had already been worked up and com- pleted, and all that remained was to bring it before the Rev- tribunal," and "it was only out of concern for the broad masses of workers and peasants, still under the influence of clerical propaganda, that we have left these, our class enemies, alone for the time being." How could Orthodox believers possibly be alarmed on the Patriarch's account? During those two years Patriarch Tikhon had refused to keep silent. He had sent messages to the People's Commissars, to the clergy, and to his flock. His messages were not accepted by the printers but were copied on typewriters (the first samizdat). They exposed the annihilation of the innocents, the ruin of the country. How, therefore, could anyone really be concerned for the Patriarch's life?

A second charge was brought against the defendants. Through- out the country, a census and requisition of church property was taking place (this was in addition to the closing of monasteries and the expropriation of church lands and properties; in question here were liturgical vessels, cups, and candelabra). And the Council of Parishes had disseminated an appeal to believers to resist the requisition, sounding the alarm on the church bells. (And that was natural, after all! That, after all, was how they had defended the churches against the Tatars too!)

And the third charge against them was their incessant, im- pudent dispatching of petitions to the Council of People's Com- missars for relief from the desecration of the churches by local authorities, from crude blasphemy and violations of the law which guaranteed freedom of conscience. Even though no action was taken on these petitions (according to the testimony of Bonch- Bruyevich, administrative officer of the Council of People's Com- missars), they had discredited the local authorities.

Taking into consideration all the violations committed by these defendants, what punishment could the accuser possibly demand for these awful crimes? Will not the reader's revolutionary con- science prompt the answer? To be shot, of course. And that is just what Krylenko did demand—for Samarin and Kuznetsov.

But while they were fussing around with these damned legal formalities, and listening to too many long speeches from too many bourgeois lawyers (speeches which "for technical reasons" we will not cite here), it turned out that capital punishment had been . . . abolished! What a fix! It just couldn't be! What had happened? It developed that Dzerzhinsky had issued this order to the Cheka (the Cheka, without capital punishment?). But had it been extended to the tribunals by the Council of People's Com- missars? Not yet. Krylenko cheered up. And he continued to de- mand execution by shooting, on the following grounds:

"Even if we suppose that the consolidation of the Republic has removed the immediacy of threat from such persons, it seems nonetheless indubitable that in this period of creative effort . . . a purge ... of the old turncoat leaders ... is required by revolu- tionary necessity." And further: "Soviet power is proud of the decree of the Cheka abolishing the death penalty." But this "still does not force us to conclude that the question of the abolition of capital punishment has been decided once and for all ... for the entire period of Soviet rule."

That was quite prophetic! Capital punishment would return— and very soon too! After all, what a long line still remained to be rubbed out! (Yes, including Krylenko too, and many of his class brothers as well.)

And, indeed, the tribunal was submissive and sentenced Samarin and Kuznetsov to be shot, but they did manage to tack on a recommendation for clemency: to be imprisoned in a con- centration camp until the final victory over world imperialism! (They would still be sitting there today!) And as for "the best that the clergy could produce"—his sentence was fifteen years, commuted to five. Other defendants as well were dragged into this trial in order to add at least a little substance to the charges. Among them were some monks and teachers of Zvenigorod, involved in the Zvenigorod affair in the summer of 1918, but for some reason not brought to trial for a year and a half (or they might have been, but were now being tried again, since it was expedient).

That summer some Soviet officials had called on Father Superior Ion at the Zvenigorod monastery and ordered him ("Step lively there!") to turn over to them the holy relics of St. Savva.

[Firguf, a former guards officer of the Tsar's household cavalry, who had "suddenly undergone a spiritual conversion, given all his goods to the poor, and entered a monastery, but I do not in fact know whether he actually did distribute his goods to the poor." Yes, and if one admits the possibility of spiritual conversion, what then remains of class theory?]

The officials not only smoked inside the church and evidently be- hind the altar screen as well, and, of course, refused to take off their caps, but one of them took Savva's skull in his hands and be- gan to spit into it, to demonstrate that its sanctity was an illusion. And there were further acts of desecration. This led to the alarm bell being sounded, a popular uprising, and the killing of one or two of the officials. (The others denied having committed any acts of desecration, including the spitting incident, and Krylenko accepted their denials.)

[But which of us doesn't remember similar scenes? My first memory is of an event that took place when I was, probably, three or four: The peaked- head (as they called the Chekists in their high-peaked Budenny caps) invaded a Kislovodsk church, sliced through the dumbstruck crowd of worshipers, and, in their pointed caps, went straight through the altar screen to the altar and stopped the service.]

Were these officials the ones on trial now? No, the monks.

We beg the reader, throughout, to keep in mind: from 1918 on, our judicial custom determined that every Moscow trial, except, of course, the unjust trial of the Chekists, was by no means an isolated trial of an accidental concatenation of cir- cumstances which had converged by accident; it was a landmark of judicial policy; it was a display-window model whose specifi- cations determined what product was good for the provinces too; it was a standard; it was like that one-and-only model solution up front in the arithmetic book for the schoolchildren to follow for themselves.

Thus, when we say, "the trial of the churchmen," this must be understood in the multiple plural . . . "many trials." And, in fact, the supreme accuser himself willingly explains: "Such trials have rolled along through almost all the tribunals of the Republic." (What language!) They had taken place not long before in the tribunals in North Dvina, Tver, and Ryazan; in Saratov, Kazan, Ufa, Solvychegodsk, and Tsarevokokshaisk, trials were held of the clergy, the choirs, and the active members of the congrega- tion—representatives of the ungrateful "Orthodox church, liberated by the October Revolution."

The reader will be aware of a conflict here: why did many of these trials occur earlier than the Moscow model? This is simply a shortcoming of our exposition. The judicial and the extrajudicial persecution of the liberated church had begun well back in 1918, and, judging by the Zvenigorod affair, it had already reached a peak of intensity by that summer. In October, 1918, Patriarch Tikhon had protested in a message to the Council of People's Commissars that there was no freedom to preach in the churches and that "many courageous priests have already paid for their preaching with the blood of martyrdom. . . . You have laid your hands on church property collected by generations of believers, and you have not hesitated to violate their posthumous intent."

(The People's Commissars did not, of course, read the message, but the members of their administrative staff must have had a good laugh: Now they've really got something to reproach us with—posthumous intent! We sh-t on your ancestors! We are only interested in descendants.) "They are executing bishops, priests, monks, and nuns who are guilty of nothing, on the basis of indiscriminate charges of indefinite and vaguely counterrevolu- tionary offenses." True, with the approach of Denikin and Kolchak, this was stopped, so as to make it easier for Orthodox believers to defend the Revolution. But hardly had the Civil War begun to die down than they took up their cudgels against the church again, and the cases started rolling through the tribunals once more. In 1920 they struck at the Trinity-St. Sergius Mona- stery and went straight to the holy relics of that chauvinist Sergius of Radonezh, and hauled them off to a Moscow museum.

[The Patriarch cited Klyuchevsky: "The gates of the monastery of the Saint will shut and the ikon lamps will be extinguished over his sepulcher only when we shall have lost every vestige of that spiritual and moral strength willed to us by such great builders of the Russian land as Saint Sergius." Klyuchevsky did not imagine that the loss would occur almost in his own lifetime. The Patriarch asked for an appointment with the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, in the hope of persuading him not to touch the holy monastery and the relics . . . for after all the church was separate from the state! The answer came back that the Chairman was occupied in discussing important business, and that the appointment could not be arranged for the near future.

Nor for the distant future either.]

The People's Commissariat of Justice issued a directive, dated August 25, 1920, for the liquidation of relics of all kinds, since they were a significant obstacle to the resplendent movement toward a new, just society.

Pursuing further Krylenko's own selection of cases, let us also examine the case tried in the Verkhtrib—in other words, the Supreme Tribunal. (How affectionately they abbreviated words within their intimate circle, but how they roared out for us little insects: "Rise! The court is in session!")

E. The Case of the "Tactical Center"—August 16-20, 1920

In this case there were twenty-eight defendants present, plus additional defendants who were being tried in absentia because they weren't around.

At the very beginning of his impassioned speech, in a voice not yet grown hoarse and in phrases illumined by class analysis, the supreme accuser informs us that in addition to the land- owners and the capitalists "there existed and there continues to exist one additional social stratum, the social characteristics of which have long since been under consideration by the repre- sentatives of revolutionary socialism. [In other words: to be or not to be?] This stratum is the so-called 'intelligentsia.' In this trial, we shall be concerned with the judgment of history on the activity of the Russian intelligentsia" and with the verdict of the Revolution on it.

The narrow limits of our investigation prevent our compre- hending exactly the particular manner in which the representa- tives of revolutionary socialism were taking under consideration the fate of the so-called intelligentsia and what specifically they were planning for it. However, we take comfort in the fact that these materials have been published, that they are accessible to everyone, and that they can be assembled in any required detail. Therefore, solely to understand the over-all atmosphere of the Republic, we shall recall the opinion of the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars in the years when all these tribunal sessions were going on.

In a letter to Gorky on September 15, 1919—which we have already cited—Vladimir Ilyich Lenin replied to Gorky's attempts to intercede in the arrests of members of the intelligentsia, among them, evidently, some of the defendants in this trial, and, com- menting on the bulk of the Russian intelligentsia of those years (the "close-to-the-Cadets intelligentsia"), he wrote: "In actual fact they are not [the nation's] brains, but shit." On another occasion he said to Gorky: "If we break too many pots, it will be its [the intelligentsia's] fault." If the intelligentsia wants justice, why doesn't it come over to us? "I've gotten one bullet from the intelligentsia myself." (In other words, from Kaplan.)

On the basis of these feelings, he expressed his mistrust and hostility toward the intelligentsia: rotten-liberal; "pious"; "the slovenliness so customary among 'educated' people"; he be- lieved the intelligentsia was always shortsighted, that it had betrayed the cause of the workers. (But when had the intel- ligentsia ever sworn loyalty to the cause of the workers, the dictatorship of the workers?)

This mockery of the intelligentsia, this contempt for the intel- ligentsia, was subsequently adopted with enthusiasm by the publicists and the newspapers of the twenties and was absorbed into the current of day-to-day life. And in the end, the members of the intelligentsia accepted it too, cursing their eternal thought- lessness, their eternal duality, their eternal spinelessness, and their hopeless lagging behind the times.

And this was just! The voice of the accusing power echoed and re-echoed beneath the vaults of the Verkhtrib, returning us to the defendants' bench.

"This social stratum . . . has, during recent years, undergone the trial of universal re-evaluation." Yes, yes, re-evaluation, as was so often said at the time. And how did that re-evaluation occur? Here's how: "The Russian intelligentsia which entered the crucible of the Revolution with slogans of power for the people [so, it had something to it after all!] emerged from it an ally of the black [not even White!] generals, and a hired [!] and obedient agent of European imperialism. The intelligentsia trampled on its own banners [as in the army, yes?] and covered them with mud."

How, indeed, can we not cry out our hearts in repentance?

How can we not lacerate our chests with our fingernails?

And the only reason why "there is no need to deal out the death blow to its individual representatives" is that "this social group has outlived its time."

Here, at the start of the twentieth century! What power of foresight! Oh, scientific revolutionaries! (However, the intel- ligentsia had to be finished off anyway. Throughout the twenties they kept finishing them off and finishing them off.)

We examine with hostility the twenty-eight individual allies of the black generals, the hirelings of European imperialism. And we are especially aroused by the stench of the word Center. Now we see a Tactical Center, now a National Center, and now a Right Center. (And in our recollection of the trials of two decades, Centers keep creeping in all the time, Centers and Centers, Engineers' Centers, Menshevik Centers, Trotskyite- Zinovievite Centers, Rightist-Bukharinite Centers, but all of them are crushed, all crushed, and that is the only reason you and I are still alive.) Wherever there is a Center, of course, the hand of imperialism can be found.

True, we feel a measure of relief when we learn that the Tactical Center on this occasion was not an organization; that it did not have: (1) statutes; (2) a program; (3) membership dues. So, what did it have? Here's what: They used to meet! (Goose-pimples up and down the back!) And when they met, they undertook to familiarize themselves with one another's point of view! (Icy chills!)

The charges were extremely serious and were supported by the evidence. There were two (2) pieces of evidence to cor- roborate the charges against twenty-eight accused individuals.

These were two letters from people who were not present in court because they were abroad: Myakotin and Fyodorov. They were absent, but until the October Revolution they had been members of the same committees as those who were present, a circum- stance that gave us the right to equate those who were absent with those who were present. And their letters dealt with their disagreements with Denikin on certain trivial questions: the peasant question (we are not told what these differences were, but they were evidently advising Denikin to give the land to the peasants) ; the Jewish question (they were evidently advising him not to return to the previous restrictions) ; the federated nationali- ties question (enough said: clear); the question of the structure of the government (democracy rather than dictatorship); and similar matters. And what conclusion did this evidence suggest? Very simple. It proved the fact of correspondence, and it also proved the agreement, the unanimity, of those present with Denikin! (Grrr! Grrrr!)

But there were also direct accusations against those present: that they had exchanged information with acquaintances who lived in outlying areas (Kiev, for example) which were not under the control of the central Soviet authorities! In other words, this used to be Russia, let's say, but then in the interests of world revolution we ceded this one piece to Germany. And people continued to exchange letters. How are you doing there, Ivan Ivanich? Here's how things are going with us. N. M. Kishkin, a member of the Central Committee of the Cadets, was so brazen as to try to justify himself right from the defendants' bench: "A man doesn't want to be blind. He tries to find out everything he can about what's going on everywhere."

To find out everything about what's going on everywhere? He doesn't want to be blind? Well, all one can say is that the accuser correctly described their actions as treason, treason to Soviet power!

But their most heinous acts were something else again. In the midst of the Civil War they wrote books, composed memoranda and projects. Yes, as experts in constitutional law, financial science, economic relationships, the system of justice, and educa- tion, they wrote works! (And, as one might easily guess, their works were not based on earlier works by Lenin, Trotsky, and Bukharin.) Professor Kotlyarevsky wrote on the federal struc- ture of Russia; V. I. Stempkovsky on the agrarian question (no doubt, without collectivization); V. S. Muralevich on education in the future Russia; N. N. Vinogradsky on economics. And the (great) biologist N. K. Koltsov (who never received anything from the Motherland except persecution and execution) allowed all those bourgeois big shots to get together in his institute for their discussions. (N. D. Kondratyev was included here also. In 1931 he was condemned once and for all in connection with TKP—the fictitious Working Peasants Party. )

Our accuser's heart jumps right out of our chest, outrunning the sentence. Well, what punishment was adequate for these as- sistants to the general? Just one, of course—to be shot! That was not merely what the accuser demanded—it was the sentence of the tribunal. (Alas, it was later commuted to concentration camp until the end of the Civil War.)

And indeed the defendants' guilt consisted in the fact that they hadn't sat in their own corners, sucking on their quarter- pound of bread; that "they had talked things over and reached agreements as to what the state structure should be after the fall of the Soviet regime."

In contemporary scientific language, this is known as the study of the alternative possibility.

The voice of the accuser thundered, but we hear some kind of crack in it. As if his eyes were searching the rostrum, looking for another piece of paper? A quotation, perhaps? Give it to him on tiptoe, quick, quick! Give him one at random! From some other trial? It's not important! Wasn't this the one, Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko?

"For us ... the concept of torture inheres in the very fact of holding political prisoners in prison. ..."

So that's it! It is torture to keep political prisoners in prison! And the accuser said so! What a generous view! A new jurispru- dence is arising! And further:

". . . Struggle against the Tsarist government was second nature to them [the politicals] and not to struggle against Tsarism was something of which they were incapable."

What's that? They were incapable of not studying alternative possibilities? Perhaps thinking was first nature to the intellectual?

Alas, through stupidity, they had shoved the wrong quotation at him. Now wasn't that a mix-up for you! But Nikolai Vasilyevich was already off to the races.

"And even if the defendants here in Moscow did not lift a

finger [and it looks very much as though that's the way it was] at such a moment, nevertheless . . . even a conversation over a teacup as to the kind of system that should replace the Soviet system, which is allegedly about to fall, is a counterrevolutionary act. . . . During the Civil War not only is any kind of action [against Soviet power] a crime . . . but the fact of inaction is also criminal."

Well, now everything is comprehensible, everything is clear. They are being sentenced to death—for inaction. For a cup of tea.

The Petrograd intellectuals, for example, decided that in the event of Yudenich's taking the city, they would first of all "con- cern themselves with convening a democratic municipal Duma." (In other words, to safeguard the city against a possible dictator- ship.)

Krylenko: "I would like to shout at them: 'It was your duty to think first of all how you might die in battle, so as not to allow Yudenich into the city!' "

But they didn't die in battle.

(Nor, in fact, did Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko.)

In addition, there were certain defendants who knew about all this talk and yet kept silent, did not write denunciations. (In our contemporary lingo: "He knew, but he didn't tell.")

And here is another real example not merely of inaction but of actively criminal action. Through L. N. Khrushcheva, a member of the Political Red Cross (and there she was, on the defendants' bench), some of the other defendants had raised money to help the Butyrki prisoners. (One can just picture that flood of capital—pouring into the prison commissary! ) And they had supplied various articles too. (Yes, indeed. Just look. Woolens, too, perhaps?)

There were no bounds to their evil-doing! Nor would there be any limits to their proletarian punishment!

As when a cinema projector starts slowing down, twenty-eight prerevolutionary male and female faces flicker past us in a film that's fuzzy and askew. We didn't notice their expressions! Were they frightened? Contemptuous? Proud?

We don't have their answers! Their last words are missing—

because of "technical considerations." But, making up for this lack, the accuser croons to us: "From beginning to end, it was self-flagellation and repentance for the mistakes they committed. The political instability and the interim nature of the intel- ligentsia . . . [yes, yes, here comes another one: interim nature] completely justified that Marxist evaluation of the intelligentsia made by the Bolsheviks."

I don't know. Perhaps they did engage in self-flagellation. Perhaps they didn't. Perhaps the passion to save one's life at any cost had already come into being. Perhaps the old dignity of the intelligentsia had still been maintained. ... I don't know.

Who was that young woman flashing past?

That was Tolstoi's daughter, Alexandra. Krylenko asked her: "What did you do during these conversations?" And she an- swered: "I attended to the samovar." Three years of concentra- tion camp!

And who was that man over there? His face was familiar. It was Savva Morozov. But listen here: after all, he gave the Bolsheviks all that money! And now he has handed a little to these people? Three years in prison, but released on probation. Let that be a lesson to him!

[He would soon cut his own throat.]

And that's how the sun of our freedom rose. It was as just such a well-nourished little imp that our Octobrist child—Law— began to grow.

Today we don't remember this at all.

Chapter 9
The Law Becomes a Man

Our review has already grown. Yet we have in fact hardly begun. All the big and famous trials are still ahead of us. But their basic lines have already been indicated.

So let us stick with our Law while it is still in its boy scout stage.

Let us recall one long-forgotten case which was not even political.

F. The Case of Glavtop—May, 1921

This case was important because it involved engineers—or, as they had been christened in the terminology of the times, "specialists," or spetsy. (Glavtop was the Main Fuels Committee.)

Nineteen twenty-one was the most difficult of all the four winters of the Civil War; nothing was left for fuel, and trains simply couldn't get to the next station; and there were cold and famine in the capitals, and a wave of strikes in the factories- strikes which, incidentally, have been completely wiped out of our history books by now. Who was to blame? That was a famous question: Who is to blame?

Well, obviously, not the Over-All Leadership. And not even the local leadership. That was important. If the "comrades who were often brought in from outside"—i.e., the Communist leaders —did not have a correct grasp of the business at hand, then it was the engineers, or spetsy, who were supposed to "outline for them the correct approach to the problem." And this meant that "it was not the leaders who were to blame. . . . Those who had worked out the calculations were to blame, those who had re- figured the calculations, those who had calculated the plan"— which consisted of how to produce food and heat with zeros. Those to blame weren't the ones who compelled but the ones who calculated! If the planning turned out to be inflated, the spetsy were the ones to blame. Because the figures did not jibe, "this was the fault of the spetsy, not of the Council of Labor and Defense" and "not even of the responsible men in charge of Glavtop—the Main Fuels Committee."

If there was no coal, firewood, or petroleum, it was because the spetsy had "brought about a mixed-up, chaotic situation." And it was their own fault that they hadn't resisted the urgent telephonograms from Rykov and the government—and had issued and allotted fuels outside the scope of the plan.

The spetsy were to blame for everything. But the proletarian court was not merciless with them. Their sentences were lenient. Of course, an inner hostility to those cursed spetsy remains in proletarian hearts—but one can't get along without them; every- thing goes to rack and ruin. And the tribunal doesn't persecute them, and Krylenko even says that from 1920 on "there is no question of any sabotage." The spetsy are to blame, but not out of malice on their part; it's simply because they are inept; they aren't able to do any better; under capitalism, they hadn't learned to work, or else they were simply egotists and bribe-takers.

And so, at the beginning of the reconstruction period, a sur- prising tendency toward leniency could be observed in regard to the engineers.

The year 1922, the first year of peace, was rich in public trials, so rich that almost this entire chapter will be devoted to that year alone. (People are surprised: the war has ended, and yet there is an increase in court activity? But in 1945, too, and in 1948, the Dragon became very, very energetic. Is there not, per- haps, a simple sort of law in this?)

Although in December, 1921, the Ninth Congress of the Soviets decreed that the authority of the Cheka be narrowed and, in consequence, its authority was indeed narrowed and it was renamed the GPU, as early as October, 1922, the powers of the GPU were broadened again, and in December Dzerzhinsky told a Pravda correspondent: "Now we need to keep watch with particular vigilance over anti-Soviet currents and group- ings. The GPU has reduced its apparatus but strengthened it in terms of quality."

And, at the beginning of 1922, we must not bypass:

G. The Case of the Suicide of Engineer Oldenborger (Tried before the Verkhtrib—the Supreme Tribunal —in February, 1922)

This case is forgotten, insignificant, and totally atypical. It was atypical because its entire scale was that of a single life that had already ended. And if that life hadn't ended, it would have been that very engineer, yes, and ten more with him, forming a Center, who would have sat before the Verkhtrib; in that event the case would have been altogether typical. But as it was, an outstanding Party comrade, Sedelnikov, sat on the defendants' bench and, with him, two members of the RKI—the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection—and two trade-union officials.

But, like Chekhov's far-off broken harp-string, there was something plaintive in this trial; it was, in its own way, an early predecessor of the Shakhty and Promparty trials.

V. V. Oldenborger had worked for thirty years in the Moscow water-supply system and had evidently become its chief engineer back at the beginning of the century. Even though the Silver Age of art, four State Dumas, three wars, and three revolutions had come and gone, all Moscow drank Oldenborger's water. The Acmeists and the Futurists, the reactionaries and the revolution- aries, the military cadets and the Red Guards, the Council of People's Commissars, the Cheka, and the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection—all had drunk Oldenborger's pure cold water. He had never married and he had no children. His whole life had consisted of that one water-supply system. In 1905 he refused to permit the soldiers of the guard near the water-supply conduits —"because the soldiers, out of clumsiness, might break the pipes or machinery." On the second day of the February Revolution he said to his workers that that was enough, the revolution was over, and they should all go back to their jobs; the water must flow. And during the October fighting in Moscow, he had only one concern: to safeguard the water-supply system. His col- leagues went on strike in answer to the Bolshevik coup d'etat and invited him to take part in the strike with them. His reply was: "On the operational side, please forgive me, I am not on strike. ... In everything else, I—well, yes, I am on strike." He accepted money for the strikers from the strike committee, and gave them a receipt, but he himself dashed off to get a sleeve to repair a broken pipe.

But despite this, he was an enemy! Here's what he had said to one of the workers: "The Soviet regime won't last two weeks." (There was a new political situation preceding the announcement of the New Economic Policy, and in this context Krylenko could allow himself some frank talk before the Verkhtrib: "It was not only the spetsy who thought that way at the time. That is what we ourselves thought more than once.")

But despite this, Oldenborger was an enemy! Just as Comrade Lenin had told us: to keep watch over the bourgeois specialists we need a watchdog—the RKI—the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection.

They began by assigning two such watchdogs to Oldenborger on a full-time basis. (One of them, Makarov-Zemlyansky, a swindler and a former clerk in the water system, had been fired "for improper conduct" and had entered the service of the RKI "because they paid better." He got promoted to the Central People's Commissariat because "the pay there was even better"- and, from that height, he had returned to check up on his former chief and take hearty vengeance on the man who had wronged him.) Then, of course, the local Party committee—that match- less defender of the workers' interests—wasn't dozing either. And Communists were put in charge of the water system. "Only workers are to hold the top positions; there are to be only Communists at leadership level; and the wisdom of this view was confirmed by the given trial."

The Moscow Party organization also kept its eyes on the water- supply system. (And behind it stood the Cheka.) "In our own time we built our army on the basis of a healthy feeling of class enmity; in its name, we do not entrust even one responsible posi- tion to people who do not belong to our camp, without assigning them ... a commissar." And so, they all immediately began to order the chief engineer about, to supervise him, to give him instructions, and to shift the engineering personnel around with- out his knowledge. ("They broke up the whole nest of business- men.")

But they did not, even so, safeguard the water-supply system. Things didn't go better with it, but worse! So slyly had that gang of engineers contrived to carry out an evil scheme. Even more: overcoming his intellectual's interim nature, as a result of which he had never in his life expressed himself sharply, Oldenborger made so bold as to describe as stupid stubbornness the actions of the new chief of the water-supply system, Zenyuk (to Kry- lenko, "a profoundly likable person on the basis of his internal structure").

It was at this point that it became clear that "engineer Olden- borger was consciously betraying the interests of the workers and that he was a direct and open enemy of the dictatorship of the working class." They started bringing inspection commissions into the water-supply system, but the commissions found that everything was in good order and that water was being supplied on a normal basis. The RKI men, the "rabkrinovtsy," refused to be satisfied with this. They kept pouring report after report into the RKI. Oldenborger simply wanted to "ruin, spoil, break down the water-supply system for political purposes," but he was unable to. Well, they put what obstacles in his way that they could; they prevented wasteful boiler repairs and replacing the wooden tanks with concrete ones. At meetings of the water-supply-system workers, the leaders began saying openly that their chief engineer was the "soul of organized technical sabotage" and that he should not be believed, that he should be resisted at every point.

Despite all this, the operation of the water-supply system not only didn't improve, but deteriorated.

What was particularly offensive to the "hereditary proletarian psychology" of the officials of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspec- tion and of the trade unions was that the majority of the workers at the pumping stations "had been infected with petty-bourgeois psychology" and, unable to recognize Oldenborger's sabotage, had come to his defense. At this point, elections to the Moscow Soviet were being held and the workers nominated Oldenborger as the candidate of the water-supply system, against whom, of course, the Party cell backed its own Party candidate. However, this turned out to be futile because of the chief engineer's fraudulent authority with the workers. Nonetheless, the Party cell brought up the question with the District Party Committee, on all levels, and announced at a general meeting that "Oldenborger is the center and soul of sabotage, and will be our political enemy in the Moscow Soviet!" The workers responded with an uproar and shouts of "Untrue! Lies!" And at that point the secretary of the Party Committee, Comrade Sedelnikov, flung right in the faces of the thousand-headed proletariat there: "I am not even going to talk to such Black Hundred, reactionary pogrom-makers." That is to say: We'll talk to you somewhere else.

Party measures were also taken: they expelled the chief engineer from—no less—the collegium for administration of the water system, and kept him under constant investigation; con- tinually summoned him before a multitude of commissions and subcommissions; kept interrogating him and giving him as- signments that were to be urgently carried out. Every time he failed to appear, it was entered in the record "in case of a future trial." And through the Council of Labor and Defense (Chair- man—Comrade Lenin) they got an "Extraordinary Troika" appointed to the water system. (It consisted of representatives of the RKI, the Council of Trade Unions, and Comrade Kuibyshev.)

And for the fourth year the water kept right on flowing through the pipes. And Moscovites kept on drinking it and didn't notice anything wrong.

Then Comrade Sedelnikov wrote an article for the newspaper Ekonotnicheskaya Zhizn: "In view of the rumors disturbing the public in regard to the catastrophic state of the water mains . . ." and he reported many new and alarming rumors—even that the water system was pumping water underground and was intention- ally washing away the foundations of all Moscow." (Set there by Ivan Kalita in the fourteenth century.) They summoned a Commission of the Moscow Soviet. The Commission found that the "state of the water system was satisfactory and that its techni- cal direction was efficient." Oldenborger denied all the accusa- tions. And then Sedelnikov placidly declared: "I had set myself the task of stirring up a fuss about this matter in order to get the question of the spetsy taken up."

What remained for the leaders of the workers to do at this point? What was the final, infallible method? A denunciation to the Cheka! Sedelnikov resorted to just that! He "painted a picture of the conscious wrecking of the water system by Oldenborger." He did not have the slightest doubt that "a counterrevolutionary organization" existed "in the water system, in the heart of Red Moscow." And, furthermore, a catastrophic situation at the Rublevo water tower!

At this point, Oldenborger was guilty of a tactless act of rude- ness, the outburst of a spineless, interim intellectual. They had refused to authorize his order for new boilers from abroad— and at the time, in Russia, it was quite impossible to fix the old ones. So Oldenborger committed suicide. (It had been just too much for one man—after all, he hadn't undergone the condition- ing for that sort of thing.)

The cause was not lost, however. They could find a counter- revolutionary organization without him. RKI men would now undertake to expose the whole thing. Some concealed maneuver- ing went on for two months. But such was the spirit at the beginning of the NEP that "a lesson had to be taught both one side and the other." So there was a trial in the Supreme Tribunal. Krylenko was moderately severe. Krylenko was moderately merci- less. He was understanding: "The Russian worker, of course, was right to see in every person not of his own class someone more likely to be an enemy than a friend." Nevertheless: "Given the further change in our practical and general policy, perhaps we must be prepared for still greater concessions, for retreating and maneuvering. Perhaps the Party will be forced to adopt a tactical program of action which the primitive logic of honest, dedicated warriors is going to protest."

Well, it's a fact, the workers who testified against Comrade Sedelnikov and the RKI men were "easily brushed off" by the tribunal. And the defendant Sedelnikov replied brazenly to the threats of the accuser. "Comrade Krylenko! I know all those articles. But after all, no one is judging class enemies here, and those articles relate to class enemies."

However, Krylenko laid it on good and thick. Deliberately false denunciations to state institutions ... in circumstances aggravating guilt, such as a personal grudge and the settling of personal accounts ... the abuse of an official position . . . political irresponsibility . . . abuse of power and of the authority of govern- ment officials and members of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) . . . disorganization of the work of the water- supply system . . . injury done the Moscow Soviet and Soviet Russia, because there were few such specialists, and it was im- possible to find replacements for them. "And we won't even begin to speak of the individual, personal loss. ... In our time, when struggle is the chief content of our lives, we have somehow grown used to not counting these irrevocable losses." The Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal must utter its weighty word: "Punishment must be assessed with all due severity! . . . We didn't come here just to crack jokes."

Good Lord, now what are they going to get? Could it really be? My reader has gotten used to prompting: all of them to be sh------!

And that is absolutely correct. All of them were to be publicly shamed—bearing in mind their sincere repentance! All of them to be sentenced to—ostracism and ridicule.

Two truths . . .

And Sedelnikov, allegedly, got one year in jail.

You will just have to forgive me if I don't believe it.

Oh, you bards of the twenties, painting your pictures of their bright and bubbling happiness! Even those who touched only their farthest edge, who touched them only in childhood, will never forget them. And those plug-uglies, those fat faces, busy per- secuting engineers—in the twenties, too, they ate their bellies full. And now we see also that they had been busy from 1918 on. In the two trials following we will take leave of our favorite supreme accuser for a while: he is occupied with his preparations for the major trial of the SR's.

[The provincial trials of the SR's took place even earlier, such as the one in Saratov in 1919.]

This spectacular trial aroused a great deal of emotion in Europe beforehand, and the People's Commissariat of Justice was suddenly taken aback: after all, we had been trying people for four years without any code, neither a new one nor an old one. And in all probability Krylenko him- self was concerned about the code too. Everything had to be neatly tied up ahead of time.

The coming church trials were internal. They didn't interest progressive Europe. And they could be conducted without a code.

We have already had an opportunity to observe that the separa- tion of church and state was so construed by the state that the churches themselves and everything that hung in them, was in- stalled in them and painted in them, belonged to the state, and the only church remaining was that church which, in accordance with the Scriptures, lay within the heart. And in 1918, when political victory seemed to have been attained faster and more easily than had been expected, they had pressed right on to con- fiscate church property. However, this leap had aroused too fierce a wave of popular indignation. In the heat of the Civil War, it was not very intelligent to create, in addition, an internal front against the believers. And it proved necessary to postpone for the time being the dialogue between the Communists and the Christians.

At the end of the Civil War, and as its natural consequence, an unprecedented famine developed in the Volga area. They give it only two lines in the official histories because it doesn't add a very ornamental touch to the wreaths of the victors in that war. But the famine existed nonetheless—to the point of cannibalism, to the point at which parents ate their own children—such a famine as even Russia had never known, even in the Time of Troubles in the early seventeenth century. (Because at that time, as the historians testify, unthreshed ricks of grain survived intact beneath the snow and ice for several years.) Just one film about famine might throw a new light on everything we saw and everything we know about the Revolution and the Civil War. But there are no films and no novels and no statistical re- search—the effort is to forget it. It does not embellish. Besides, we have come to blame the kulaks as the cause of every famine— and just who were the kulaks in the midst of such collective death? V. G. Korolenko, in his Letters to Lunacharsky (which, despite Lunacharsky's promise, were never officially published in the Soviet Union), explains to us Russia's total, epidemic descent into famine and destitution.

[Published in Paris in 1922, and in the Soviet Union in samizdat in 1967.]

It was the result of productivity having been reduced to zero (the working hands were all carrying guns) and the result, also, of the peasants' utter lack of trust and hope that even the smallest part of the harvest might be left for them. Yes, and someday someone will also count up those many carloads of food supplies rolling on and on for many, many months to Imperial Germany, under the terms of the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk—from a Russia which had been deprived of a protesting voice, from the very provinces where famine would strike—so that Germany could fight to the end in the West.

There was a direct, immediate chain of cause and effect. The Volga peasants had to eat their children because we were so impatient about putting up with the Constituent Assembly.

But political genius lies in extracting success even from the people's ruin. A brilliant idea was born: after all, three billiard balls can be pocketed with one shot. So now let the priests feed the Volga region! They are Christians. They are generous!

1. If they refuse, we will blame the whole famine on them and destroy the church.

2. If they agree, we will clean out the churches.

3. In either case, we will replenish our stocks of foreign ex- change and precious metals.

Yes, and the idea was probably inspired by the actions of the church itself. As Patriarch Tikhon himself had testified, back in August, 1921, at the beginning of the famine, the church had created diocesan and all-Russian committees for aid to the starv- ing and had begun to collect funds. But to have permitted any direct help to go straight from the church into the mouths of those who were starving would have undermined the dictatorship of the proletariat. The committees were banned, and the funds they had collected were confiscated and turned over to the state treasury. The Patriarch had also appealed to the Pope in Rome and to the Archbishop of Canterbury for assistance—but he was rebuked for this, too, on the grounds that only the Soviet au- thorities had the right to enter into discussions with foreigners. Yes, indeed. And what was there to be alarmed about? The news- papers wrote that the government itself had all the necessary means to cope with the famine.

Meanwhile, in the Volga region they were eating grass, the soles of shoes, and gnawing at door jambs. And, finally, in Decem- ber, 1921, Pomgol—the State Commission for Famine Relief —proposed that the churches help the starving by donating church valuables—not all, but those not required for liturgical rites. The Patriarch agreed. Pomgol issued a directive: all gifts must be strictly voluntary! On Febraury 19, 1922, the Patriarch issued a pastoral letter permitting the parish councils to make gifts of objects that did not have liturgical and ritual significance.

And in this way matters could again have simply degenerated into a compromise that would have frustrated the will of the proletariat, just as it once had been by the Constituent Assembly, and still was in all the chatterbox European parliaments.

The thought came in a stroke of lightning! The thought came— and a decree followed! A decree of the All-Russian Central Execu- tive Committee on February 26: all valuables were to be requisi- tioned from the churches—for the starving!

The Patriarch wrote to Kalinin, who did not reply. Then on February 28 the Patriarch issued a new, fateful pastoral letter: from the church's point of view such a measure is sacrilege, and we cannot approve the requisition.

From the distance of a half-century, it is easy to reproach the Patriarch. Of course, the leaders of the Christian church ought not to have been distracted by wondering whether other resources might not be available to the Soviet government, and who it was who had driven the Volga to famine. They ought not to have clung to those treasures, since the possibility of a new fortress of faith arising—if it existed at all—did not depend on them. But one has also to picture the situation of that unfortunate Patriarch, not elected to his post until after the October Revolution, who had for a few short years led a church that was always persecuted, restricted, under fire, and whose preservation had been entrusted to him.

But right then and there a sure-fire campaign of persecution began in the papers, directed against the Patriarch and high church authorities who were strangling the Volga region with the bony hand of famine. And the more firmly the Patriarch clung to his position, the weaker it became. In March a movement to re- linquish the valuables, to come to an agreement with the govern- ment, began even among the clergy. Their still undispelled qualms were expressed to Kalinin by Bishop Antonin Granovsky, a mem- ber of the Central Committee of Pomgol: "The believers fear that the church valuables may be used for other purposes, more limited and alien to their hearts." (Knowing the general principles of our Progressive Doctrine, the experienced reader will agree that this was indeed very probable. After all, the Comintern's needs and those of the East in the course of being liberated were no less acute than those of the Volga.)

The Petrograd Metropolitan, Veniamin, was similarly impelled by a mood of trust: "This belongs to God and we will give all of it by ourselves." But forced requisitions were wrong. Let the sacrifice be of our own free will. He, too, wanted verification by the clergy and the believers: to watch over the church valuables up to the very moment when they were transformed into bread for the starving. And in all this he was tormented lest he violate the censuring will of the Patriarch.

In Petrograd things seemed to be working out peacefully. The atmosphere at the session of the Petrograd Pomgol on March 5, 1922, was even joyful, according to the testimony of an eye- witness. Veniamin announced: "The Orthodox Church is pre- pared to give everything to help the starving." It saw sacrilege only in forced requisition. But in that case requisition was un- necessary! Kanatchikov, Chairman of the Petrograd Pomgol, gave his assurances that this would produce a favorable attitude toward the church on the part of the Soviet government. (Not very likely, that!) In a burst of good feeling, everyone stood up. The Metropolitan said: "The heaviest burden is division and enmity. But the time will come when the Russian people will unite. I myself, at the head of the worshipers, will remove the cover [of precious metals and precious stones] from the ikon of the Holy Virgin of Kazan. I will shed sweet tears on it and give it away." He gave his blessing to the Bolshevik members of Pomgol and they saw him to the door with bared heads. The newspaper Petrogradskaya Pravda, in its issues of March 8, 9, and 10, confirmed the peaceful, successful outcome of the talks, and spoke favorably of the Metropolitan.

[See the articles entitled "Tserkov i Golod" ("The Church and the Famine") and "Kak budut izyaty tserkovnye tsennosti" ("How the Church Valuables Will Be Requisitioned").]

"In Smolny they agreed that the church vessels and ikon coverings would be melted down into ingots in the presence of the believers."

Again things were getting fouled up with some kind of com- promise! The noxious fumes of Christianity were poisoning the revolutionary will. That kind of unity and that way of handing over the valuables were not what the starving people of the Volga needed! The spineless membership of the Petrograd Pomgol was changed. The newspapers began to howl about the "evil pastors" and "princes of the church," and the representatives of the church were told: "We don't need your donations! And there won't be any negotiations with you! Everything belongs to the government —and the government will take whatever it considers necessary."

And so forcible requisitions, accompanied by strife, began in Petrograd, as they did everywhere else.

And this provided the legal basis for initiating trials of the clergy.

[I have taken this material from Ocherki po Istorii Tserkovnoi Smuty (Essays on the History of the Troubles of the Church), by Anatoly Levitin, Part I, samizdat, 1962, and from the stenographic notes on the questioning of Patriarch Tikhon, Trial Record, Vol. V.]

H. The Moscow Church Trial—April 26-May 7, 1922

This took place in the Polytechnic Museum. The court was the Moscow Revtribunal, under Presiding Judge Bek; the prosecutors were Lunin and Longinov. There were seventeen defendants, including archpriests and laymen, accused of disseminating the Patriarch's proclamation. This charge was more important than the question of surrendering, or not surrendering, church valu- ables. Archpriest A. N. Zaozersky had surrendered all the valuables in his own church, but he defended in principle the Patriarch's appeal regarding forced requisition as sacrilege, and he became the central personage in the trial—and would shortly be shot. (All of which went to prove that what was important was not to feed the starving but to make use of a convenient opportu- nity to break the back of the church.)

On May 5 Patriarch Tikhon was summoned to the tribunal as a witness. Even though the public was represented only by a carefully selected audience (1922, in this respect, differing little from 1937 and 1968), nonetheless the stamp of Old Russia was still so deep, and the Soviet stamp was still so superficial, that on the Patriarch's entrance more than half of those present rose to receive his blessing.

Tikhon took on himself the entire blame for writing and dis- seminating his appeal. The presiding judge of the tribunal tried to elicit a different line of testimony from him: "But it isn't pos- sible! Did you really write it in your own hand? All the lines? You probably just signed it. And who actually wrote it? And who were your advisers?" and then: "Why did you mention in the appeal the persecution to which the newspapers are subjecting you? [After all, they are persecuting you and why should we hear about it?] What did you want to express?"

The Patriarch: "That is something you will have to ask the people who started the persecution: What objectives were they pursuing?"

The Presiding Judge: "But that after all has nothing to do with religion!"

The Patriarch: "It has historical significance."

The Presiding Judge: "Referring to the fact that the decree was published while you were in the midst of talks with Pomgol, you used the expression, behind your back?"

The Patriarch: "Yes."

Presiding Judge: "You therefore consider that the Soviet gov- ernment acted incorrectly?"

A crushing argument! It will be repeated a million times more in the nighttime offices of interrogators! And we will never answer as simply and straightforwardly as:

The Patriarch: "Yes."

The Presiding Judge: "Do you consider the state's laws ob- ligatory or not?"

The Patriarch: "Yes, I recognize them, to the extent that they do not contradict the rules of piety."

(Oh, if only everyone had answered just that way! Our whole history would have been different.)

A debate about church law followed. The Patriarch explained that if the church itself surrendered its valuables, it was not sacrilege. But if they were taken away against the church's will, it was. His appeal had not prohibited giving the valuables at all, but had only declared that seizing them against the will of the church was to be condemned.

(But that's what we wanted—expropriation against the will of the church!)

Comrade Bek, the presiding judge, was astounded: "Which in the last analysis is more important to you—the laws of the church or the point of view of the Soviet government?"

(The expected reply: "The Soviet government.")

"Very well; so it was sacrilege according to the laws of the church," exclaimed the accuser, "but what was it from the point of view of mercy?"

(For the first and last time—for another fifty years—that banal word mercy was spoken before a tribunal.)

Then there was a philological analysis of the word "svyato- tatstvo," meaning "sacrilege," derived from "svyato," meaning "holy," and "tat," meaning "thief."

The Accuser: "So that means that we, the representatives of the Soviet government, are thieves of holy things?"

(A prolonged uproar in the hall. A recess. The bailiffs at work.)

The Accuser: "So you call the representatives of the Soviet government, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, thieves?"

The Patriarch: "I am citing only church law."

Then there is a discussion of the term "blasphemy." While they were requisitioning the valuables from the church of St. Basil the Great of Caesarea, the ikon cover would not fit into a box, and at that point they trampled it with their feet. But the Patri- arch himself had not been present.

The Accuser: "How do you know that? Give us the name of the priest who told you that. [And we will arrest him immedi- ately!]"

The Patriarch does not give the name.

That means it was a lie!

The Accuser presses on triumphantly: "No, who spread that repulsive slander?"

The Presiding Judge: "Give us the names of those who trampled the ikon cover! [One can assume that after doing it they left their visiting cards!] Otherwise the tribunal cannot believe you!"

The Patriarch cannot name them.

The Presiding Judge: "That means you have made an unsub- stantiated assertion."

It still remained to be proved that the Patriarch wanted to overthrow the Soviet government. And here is how it was proved:

"Propaganda is an attempt to prepare a mood preliminary to preparing a revolt in the future."

The tribunal ordered criminal charges to be brought against the Patriarch.

On May 7 sentence was pronounced: of the seventeen defen- dants, eleven were to be shot. (They actually shot five.)

As Krylenko said: "We didn't come here just to crack jokes."

One week later the Patriarch was removed from office and arrested. (But this was not the very end. For the time being he was taken to the Donskoi Monastery and kept there in strict in- carceration, so that the believers would grow accustomed to his absence. Remember how just a short while before Krylenko had been astonished: what danger could possibly threaten the Patri- arch? Truly, when the danger really does come, there's no help for it, either in alarm bells or in telephone calls.)

Two weeks after that, the Metropolitan Veniamin was arrested in Petrograd. He had not been a high official of the church before the Revolution. Nor had he even been appointed, like almost all Metropolitans. In the spring of 1917, for the first time since the days of ancient Novgorod the Great, they had elected a Metro- politan in Moscow and in Petrograd. A gentle, simple, easily accessible man, a frequent visitor in factories and mills, popular with the people and with the lower clergy, Veniamin had been elected by their votes. Not understanding the times, he had seen as his task the liberation of the church from politics "because it had suffered much from politics in the past." This was the Metro- politan who was tried in:

I. The Petrograd Church Trial—June 9-July 5, 1922

The defendants, charged with resisting the requisition of church valuables, numbered several dozen in all, including a professor of theology and church law, archimandrites, priests, and laymen. Semyonov, the presiding judge of the tribunal, was twenty-five years old and, according to rumor, had formerly been a baker. The chief accuser was a member of the collegium of the People's Commissariat of Justice, P. A. Krasikov—a man of Lenin's age and a friend of Lenin when he was in exile in the Krasnoyarsk region and, later on, in emigration as well. Vladimir Ilyich used to enjoy hearing him play the violin.

Out on Nevsky Prospekt, and at the Nevsky turn-off, a dense crowd waited every day of the trial, and when the Metropolitan was driven past, many of them knelt down and sang: "Save, O Lord, thy people!" (It goes without saying that they arrested overzealous believers right on the street and in the court building also.) Most of the spectators in the court were Red Army men, but even they rose every time the Metropolitan entered in his white ecclesiastical hood. Yet the accuser and the tribunal called him an enemy of the people. Let us note that this term already existed.

From trial to trial, things closed in on the defense lawyers, and their humiliating predicament was already very apparent. Kry- lenko tells us nothing about this, but the gap is closed by an eye- witness. The tribunal roared out a threat to arrest Bobrishchev- Pushkin himself—the principal defense lawyer—and this was already so in accord with the spirit of the times, and the threat was so real that Bobrishchev-Pushkin made haste to hand over his gold watch and his billfold to lawyer Gurovich. And right then and there the tribunal actually ordered the imprisonment of a witness, Professor Yegorov, because of his testimony on behalf of the Metropolitan. As it turned out, Yegorov was quite pre- pared for this. He had a thick briefcase with him in which he had packed food, underwear, and even a small blanket.

The reader can observe that the court was gradually assuming forms familiar to us.

Metropolitan Veniamin was accused of entering, with evil intent, into an agreement with . . . the Soviet government, no less, and thereby obtaining a relaxation of the decree on the requisition of valuables. It was charged that his appeal to Pomgol had been maliciously disseminated among the people. (Samizdat! —self-publication!) And he had also acted in concert with the world bourgeoisie.

Priest Krasnitsky, one of the principal "Living Church" schis- matics, and GPU collaborator, testified that the priests had con- spired to provoke a revolt against the Soviet government on the grounds of famine.

The only witnesses heard were those of the prosecution. De- fense witnesses were not permitted to testify. (Oh, how familiar it all is! More and more!)

Accuser Smirnov demanded "sixteen heads." Accuser Krasikov cried out: "The whole Orthodox Church is a subversive organiza- tion. Properly speaking, the entire church ought to be put in prison."

(This was a very realistic program. Soon it was almost realized. And it was a good basis for a dialogue.)

Let us make use of a rather rare opportunity to cite several sentences that have been preserved from the speech of S. Y. Gurovich, who was the Metropolitan's defense attorney.

"There are no proofs of guilt. There are no facts. There is not even an indictment. . . . What will history say? [Oh, he certainly had discovered how to frighten them! History will forget and say nothing!] The requisition of church valuables in Petrograd took place in a complete calm, but here the Petrograd clergy is on the defendants' bench, and somebody's hands keep pushing them toward death. The basic principle which you stress is the good of the Soviet government. But do not forget that the church will be nourished by the blood of martyrs. [Not in the Soviet Union, though!] There is nothing more to be said, but it is hard to stop talking. While the debate lasts, the defendants are alive. When the debate comes to an end, life will end too."

The tribunal condemned ten of them to death. They waited more than a month for their execution, until the trial of the SR's had ended. (It was as though they had processed them in order to shoot them at the same time as the SR's.) And after that, VTsIK, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, pardoned six of them. And four of them—the Metropolitan Veniamin; the Archimandrite Sergius, a former member of the State Duma; Professor of Law Y. P. Novitsky; and the barrister Kovsharov— were shot on the night of August 12-13.

We insistently urge our readers not to forget the principle of provincial multiplicity. Where two church trials were held in Moscow and Petrograd, there were twenty-two in the provinces.

They were in a big hurry to produce a Criminal Code in time for the trial of the SR's—the Socialist Revolutionaries. The time had come to set in place the granite foundation stones of the Law. On May 12, as had been agreed, the session of VTsIK convened, but the projected Code had not yet been completed. It had only just been delivered for analysis to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin at his Gorki estate outside Moscow. Six articles of the Code provided for execution by shooting as the maximum punishment. This was unsatisfactory. On May 15, on the margins of the draft Code, Lenin added six more articles requiring execution by shooting (including—under Article 69—propaganda and agitation, par- ticularly in the form of an appeal for passive resistance to the government and mass rejection of the obligations of military service or tax payments).

[In other words, like the Vyborg appeal, for which the Tsar's government had imposed sentences of three months' imprisonment.]

And one other crime that called for execution by shooting: unauthorized return from abroad (my, how the socialists all used to bob back and forth incessantly!). And there was one punishment that was the equivalent of execu- tion by shooting: exile abroad. Vladimir Ilyich foresaw a time not far distant when there would be a constant rush of people to the Soviet Union from Europe, and it would be impossible to get anyone voluntarily to leave the Soviet Union for the West. Lenin went on to express his principal conclusion to the People's Commissar of Justice:

"Comrade Kursky! In my opinion we ought to extend the use of execution by shooting (allowing the substitution of exile abroad) to all activities of the Mensheviks, SR's, etc. We ought to find a formulation that would connect these activities with the international bourgeoisie." (Lenin's italics.)

To extend the use of execution by shooting! Nothing left to the imagination there! (And did they exile very many?) Terror is a method of persuasion. This, too, could hardly be misunderstood.

But Kursky, nonetheless, still didn't get the whole idea. In all probability, what he couldn't quite work out was a way of formu- lating that formulation, a way of working in that very matter of connection. The next day, he called on the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, Lenin, for clarification. We have no way of knowing what took place during their conversation. But following it up, on May 17, Lenin sent a second letter from Gorki:

COMRADE KURSKY!

As a sequel to our conversation, I am sending you an outline of a supplementary paragraph for the Criminal Code. . . . The basic concept, I hope, is clear, notwithstanding all the shortcomings of the rough draft: openly to set forth a statute which is both principled and politically truthful (and not just juridically narrow) to supply the motivation for the essence and the justification of terror, its necessity, its limits.

The court must not exclude terror. It would be self-deception or deceit to promise this, and in order to provide it with a foundation and to legalize it in a principled way, clearly and without hypocrisy and without embellishment, it is necessary to formulate it as broadly as possible, for only revolutionary righteousness and a revolutionary conscience will provide the conditions for applying it more or less broadly in practice.

With Communist greetings,

LENIN

We will not undertake to comment on this important docu- ment. What it calls for is silence and reflection.

The document is especially important because it was one of Lenin's last directives on this earth—he had not yet fallen ill— and an important part of his political testament. Ten days after this letter, he suffered his first stroke, from which he recovered only incompletely and temporarily in the autumn months of 1922. Perhaps both letters to Kursky were written in that light and airy white marble boudoir-study at the corner of the second floor, where the future deathbed of the leader already stood waiting.

Attached to this letter is the rough draft mentioned in it, con- taining two versions of the supplementary paragraph, out of which would grow in a few years' time both Article 58-4 and all of our dear little old mother, Article 58. You read it and you are carried away with admiration: that's what it really means to formulate it as broadly as possible! That's what is meant by extending its use. You read and you recollect how broad was the embrace of that dear little old mother.

". . . propaganda or agitation, or participation in an organiza- tion, or assistance (objectively assisting or being capable of assist- ing) . . . organizations or persons whose activity has the charac- ter . . ."

Hand me St. Augustine, and in a trice I can find room in that article for him too.

Everything was inserted as required; it was retyped; execution by shooting was extended—and the session of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee adopted the new Criminal Code shortly after May 20 and decreed it to be in effect from June 1, 1922, on.

And so began, on the most legal basis, the two-month-long

J. Trial of the SR's—June 8-August 7, 1922

The court was the Supreme Tribunal, the Verkhtrib. The usual presiding judge, Comrade Karklin (a good name for a judge- derived from the word meaning to "croak" or "caw"), was re- placed for this important trial, which was being watched closely by the entire socialist world, by the resourceful Georgi Pyatakov. (Provident fate enjoys its little jokes—but it also leaves us time to think things over! It left Pyatakov fifteen years.) There were no defense lawyers. The defendants, all leading SR's, undertook their own defense. Pyatakov bore himself harshly, and interfered with the defendants' having their say.

If my readers and I were not already sufficiently informed to know that what was important in every trial was not the charges brought nor guilt, so called, but expediency, we would perhaps not be prepared to accept this trial wholeheartedly. But expedi- ency works without fail: the SR's, as opposed to the Mensheviks, were considered still dangerous, not yet dispersed and broken up, not yet finished off. And on behalf of the fortress of the newly created dictatorship (the proletariat), it was expedient to finish them off.

Someone unfamiliar with this principle might mistakenly view the entire trial as an act of Party vengeance.

Involuntarily one ponders the charges set forth in this trial, placing them in the perspective of the long-drawn-out and still unfolding history of nations. With the exception of a very limited number of parliamentary democracies, during a very limited number of decades, the history of nations is entirely a history of revolutions and seizures of power. And whoever succeeds in making a more successful and more enduring revolution is from that moment on graced with the bright robes of Justice, and his every past and future step is legalized and memorialized in odes, whereas every past and future step of his unsuccessful enemies is criminal and subject to arraignment and a legal penalty.

The Criminal Code had been adopted only one week earlier, but five whole years of postrevolutionary experience had been compressed into it. Twenty, ten, and five years earlier, the SR's had been the party next door in the effort to overthrow Tsarism, the party which had chiefly taken upon itself, thanks to the particular character of its terrorist tactics, the burden of hard- labor imprisonment, which had scarcely touched the Bolsheviks.

Now the first charge against them was that the SR's had in- itiated the Civil War! Yes, they began it, they had begun it. They were accused of armed resistance to the October seizure of power. When the Provisional Government, which they supported and which was in part made up of their members, was lawfully swept out of office by the machine-gun fire of the sailors, the SR's tried altogether illegally to defend it, and even returned shot for shot, and even called into battle the military cadets of that deposed government.

[The fact that their efforts in defending it were very feeble, that they were beset by hesitations, and that they renounced it right away is another matter. For all that, their guilt was no less.]

Defeated in battle, they did not repent politically. They did not get down on their knees to the Council of People's Com- missars, which had declared itself to be the government. They continued to insist stubbornly that the only legal government was the one which had been overthrown. They refused to admit right away that what had been their political line for twenty years was a failure, [And it had indeed been a failure, although this did not become clear immediately.] and they did not ask to be pardoned, nor to have their party dissolved and cease to be considered a party.

[In the same way, all the local Russian governments, and those in outly- ing areas, were illegal—those in Archangel, Samara, Ufa or Omsk, the Ukraine, the Don, the Kuban, the Urals or Transcaucasia—inasmuch as they all de- clared themselves to be governments after the Council of People's Commissars had declared itself to be the government.]

The second charge against them was that they had deepened the abyss of the Civil War by taking part in demonstrations—by this token, rebellions—on January 5 and 6, 1918, against the lawful authority of the workers' and peasants' government. They were supporting their illegal Constituent Assembly (elected by universal, free, equal, secret, and direct voting) against the sailors and the Red Guards, who legally dispersed both the Assembly and the demonstrators. (And what good could have come of peaceable sessions of the Constituent Assembly? Only the con- flagration of a three-year-long Civil War. And that is why the Civil War began, because not all the people submitted simul- taneously and obediently to the lawful decrees of the Council of People's Commissars.)

The third charge was that they had not recognized the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk, that lawful, lifesaving peace of Brest- Litovsk, which had cut off not Russia's head but only parts of its torso. By this token, declared the official indictment, there were present "all the signs of high treason and criminal activity directed to drawing the country into war."

High treason! That is another club with two ends. It all de- pends on which end you have hold of.

From this followed the serious fourth charge: in the summer and fall of 1918, those final months and weeks when the Kaiser's Germany was scarcely managing to hold its own against the Allies, and the Soviet government, faithful to the Brest treaty, was supporting Germany in its difficult struggle with trainloads of foodstuffs and a monthly tribute in gold, the SR's traitorously prepared (well, they didn't actually prepare anything but, as was their custom, did more talking about it than anything—but what if they really had!) to blow up the railroad tracks in front of one such train, thus keeping the gold in the Motherland. In other words, they "prepared criminal destruction of our public wealth, the railroads."

(At that time the Communists were not yet ashamed of and did not conceal the fact that, yes, indeed, Russian gold had been shipped off to Hitler's future empire, and it didn't seem to dawn on Krylenko despite his study in two academic departments— history and law—nor did any of his assistants whisper the notion to him, that if steel rails are public wealth, then maybe gold ingots are too?)

From this fourth charge a fifth followed inexorably: the SR's had intended to procure the technical equipment for such an explosion with money received from Allied representatives. (They had wanted to take money from the Entente in order not to give gold away to Kaiser Wilhelm.) And this was the extreme of treason! (Just in case, Krylenko did mutter something about the SR's also having connections with Ludendorff's General Staff, but this stone had indeed landed in the wrong vegetable garden, and he quickly dropped the whole thing.)

From this it was only a very short step to the sixth charge: that the SR's had been Entente spies in 1918. Yesterday they had been revolutionaries, and today they were spies. At the time, this accusation probably sounded explosive. But since then, and after many, many trials, the whole thing makes one want to vomit.

Well, then, the seventh and tenth points concerned collabora- tion with Savinkov, or Filonenko, or the Cadets, or the "Union of Rebirth" (had it really ever existed?), and even with aristocratic, reactionary, dilettante—so-called "white-lining"—students, or even the White Guards.

This series of linked charges was well expounded by the prose- cutor.

[The title of "prosecutor" had by now been restored to him.]

As a result of either hard thinking in his office, or a sudden stroke of genius on the rostrum, he managed in this trial to come up with that tone of heartfelt sympathy and friendly criticism which he would make use of in subsequent trials with increasing self-assurance and in ever heavier doses, and which, in 1937, would result in dazzling success. This tone created a com- mon ground—against the rest of the world—between those doing the judging and those who were being judged, and it played on the defendant's particular soft spot. From the prosecutor's ros- trum, they said to the SR's: "After all, you and we are revolu- tionaries! [We! You and we—that adds up to us!] And how could you have fallen so low as to join with the Cadets? [Yes, no doubt your heart is breaking!] Or with the officers? Or to teach the aristocratic, reactionary, dilettante students your brilliantly worked-out scheme of conspiratorial operation?"

None of the defendants' replies is available to us. Did any of them point out that the particular characteristic of the October coup had been to declare war immediately on all the other parties and forbid them to join forces? ("They're not hauling you in, so don't you dare peep!") But for some reason one gets the feeling that some of the defendants sat there with downcast eyes and that some of them truly had divided hearts: just how could they have fallen so low? After all, for the prisoner who'd been brought in from a dark cell, the friendly, sympathetic attitude of the prosecutor in the big bright hall struck home very effectively.

And Krylenko discovered another very, very logical little path which was to prove very useful to Vyshinsky when he applied it against Kamenev and Bukharin: On entering into an alliance with the bourgeoisie, you accepted money from them. At first you took it for the cause, only for the cause, and in no wise for Party pur- poses. But where is the boundary line? Who can draw that divid- ing line? After all, isn't the cause a Party cause also? And so you sank to the level—-you, the Socialist Revolutionary Party—of being supported by the bourgeoisie! Where was your revolutionary pride?

A full quota of charges—and then some—had been piled up. And the tribunal could have gone out to confer and thereupon nailed each of the prisoners with his well-merited execution—but, alas, there was a big mix-up:

a. Everything the Socialist Revolutionary Party had been ac- cused of related to 1918.

b. Since then, on February 27, 1919, an amnesty had been declared for SR's exclusively, which pardoned all their past belligerency against the Bolsheviks on the sole stipulation that they would not continue the struggle into the future.

c. And they had not continued the struggle since that time.

d. And it was now 1922!

How could Krylenko get around that one?

Some thought had been given to this point. When the Socialist International asked the Soviet government to drop charges and not put its socialist brothers on trial, some thought had been given to it.

In fact, at the beginning of 1919, in the face of threats from Kolchak and Denikin, the SR's had renounced their task of revolt against the Bolsheviks and had abandoned all armed struggle against them. (And to aid their Communist brethren, the Samara SR's had even opened up a section of the Kolchak front. . . which was, in fact, why the amnesty had been granted.) And right at the trial the defendant Gendelman, a member of the Central Com- mittee, said: "Give us the chance to make use of the whole gamut of so-called civil liberties, and we will not break the law." (Give it to them! The "whole gamut," to boot! What loud-mouths!)

And it wasn't just that they weren't engaged in any opposition: they had recognized the Soviet government! In other words, they had renounced their former Provisional Government, yes, and the Constituent Assembly as well. And all they asked was a new election for the Soviets, with freedom for all parties to engage in electoral campaigning.

Now did you hear that? Did you hear that? That's where the hostile bourgeois beast poked his snout through. How could we? After all, this is a time of crisis! After all, we are encircled by the enemy. (And in twenty years' time, and fifty years' time, and a hundred years' time, for that matter, it will be exactly the same.) And you want freedom for the parties to engage in electoral cam- paigning, you bastards?

Politically sober people, said Krylenko, could only laugh in reply and shrug their shoulders. It had been a just decision "im- mediately and by all measures of state suppression to prevent these groups from conducting propaganda against the govern- ment." And specifically: in reply to the renunciation by the SR's of armed opposition and to their peaceful proposals, they had put the entire Central Committee of the Socialist Revolu- tionary Party in prison! (As many of them as they could catch.)

That's how we do it!

But to keep them in prison—and hadn't it already been three years?—wasn't it necessary to try them? And what should they be charged with? "This period had not been sufficiently investi- gated in the pretrial examination," our prosecutor complained.

But in the meanwhile one charge was correct. In that same February, 1919, the SR's had passed a resolution which they had not put into effect, though in terms of the new Criminal Code that didn't matter at all: to carry on secret agitation in the ranks of the Red Army in order to induce the soldiers to refuse to par- ticipate in reprisals against the peasants.

And that was a low-down, foul betrayal of the Revolution—to try to persuade men not to take part in reprisals.

And they could also be charged with everything that the so- called "Foreign Delegation of the Central Committee" of the SR's —those prominent SR's who had fled to Europe—had said, writ- ten, and done (mostly words).

But all that wasn't enough. So here's what they thought up: "Many defendants sitting here would not deserve to be indicted in the given case, were it not for the charge of having planned terrorist acts." Allegedly, when the amnesty of 1919 had been published, "none of the leaders of Soviet Justice had imagined" that the SR's had also planned to use terrorism against the leaders of the Soviet state! (Well, indeed, who could possibly have im- agined that! The SR's! And terrorism, all of a sudden? And if it had come to mind, it would have been necessary to include it in the amnesty too! Or else not accept the gap in the Kolchak front. It was really very, very fortunate indeed that no one had thought of it. Not until it was needed—then someone thought of it.) So this charge had not been amnestied (for, after all, struggle was the only offense that had been amnestied). And so Krylenko could now make the charge!

And, in all likelihood, they had discovered so very much! So very much!

In the first place, they had discovered what the SR leaders had said back in the first days after the October seizure of power.

[And what hadn't those chatterboxes said in the course of a lifetime?]

Chernov, at the Fourth Congress of the SR's, had said that the Party would "counterpose all its forces against any attack on the rights of the people, as it had" under Tsarism. (And everyone remembered how it had done that.) Gots had said. "If the auto- crats at Smolny also infringe on the Constituent Assembly ... the Socialist Revolutionary Party will remember its old tried and true tactics."

Perhaps it did remember, but it didn't make up its mind to act. Yet apparently it could be tried for it anyway.

"In this area of our investigation," Krylenko complained, be- cause of conspiracy "there will be little testimony from witnesses." And he continued: "This has made my task extremely difficult. . . . In this area [i.e., terrorism] it is necessary, at certain moments, to wander about in the shadows."24

What made Krylenko's task difficult was the fact that the use of terrorism against the Soviet government was discussed at the meeting of the SR Central Committee in 1918 and rejected. And now, years later, it was necessary to prove that the SR's had been engaged in self-deception.

The SR's had said at the time that they would not resort to terrorism until and unless the Bolsheviks began to execute so- cialists. Or, in 1920, they had said that if the Bolsheviks were to threaten the lives of SR hostages, then the party would take up arms.

[It was evidently all right to shoot the other hostages.]

So the question then was: Why did they qualify their renunci- ation of terrorism? Why wasn't it absolute? And how had they even dared to think about taking up arms! "Why were there no statements equivalent to absolute renunciation?" (But, Comrade Krylenko, maybe terrorism was their "second nature"?)

The SR Party carried out no terrorist acts whatever, and this was clear even from Krylenko's summing up of the charges. But the prosecution kept stretching such facts as these: One of the defendants had in mind a plan for blowing up the locomotive of a train carrying the Council of People's Commissars to Moscow. That meant the Central Committee of the SR's was guilty of ter- rorism. And the terrorist Ivanova had spent one night near the railroad station with one charge of explosives—which meant there had been an attempt to blow up Trotsky's train—and there- fore the SR Central Committee was guilty of terrorism. And further: Donskoi, a member of the Central Committee, warned Fanya Kaplan that she would be expelled from the Party if she fired at Lenin. But that wasn't enough! Why hadn't she been categorically forbidden to? (Or perhaps: why hadn't she been denounced to the Cheka?)

It was feathers of this sort that Krylenko kept plucking from the dead rooster—that the SR's had not taken measures to stop individual terrorist acts by their unemployed and languishing gunmen. That was the whole of their terrorism. (Yes, and those gunmen of theirs didn't do anything either. In 1922, two of them, Konopleva and Semyonov, with suspicious eagerness, enriched the GPU and the tribunal with their voluntary evidence, but their evidence couldn't be pinned on the SR Central Committee—and suddenly and inexplicably these inveterate terrorists were re- leased scot-free.)

All the evidence was such that it had to be bolstered up with props. Krylenko explained things this way in regard to one of the witnesses: "If this person had really wanted to make things up, it is unlikely he would have done so in such a way as to hit the target merely by accident." (Strongly put, indeed! This could be said about any piece of fabricated testimony whatever.) Or else, about Donskoi: Could one really "suspect him of possess- ing the special insight to testify to what the prosecution wanted"? It was just the other way around with Konopleva: the reliability of her testimony was evidenced by the fact that she had not testified to everything the prosecution needed. (But enough for the defendants to be shot.) "If we ask whether Konopleva con- cocted all this, then it is ... clear: if one is going to concoct, one must really concoct [He should know!], and if one is going to expose someone, one should really expose him." But she, you see, did not carry it through to the end. Then things are put still another way: "After all, it is unlikely that Yefimov needed to put Konopleva in danger of execution without cause." Once more correct, once more strongly put! Or, even more strongly: "Could this encounter have taken place? Such a possibility is not ex- eluded." Not excluded? That means it did take place. Off to the races!

Then, too, the "subversive group." They talked about this for a long time, and then suddenly: "Dissolved for lack of activity." So what was all the fuss about? There had been several expropria- tions of money from Soviet institutions (the SR's had nothing with which to work, to rent apartments, to move from city to city). But previously these had been the lovely, noble "exes"— as all the revolutionists called them. And now, in a Soviet court? They were "robbery and concealment of stolen goods."

Through the material adduced by the prosecution in this trial, the dull, unblinking, yellow streetlamps of the Law throw light on the whole uncertain, wavering, deluded history of this patheti- cally garrulous, essentially lost, helpless, and even inactive party which never was worthily led. And its every decision or lack of decision, its every casting about, upsurge, or retreat, was trans- formed into and regarded as total guilt. . . guilt and more guilt.

And if in September, 1921, ten months before the trial, the SR Central Committee, already sitting in the Butyrki, had written to the newly elected Central Committee that it did not agree to the overthrow of the Bolshevik dictatorship by any available means, but only through rallying the working masses and the dissemina- tion of propaganda—all of which meant that, even as they languished in prison, they did not agree to being liberated through either terrorism or conspiracy—then that, too, was converted into their primary guilt: Aha! so that means that you did agree to its overthrow.

And what if they were, nevertheless, not guilty of overthrowing the government, and not guilty of terrorism, and if there had been hardly any "expropriations" at all, and if they had long since been forgiven for all the rest? Our favorite prosecutor pulled out his canonical weapon of last resort: "Ultimately, failure to denounce is a category of crime applying to all the defendants without exception, and it must be considered as having been proved."

The Socialist Revolutionary Party was guilty of not having squealed on itself! Now there's something that couldn't miss! This represented a discovery that juridical thought had made in the new Code. It was a paved highway along which they would keep driving and driving grateful descendants into Siberia!

And Krylenko burst out in a temper: "Hardened eternal ene- mies"—that's who the defendants are! In that case it's quite clear even without any trial what has to be done with them.

The Code was still so new that Krylenko could not even re- member the main counterrevolutionary articles by their numbers —but how he slashed about with those numbers! How pro- foundly he cited and interpreted them! Just as if the blade of the guillotine had for decades hinged and dropped only on those articles. And especially new and important was the fact that we did not draw the distinction between methods and means the old Tsarist Code had drawn. Such distinctions had no influence either on the classification of the charges or on the penalties imposed! For us, intent and action were identical! A resolution had been passed—we would try them for that. And whether it "was carried out or not had no essential significance." Whether a man whispered to his wife in bed that it would be a good thing to overthrow the Soviet government or whether he engaged in propaganda during elections or threw a bomb, it was all one and the same! And the punishment was identical!!!

And just as a foresighted painter proceeds from his first few brusquely drawn, angular strokes to create the whole desired portrait, so, for us, the entire panorama of 1937, 1945, and 1949 becomes ever clearer and more visible in the sketches of 1922.

But no, one thing is missing! What's missing is the conduct of the defendants. They have not yet become trained sheep. They are still people! We have been told little, very little, but from that little we can understand a great deal. Sometimes through care- lessness, Krylenko cites what they said right at the trial. For example, the defendant Berg "accused the Bolsheviks of responsi- bility for the deaths of January 5"—shooting down those who were demonstrating on behalf of the Constituent Assembly. And what Liberov said was even more direct: "I admit I was guilty of failing to work hard enough at overthrowing the Bolshevik government in 1918. Yevgeniya Ratner adhered to the same line, and Berg also declared: "I consider myself guilty before the workers' Russia for having been unable to fight with all my strength against the so-called workers' and peasants' government, but I hope that my time has not yet gone."32 (It has gone, darling, all gone!)

Of course, there is in all this an element of the ancient passion for the resounding phrase, but there is firmness too.

The prosecutor argued: the accused are dangerous to Soviet Russia because they consider everything they did to have been a good thing. "Perhaps certain of the defendants find their own consolation in the hope that some future chronicler will praise them or their conduct at the trial."

And a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued after the trial declared: "At the trial itself they reserved to themselves the right to continue" their former activity.

The defendant Gendelman-Grabovsky (a lawyer himself) was conspicuous during the trial for his arguments with Krylenko on tampering with the testimony of witnesses and on "special methods of treating witnesses before the trial"—in other words, the obvious working-over they had gotten from the GPU. (It is all there! All the elements are there! There was only a little way to go before attaining the ideal.) Apparently the preliminary in- terrogation had been conducted under the supervision of the prosecutor—that same Krylenko. And during that process in- dividual instances of a lack of consistency in testimony had been ironed out. Yet some testimony was presented for the first time only at the trial itself.

Well, so what! So there were some rough spots. So it wasn't perfect. But in the last analysis, "We have to declare altogether clearly and coldly that... we are not concerned with the question of how the court of history is going to view our present deed."

And as far as the rough spots are concerned, we will take them under advisement and correct them.

But as it was, Krylenko, squirming, had to bring up—prob- ably for the first and last time in Soviet jurisprudence—the matter of the inquiry, the initial inquiry required before investigation. And here's how cleverly he handled this point: The proceeding which took place in the absence of the prosecutor and which you considered the investigation was actually the inquiry. And the proceeding in the presence of the prosecutor which you regarded as the reinvestigation, when all the loose ends were gathered up and all the bolts tightened, was really the investigation. The dis- organized "materials provided by the Organs for inquiry and unverified by the investigation have much less value as proof than the materials provided by the skillfully directed investiga- tion."

Clever, wasn't it? Just try grinding that up in your mortar!

To be practical about it, Krylenko no doubt resented having to spend half a year getting ready for this trial, then another two months barking at the defendants, and then having to drag out his summation for fifteen hours, when all these defendants "had more than once been in the hands of the extraordinary Organs at times when these Organs had extraordinary powers; but, thanks to some circumstances or other, they had succeeded in surviving." So now Krylenko had to slave away to try and get them executed legally.

There was, of course, "only one possible verdict—execution for every last one of them"! But Krylenko qualifies this gen- erously. Because this case is being watched by the whole world, the prosecutor's demand "does not constitute a directive to the court" which the latter would "be obliged to accept immediately for consideration or decision."

What a fine court, too, that requires such an explanation!

And, indeed, the tribunal did demonstrate its daring in the sentences it imposed: it did not hand down the death penalty for "every last one of them," but for fourteen only. Most of the rest got prison and camp sentences, while sentences in the form of productive labor were imposed on another hundred.

And just remember, reader, remember: "All the other courts of the Republic watch what the Supreme Tribunal does. It pro- vides them with guidelines."

The sentences of the Verkhtrib are used "as directives for their guidance." As to how many more would now be railroaded in the provinces, you can figure that out for yourself.

And, probably, on appeal the decision of the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee was worth the whole trial: the death sentences were to remain in effect, but not to be carried out for the time being. The further fate of those con- demned would depend, then, on the conduct of those SR's who had not yet been arrested, apparently including those abroad as well. In other words: If you move against us, we'll squash them.

In the fields of Russia they were reaping the second peacetime harvest. There was no shooting except in the courtyards of the Cheka. (Perkhurov in Yaroslavl, Metropolitan Veniamin in Petrograd. And always, always, always.) Beneath the azure sky our first diplomats and journalists sailed abroad across the blue waters. And the Central Executive Committee of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies thrust into its pockets eternal hostages.

The members of the ruling Party read all sixty issues of Pravda devoted to the trial—for they all read the papers—and all of them said: "Yes, yes, yes." No one mumbled: "No!"

What, then, were they surprised at in 1937? What was there to complain about? Hadn't all the foundations of lawlessness been laid—first by the extrajudicial reprisals of the Cheka, and then by these early trials and this young Code? Wasn't 1937 also expedient (expedient for Stalin's purposes and, perhaps, History's, too, for that matter)?

Prophetically, Krylenko let it slip that they were judging not the past but the future.

Only the first swath cut by the scythe is difficult.

On or about August 20, 1924, Boris Viktorovich Savinkov crossed the Soviet border. He was immediately arrested and taken to the Lubyanka.

[Many hypotheses were advanced about his return. Only a little while ago, a certain Ardamatsky, a person obviously connected with the archives and personnel of the Committee for State Security, published a story which, despite being adorned with pretentiously inflated literary gewgaws, is evidently close to the truth. (The magazine Neva, No. 11, 1967.) Having induced certain of Savinkov's agents to betray him and having deceived others, the GPU used them to set a foolproof trap, convincing Savinkov that inside Russia a large underground organization was languishing for lack of a worthy leader! It would have been impossible to devise a more effective trap! And it would have been impossible for Savinkov, after such a confused and sensational life, merely to spin it out quietly to the end in Nice. He couldn't bear not trying to pull off one more feat and not returning to Russia and his death.]

In all, the interrogation lasted for just one session, which consisted solely of voluntary testimony and an evaluation of his activity. The official indictment was ready by August 23. The speed was totally unbelievable, but it had im- pact. (Someone had estimated the situation quite accurately: to have forced false and pitiful testimony out of Savinkov by torture would only have wrecked the authenticity of the picture.)

In the official indictment, couched in already-well-developed terminology that turned everything upside down, Savinkov was charged with just about everything imaginable: with being a "consistent enemy of the poorest peasantry"; with "assisting the Russian bourgeoisie in carrying out its imperialist ambitions" (in other words, he was in favor of continuing the war with Germany); with "maintaining relations with representatives of the Allied command" (this would have been when he was in charge of the Ministry of War!); with "becoming a member of soldiers' committees for purposes of provocation" (i.e., he was elected by the soldiers' committees); and, last but not least, some- thing to make even the chickens cackle with laughter—with having had "monarchist sympathies."

But all that was old hat. There were some new items too— the standard charges for all future trials: money from the im- perialists; espionage for Poland (they left out Japan, believe it or not); yes, and he had also wanted to poison the Red Army with potassium cyanide (but for some reason he did not poison even one Red Army soldier).

On August 26 the trial began. The presiding judge was Ulrikh —this being our earliest encounter with him. And there was no prosecutor at all, nor any defense lawyer.

Savinkov was lackadaisical in defending himself, and he raised hardly any objection at all to the evidence. He conceived of this trial in a lyrical sense. It was his last encounter with Russia and his last opportunity to explain himself in public. And to repent. (Not of these imputed sins, but of others.)

(And that theme song fitted well here, and greatly confused the defendant: "After all, we are all Russians together. You and we adds up to us. You love Russia beyond a doubt, and we respect your love—and do we not love Russia too? In fact, are we not at present the fortress and the glory of Russia? And you wanted to fight against us? Repent!")

But it was the sentence that was most wonderful: "Imposition of the death penalty is not required in the interests of preserving revolutionary law and order, and, on the grounds that motives of vengeance should not influence the sense of justice of the prole- tarian masses"—the death penalty was commuted to ten years' imprisonment.

Now that was a sensation! And it confused many minds too. Did it mean a relaxation? A transformation? Ulrikh even pub- lished in Pravda an apologetic explanation of why Savinkov had not been executed.

You see how strong the Soviet government has become in only seven years! Why should it be afraid of some Savinkov or other! (On the twentieth anniversary of the Revolution, it is going to get weaker, and don't be too hard on us because we are going to execute thousands.)

And so, on the heels of the first riddle of his return, there would have been the second riddle of his being spared capital punishment had it not been overshadowed in May, 1925, by a third riddle: in a state of depression, Savinkov jumped from an unbarred window into the interior courtyard of the Lubyanka, and the gaypayooshniki, his guardian angels, simply couldn't manage to stop him and hold on to his big, heavy body. However, just in case—so that there wouldn't be any scandal in the service —Savinkov left them a suicide letter in which he explained logically and coherently why he was killing himself—and this letter was so authentically phrased, so clearly written in Savin- kov's style and vocabulary, that even Lev Borisovich, the son of the deceased, was fully convinced of its genuineness and explained to everyone in Paris that no one except his father could have written it and that he had ended his life because he realized his political bankruptcy.

[And we, silly prisoners of a later Lubyanka, confidently parroted to one another that the steel nets hanging in the Lubyanka stairwells had been installed after Savinkov had committed suicide there. Thus do we succumb to fancy legends to the extent of forgetting that the experience of jailers is, after all, international in character. Such nets existed in American prisons as long ago as the beginning of the century—and how could Soviet technology have been allowed to lag behind?

In 1937, when he was dying in a camp in the Kolyma, the former Chekist Artur Pryubel told one of his fellow prisoners that he had been one of the four who threw Savinkov from a fifth-floor window into the Lubyanka court- yard! (And there is no conflict between that statement and Ardamatsky's recent account: There was a low sill; it was more like a door to the balcony than a window—they had picked the right room! Only, according to Ardamatsky, the guards were careless; according to Pryubel, they rushed him all together.)

Thus the second riddle, the unusually lenient sentence, was unraveled by the crude third "riddle."

The story ascribed to Pryubel could not be checked, but I had heard it, and in 1967 I told it to M. P. Yakubovich. He, with his still youthful enthusiasm and shining eyes, exclaimed: "I believe it. Things fit! And I didn't believe Blyumkin; I thought he was just bragging." What he had learned was this: At the end of the twenties, Blyumkin had told Yakubovich, after swearing him to secrecy, that he was the one who had written Savinkov's so-called suicide note, on orders from the GPU. Apparently Blyumkin was allowed to see Savinkov in his cell constantly while he was in prison. He kept him amused in the evenings. (Did Savinkov sense that death was creeping up on him . . . sly, friendly death, which gives you no chance to guess the form your end will take?) And this had helped Blyumkin acquire Savinkov's manner of speech and thought, had enabled him to enter into the framework of his last ideas.

And they ask: Why throw him out the window? Wouldn't it have been easier simply to poison him? Perhaps they showed someone the remains or thought they might need to.

And where, if not here, is the right place to report the fate of Blyumkin, who for all his Chekist omnipotence was fearlessly brought up short by Man- delstam. Ehrenburg began to tell Blyumkin's story, and suddenly became ashamed and dropped the subject. And there is a story to tell, too. After the 1918 rout of the Left SR's, Blyumkin, the assassin of the German Ambassador Mirbach, not only went unpunished, was not only spared the fate of all the other Left SR's, but was protected by Dzerzhinsky, just as Dzerzhinsky had wanted to protect Kosyrev. Superficially he converted to Bolshevism, and was kept on, one gathers, for particularly important assassinations. At one point, close to the thirties, he was secretly sent to Paris to kill Bazhenov, a member of the staff of Stalin's secretariat who had defected, and one night he succeeded in throwing him off a train. However, his gambler's blood, or perhaps his admiration of Trotsky, led Blyumkin to the Princes' Islands in Turkey, where Trotsky was living. He asked Trotsky whether there were any assignments he could carry out for him in the Soviet Union, and Trotsky gave him a package for Radek. Blyumkin delivered it, and his visit to Trotsky would have remained a secret had not the brilliant Radek already been a stool pigeon. Radek brought down Blyumkin, who was thereupon devoured by the maw of the monster his own hands had suckled with its first bloody milk.]

And all the major and most famous trials are still ahead of us.

Chapter 10
The Law Matures

But where were those mobs insanely storming the barbed-wire barricades on our western borders whom we were going to shoot, under Article 71 of the Criminal Code, for unauthorized return to the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic? Contrary to scientific prediction, there were no such crowds, and that article of the Code dictated by Lenin to Kursky remained use- less. The only Russian crazy enough to do it was Savinkov, and they had ducked applying that article even to him. On the other hand, the opposite penalty—exile abroad instead of execution —was tried out immediately on a large scale.

In those days when he was composing the Criminal Code, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, developing his brilliant idea, wrote in the heat of the moment, on May 19:

Comrade Dzerzhinsky! On the question of exiling abroad writers and professors who aid the counterrevolution: this is a measure which must be prepared most carefully. Unless we prepare well, we can commit stupidities. . . . We must arrange the business in such a way as to catch these "military spies" and keep on catching them con- stantly and systematically and exiling them abroad. I beg you to show this secretly, and without making any copies of it, to members of the Politburo.

[Lenin, fifth edition, Vol. 54, pp. 265-266.]

The extreme secrecy was natural in view of the importance and instructive impact of the measure. The crystal-clear line-up of forces on the class front in Soviet Russia was, to put it simply, spoiled by the presence of this shapeless, jellylike stain of the old bourgeois intelligentsia, which in the ideological area genuinely played the role of military spies—and the very best solution one could imagine was to scrape off that stagnant scum of ideas and toss it out abroad.

Comrade Lenin had already been stricken by his illness, but the members of the Politburo had apparently given their approval, and Comrade Dzerzhinsky had done the catching. At the end of 1922, about three hundred prominent Russian humanists were loaded onto—a barge, perhaps? No, they were put on a steamer and sent off to the European garbage dump. (Among those who settled down in exile and acquired reputations were the philos- ophers N. O. Lossky, S. N. Bulgakov, N. A. Berdyayev, F. A. Stepun, B. P. Vysheslavtsev, L. P. Karsavin, S. L. Frank, I. A. Ilin; the historians S. P. Melgunov, V. A. Myakotin, A. A. Kizevetter, I. I. Lapshin, and others; the writers and publicists Y. I. Aikhenvald, A. S. Izgoyev, M. A. Osorgin, A. V. Peshe- khonov. At the beginning of 1923, additional small groups were sent off, including for example V. F. Bulgakov, the secretary of Lev Tolstoi. And because of questionable associations some mathematicians also shared this fate, including D. F. Selivanov.)

However, it didn't work out constantly and systematically. Per- haps the roar with which the émigrés announced that they re- garded it as a "gift" made it apparent that this punishment left something to be desired, that it was a mistake to have let go good material for the executioner, and that poisonous flowers might grow on that garbage dump. And so they abandoned this form of punishment. And all subsequent purging led to either the executioner or the Archipelago.

The improved Criminal Code promulgated in 1926, which, in effect, continued right into Khrushchev's times, tied all the formerly scattered political articles into one durable dragnet- Article 58—and the roundup was under way. The catch swiftly expanded to include the engineering and techfiical intelligentsia; it was especially dangerous because it occupied a firm position in the economy and it was hard to keep an eye on it with the help of the Progressive Doctrine alone. It now became clear that the trial in defense of Oldenborger had been a mistake—after all, a very nice little center had been organized there. And Krylenko's declaration that "there was no question of sabotage on the part of the engineers in 1920 and 1921" had granted an all too hasty absolution. Now it was not sabotage but worse—wrecking, a word discovered, it appears, by a rank-and-file interrogator in the Shakhty case.

It had no sooner been established that wrecking was what had to be tracked down—notwithstanding the nonexistence of this concept in the entire history of mankind—than they began to discover it without any trouble in all branches of industry and in all individual enterprises. However, there was no unity of plan, no perfection of execution, in all these hit-or-miss discoveries, although Stalin, by virtue of his character, and of course the entire investigative branch of our judicial apparatus, evidently aspired to just that. But our Law had finally matured and could show the world something really perfect—a big, coordinated, well-organized trial, this time a trial of engineers. And that is how the Shakhty case came about.

K. The Shakhty Case—May 18-July 15, 1928

This case was tried before a Special Assize of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R., under Presiding Judge A. Y. Vyshinsky (who was still the Rector of First Moscow University) ; the chief accuser was N. V. Krylenko (what a significant encounter!— rather like a handing over of the juridical relay-baton).

[And the members of the tribunal were the old revolutionaries Vasilyev- Yuzhin and Antonov-Saratovsky. The very simple folk sound of their family names inclines one to a favorable reaction. They are easy to remember. And when suddenly, in 1962, obituaries of certain victims of repression appeared in Izvestiya, whose signature was at the bottom? That of the long-lived Antonov- Saratovsky!]

There were fifty-three defendants and fifty-six witnesses. How spec- tacular!

Alas, in its spectacular aspect lay the weakness of this case. If one were to tie to each of the defendants only three threads of evidence, there would still have to be 159 of them. And mean- while Krylenko had only ten fingers and Vyshinsky another ten. Of course, the "defendants strove to expose their heinous crimes to society"—but not all of them did, only sixteen; thirteen wiggled back and forth, and twenty-four didn't admit their guilt at all. This introduced an impermissible discord, and the masses could certainly not understand it. Along with its positive aspects —which had, incidentally, already been displayed in earlier trials —such as the helplessness of the defendants and of the defense attorneys, and their inability either to budge or to deflect the implacable boulder of the sentence—the shortcomings of the new trial were fully apparent. Someone less experienced than Krylenko might have been forgiven them—but not he.

On the threshold of the classless society, we were at last capable of realizing the conflictless trial—a reflection of the absence of inner conflict in our social structure—in which not only the judge and the prosecutor but also the defense lawyers and the defendants themselves would strive collectively to achieve their common purpose.

Anyway, the whole scale of the Shakhty case, comprising as it did the coal industry alone and the Donets Basin alone, was disproportionately paltry for this era.

It appears that then and there, on the day the Shakhty case ended, Krylenko began to dig a new, capacious pit. (Even two of his own colleagues in the Shakhty case—the public accusers Osadchy and Shein—fell into it.) And it goes without saying that the entire apparatus of the OGPU, which had already landed in Yagoda's firm hands, aided him willingly and adroitly. It was necessary to create and uncover an engineers' organization which encompassed the entire country. And for this purpose it was essential to have several strong, prominent "wreckers" at its head. And what engineer was unaware of just such an unequivocally strong and impatiently proud leader—Pyotr Akimovich Pal- chinsky? An important mining engineer from as far back as the beginning of the century, he had been the Deputy Chairman of the War Industry Committee during World War I—in other words, he had directed the war efforts of all Russian industry, which had managed, during the course of the war, to make up for the failures in Tsarist preparations. After February, 1917, he became the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry. He had been persecuted under the Tsar for revolutionary activity. He had been imprisoned three times after October—in 1917, 1918, and 1922.

From 1920 on, he had been a professor at the Mining Institute and a consultant to the Gosplan—the State Planning Commis- sion. (For more details about him see Part III, Chapter 10.)

They picked this Palchinsky to be the chief defendant in a grandiose new trial. However, the thoughtless Krylenko, stepping into what was for him a new field—engineering—not only knew nothing about the resistance of materials but could not even conceive of the potential resistance of souls . . . despite ten years of already sensational activity as a prosecutor. Krylenko's choice turned out to be a mistake. Palchinsky resisted every pressure the OGPU knew—and did not surrender; in fact, he died without signing any sort of nonsense at all. N. K. von Meek and A. F. Velichko were subjected to torture with him, and they, too, appear not to have given in. We do not yet know whether they died while under torture or whether they were shot. But they proved it was possible to resist and that it was possible not to give in—and thus they left behind a spotlight of reproach to shine on all the famous subsequent defendants.

To cover up his defeat, on May 24, 1929, Yagoda published a brief GPU communiqué on the execution of the three for large- scale wrecking, which also announced the condemnation of many other unidentified persons.

But how much time had been spent for nothing! Nearly a whole year! And how many nights of interrogation! And how much inventiveness on the part of the interrogators! And all to no avail. And Krylenko had to start over from the very beginning and find a leader who was both brilliant and strong, and at the same time utterly weak and totally pliable. But so little did he understand this cursed breed of engineers that another whole year was spent in unsuccessful tries. From the summer of 1929 on, he worked over Khrennikov, but Khrennikov, too, died without agreeing to play a dastardly role. They twisted old Fedotov, but he was too old, and furthermore he was a textile engineer, which was an unprofitable field. And one more year was wasted! The country was waiting for the all-inclusive wreckers' trial, and Comrade Stalin was waiting—but things just couldn't seem to fall into place for Krylenko.

[And it is quite possible that this failure of his was held against him by the Leader and led to the symbolic destruction of the prosecutor—on the very same guillotine as his victims.]

It was only in the summer of 1930 that someone found or suggested Ramzin, the Director of the Thermal Engineering Institute! He was arrested, and in three months a magnificent drama was prepared and performed, the genuine perfection of our justice and an un- attainable model for world justice.

L. The Promparty (Industrial Party) Trial— November 25-December 7, 1930

This case was tried at a Special Assize of the Supreme Court, with the same Vyshinsky, the same Antonov-Saratovsky, and that same favorite of ours, Krylenko.

This time none of those "technical reasons" arose to prevent the reader's being offered a full stenographic report of the trial or to prohibit the attendance of foreign correspondents.

There was a majesty of concept: all the nation's industry, all its branches and planning organs, sat on the defendants' benches. (However, only the eyes of the man who arranged it all could see the crevices into which the mining industry and railroad transportation had disappeared.) At the same time there was a thrift in the use of material: there were only eight defendants in all. (The mistakes of the Shakhty trial had been taken into account. )

You are going to exclaim: Can eight men represent the en- tire industry of the country? Yes, indeed; we have more even than we need. Three out of eight are solely in textiles, represent- ing the industrial branch most important for national defense. But there were, no doubt, crowds of witnesses? Just seven in all, who were exactly the same sort of wreckers as the defendants and were also prisoners. But there were no doubt bales of documents that exposed them? Drawings? Projects? Directives? Summaries of results? Proposals? Dispatches? Private correspondence? No, not one! You mean to say, Not even one tiny piece of paper? How could the GPU let that sort of thing get by? They had arrested all those people, and they hadn't even grabbed one little piece of paper? "There had been a lot," but "it had all been destroyed." Because "there was no place to keep the files." At the trial they produced only a few newspaper articles, published in the émigré press and our own. But in that event how could the prosecution present its case? Well, to be sure, there was Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko. And, to be sure, it wasn't the first time either. "The best evidence, no matter what the circumstances, is the confessions of the defendants."

But what confessions! These confessions were not forced but inspired—repentance tearing whole monologues from the breast, and talk, talk, and more talk, and self-exposure and self-flagella- tion! They told old man Fedotov, who was sixty-six, that he could sit down, that he had talked long enough, but no, he kept pouring out additional explanations and interpretations. For five sessions in a row, no questions were asked. The defendants kept talking and talking and explaining and kept asking for the floor again in order to supply whatever they had left out. They presented inferentially everything the prosecution needed without any ques- tions whatever being asked. Ramzin, after extensive explanations, went on to provide brief résumés, for the sake of clarity, as if he were addressing slow-witted students. The defendants were afraid most of all that something might be left unexplained, that some- one might go unexposed, that someone's name might go un- mentioned, that someone's intention to wreck might not have been made clear. And how they reviled themselves! "I am a class enemy!" "I was bribed." "Our bourgeois ideology." And then the prosecutor: "Was that your error?" And Charnovsky replied: "And crime!" There was simply nothing for Krylenko to do. For five sessions he went on drinking tea and eating cookies or whatever else they brought him.

But how did the defendants sustain such an emotional ex- plosion? There was no tape recorder to take down their words, but Otsep, the defense attorney, described them: "The defend- ants' words flowed in a businesslike manner, cold and profession- ally calm." There you are! Such a passion for confession—and businesslike at the same time? Cold? More than that: they appear to have mumbled their glib repentance so listlessly that Vyshinsky often asked them to speak louder, more clearly, because they couldn't be heard.

The harmony of the trial was not at all disturbed by the de- fense, which agreed with all the prosecutor's proposals. The principal defense lawyer called the prosecutor's summation his- toric and described his own as narrow, admitting that in making it he had gone against the dictates of his heart, for "a Soviet de- fense lawyer is first of all a Soviet citizen" and "like all workers, he, too, is outraged" at the crimes of the defendants. During the trial the defense asked shy and tentative questions and then instantly backed away from them if Vyshinsky interrupted. The lawyers actually defended only two harmless textile officials and did not challenge the formal charges nor the description of the defendants' actions, but asked only whether the defendants might avoid execution. Is it more useful, Comrade Judges, "to have their corpses or their labor?"

. . . How foul-smelling were the crimes of these bourgeois engi- neers? Here is what they consisted of. They planned to reduce the tempo of development, as, for instance, to an over-all annual increase in production of only 20 to 22 percent, whereas the workers were prepared to increase it by 40 to 50 percent. They slowed down the rate of mining local fuels. They were too slow in developing the Kuznetsk Basin. They exploited theoretical and economic arguments —such as whether to supply the Donets Basin with electricity from the Dnieper power station or whether to build a supertrunk-line between Moscow and the Donbas—in order to delay the solutions of important problems. (The work stops while engineers argue!) They postponed considering new engineering projects (i.e., they did not authorize them immediately). In lectures on the resistance of mate- rials, they took an anti-Soviet line. They installed worn-out equipment. They tied up capital funds, for example, by using them for costly and lengthy construction projects. They carried out unnecessary (!) repairs. They misused metals (some grades of iron were wanting). They created an imbalance between the departments of a plant and between the supply of raw materials and the capacity for processing them industrially. (This was particularly notable in the textile industry, where they built one or two factories more than they needed to process the cotton harvest.) Then they leaped from minimal to maximal plans. And obvious wrecking began through the accelerated develop- ment of that same unfortunate textile industry. Most importantly, they planned sabotage in the field of electric power—even though none was ever carried out. Thus wrecking did not take the form of actual damage done but remained within the area of operational planning, yet it was intended to lead to a nationwide crisis and even to economic paralysis in 1930! But it didn't—and only because of the competitive industrial and financial plans of the masses (doubling the figures!). . . .

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," begins the skeptical reader.

What? That isn't enough for you? But if, at the trial, we repeat every point and chew it over five or eight times, then perhaps it turns out not to be so negligible?

"Yeah, yeah, yeah." The reader of the sixties nonetheless sticks to his own view. "Mightn't all that have happened precisely because of those competing industrial and financial plans? Aren't things bound to be out of balance if any union meeting, without consulting Gosplan, can twist the ratios around as it pleases?"

Oh, the prosecutor's bread is bitter! After all, they decided to publish every last word! That meant that engineers would read it too. "You've made your bed, now lie in it." And Krylenko rushed in fearlessly to discuss and to question and cross-question engineering details! And the inside pages and inserts of the enormous newspapers were full of small print about fine tech- nical points. The notion was that every reader would be over- come by the sheer mass of material, that he wouldn't have enough time, even if he used up all his evenings and his rest days too, and so he wouldn't read it all but would only notice the refrain following every few paragraphs: "We were wreckers, wreckers, wreckers."

But suppose someone did begin, and read every last line?

In that case, he would come to see, through the banality of self- accusations, composed with such ineptitude and stupidity, that the Lubyanka boa constrictor had gotten involved in something outside its competence, its own kind of work, that what breaks free of the crude noose is the strong-winged thought of the twentieth century. There the prisoners are: in the dock, submis- sive, repressed—but their thought leaps out. Even their terrified, tired tongues manage to name everything with its proper name and to tell us everything.

. . Here is the situation in which they worked. Kalinnikov: "Well, to be sure, a situation of technical distrust was created." Larichev: "Whether we wanted to or not, we still had to produce that 42 millions of tons of petroleum [i.e., it had been thus ordered from on high] . . . because, no matter what, 42 million tons of petroleum could not have been produced under any circumstances whatever."

All the work of that unhappy generation of our engineers was squeezed between two such impossibilities. The Thermal Engineering Institute was proud of its principal research achievement, which was the sharply improved coefficient of fuel consumption. On this basis, lower requirements for fuel production had been stipulated in the preliminary plan. And that meant wrecking—reducing fuel resources. In the transportation plan, they had provided for all freight cars to be equipped with automatic coupling. And that meant wrecking: they had tied up capital funds. After all, it takes a long time to intro- duce automatic coupling, and the capital investment involved in installing it can only be recouped over a long period, and we want everything immediately! In order to make more efficient use of single- track railroads, they decided to increase the size of the locomotives and freight cars. And was that considered modernization? No, it was wreck- ing. Because in that case it would have been necessary to invest funds in strengthening the roadbeds and the superstructures of the bridges.

From the profound economic consideration that in America capital is cheap and labor dear, and that the situation here is just the opposite, and that we therefore ought not to borrow things with monkeylike imitativeness, Fedotov concluded that it was useless for us to purchase expensive American assembly-line machinery. For the next ten years it would be more profitable for us to buy less sophisticated English machinery and to put more workers on it, since it was inevitable that in ten years' time whatever we had purchased would be replaced anyway, no matter what. And we could then buy more expensive machinery. So that, too, was wrecking. Alleging economy as his reason, what he really wanted, they charged, was to avoid having the most advanced type of machinery in Soviet industry. They began to build new factories out of reinforced concrete, instead of cheaper ordinary concrete, on the grounds that over a hundred-year period reinforced concrete would recoup the additional investment many times over. So that, too, was wrecking: tying up capital; using up scarce reinforcing rods when iron was in short supply. (What was it supposed to be kept for—false teeth?)

From among the defendants, Fedotov willingly conceded: Of course, if every kopeck must be counted today, then it could be considered wrecking. The English say: I'm not rich enough to buy cheap goods.

He tries softly to explain to the hardheaded prosecutor: "Theoreti- cal approaches of every kind project norms which in the final analysis are [they will be considered to be] wrecking. . . ."

Well, tell me now: how much more clearly could a frightened de- fendant speak out? What is theory to us is wrecking to you! Because you are compelled to grab today, without any thought for tomorrow.

Old Fedotov tries to explain where thousands and millions of rubles are lost in the insane rush of the Five-Year Plan: Cotton is not sorted where it is grown so that every factory can be sent that grade and kind of cotton it requires; instead, it is shipped any old way, all mixed up. But the prosecutor doesn't listen to him. With the stubbornness of a block of stone he keeps coming back again and again—ten times— to the more obvious question he has put together out of children's building blocks: Why did they begin to build the so-called "factory- palaces," with high ceilings, broad corridors, and unnecessarily good ventilation? Was that not the most obvious sort of wrecking? After all, that amounted to tying up capital irrevocably! The bourgeois wreckers explain to him that the People's Commissariat of Labor wanted to build factories for the workers in the land of the proletariat which were spacious and had good air. [That means there are also wreckers in the People's Commissariat of Labor. Make a note of that!] The doctors had insisted on thirty feet of space between floors, and Fedotov reduced it to twenty—so why not to sixteen? Now that was wrecking! (If he had reduced it to fifteen, that would have been flagrant wrecking: he would have wanted to create the nightmare conditions of a capitalist factory for free Soviet workers.) They ex- plain to Krylenko that in relation to the entire cost of the factory and its equipment, this difference accounted for 3 percent of the total— but no, again and again and again, he keeps on about the height of the ceilings! And how did they dare install such powerful ventilators? They took into account the hottest summer days. Why the hottest days? So what! Let the workers sweat a little on the hottest days!

And in the meantime: "The disproportions were inherent. . . . Bungling organization saw to that before there was any 'Engineers Center.'" (Charnovsky.) "No wrecking activities were ever neces- sary. . . . All one had to do was carry out the appropriate actions and everything would happen on its own." (Charnovsky again.) He could not have expressed himself more clearly. And he said this after many months in the Lubyanka and from the defendants' bench in court. The appropriate actions—i.e., those imposed by bungling higher-ups—were quite enough: carry them out and the unthinkable plan would destroy itself. Here was their kind of wrecking: "We had the capability of producing, say, 1,000 tons and we were ordered [in other words, by a nonsensical plan] to produce 3,000, so we took no steps to produce them." . . .

You must admit that for an official, double-checked, spruced-up stenographic record in those years, this is not so little.

On many occasions Krylenko drives his actors to tones of exhaustion, thanks to the nonsense they are compelled to grind out over and over again . . . like a bad play in which the actor is ashamed for the dramatist, and yet has to go on and on any- way, to keep body and soul together.

Krylenko: "Do you agree?"

Fedotov: "I agree . . . even though in general I do not think . . ,"

Krylenko: "Do you confirm this?"

Fedotov: "Properly speaking ... in certain portions . . . and so to speak, in general . . . yes."

For the engineers (those who were still free, not yet imprisoned, and who had to face the necessity of working cheerfully after the defamation at the trial of their whole class), there was no way out. They were damned if they did and damned if they didn't. If they went forward, it was wrong, and if they went backward, it was wrong too. If they hurried, they were hurrying for the pur- pose of wrecking. If they moved methodically, it meant wrecking by slowing down tempos. If they were painstaking in develop- ing some branch of industry, it was intentional delay, sabotage. And if they indulged in capricious leaps, their intention was to produce an imbalance for the purpose of wrecking. Using capital for repairs, improvements, or capital readiness was tying up capital funds. And if they allowed equipment to be used until it broke down, it was a diversionary action! (In addition, the interrogators would get all this information out of them by sub- jecting them to sleeplessness and punishment cells and then de- manding that they give convincing examples of how they might have carried on wrecking activities.)

"Give us a clear example! Give us a clear example of your wrecking activity!" the impatient Krylenko urges them on.

(They will give you outstanding examples! Just wait! Soon someone will write the history of the technology of those years! He will give you examples—and negative examples. He will evaluate for you all the convulsions of your epileptic "Five-Year Plan in Four Years." Then we will find out how much of the people's wealth and strength was squandered. Then we will find out how all the best projects were destroyed, and how the worst projects were carried out by the worst means. Well, yes, if the Mao Tse-tung breed of Red Guard youths supervise brilliant engineers, what good can come of it? Dilettante enthusiasts— they were the ones who egged on their even stupider leaders.)

Yes, full details are a disservice. Somehow the more details provided, the less the evil deeds seem to smell of execution.

But just a moment! We've not had everything yet! The most important crimes all lie ahead! Here they are, here they come, comprehensible and intelligible to every illiterate! The Promparty (1 ) prepared the way for the Intervention; (2) took money from the imperialists; (3) conducted espionage; (4) assigned cabinet posts in a future government.

And that did it! All mouths were shut. And all those who had been expressing their reservations fell silent. And only the tramp- ing of demonstrators could be heard, and the roars outside the window: "Death! Death! Death!"

What about some more details? Why should you want more details? Well, then, if that's the way you want it; but they will only be more frightening. They were all acting under orders from the French General Staff. After all, France doesn't have enough worries, or difficulties, or party conflicts of its own, and it is enough just to whistle, and, lo and behold, divisions will march.

... Intervention! First they planned it for 1928. But they couldn't come to an agreement, they couldn't tie up all the loose ends. All right, so they postponed it to 1930. But once more they couldn't agree among themselves. All right, 1931 then. And, as a matter of fact, here's how it was to go: France herself would not fight but, as her commission for organizing the deal, would take the Ukraine right bank as her share. England wouldn't fight either, of course, but, in order to raise a scare, promised to send her fleet into the Black Sea and into the Baltic—in return, she would get Caucasian oil. The actual warriors would, for the most part, be the following: 100,000 émigrés (true, they had long since scattered to the four winds, but it would take only a whistle to gather them all together again immediately) ; Poland —for which she would get half the Ukraine; Rumania (whose brilliant successes in World War I were famous—she was a formidable enemy). And then there were Latvia and Estonia. (These two small countries would willingly drop all the concerns of their young governments and rush forth en masse to do battle.) And the most frightening thing of all was the direction of the main blow. How's that? Was it already known? Yes! It would begin from Bessarabia, and from there, keeping to the right bank of the Dnieper, it would move straight on Moscow.

[Who drew that arrow for Krylenko on a cigarette pack—was it not drawn by the same hand that thought up our entire defense strategy in 1941?]

And at that fateful moment, would not all our railroads certainly be blown up? No, not at all. Bottlenecks would be created! And the Promparty would also yank out the fuses in electric power sta- tions, and the entire Soviet Union would be plunged into dark- ness, and all our machinery would come to a halt, including the textile machinery! And sabotage would be carried out. (Atten- tion, defendants! You must not name your methods of sabotage, nor the factories which were your objectives, nor the geographic sites involved, until the closed session. And you must not name names, whether foreign or our own!) Combine all this with the fatal blow which will have been dealt the textile industry by that time! Add the fact that the saboteurs will have constructed two or three textile factories in Byelorussia which will serve as a base of operations for the interventionists.

[Protsess Prompartii, p. 356. This was not intended as a joke.]

With the textile fac- tories already in their hands, the interventionists would march implacably on Moscow. But here was the cleverest part of the whole plot: though they didn't succeed in doing so, they had wanted to drain the Kuban marshes and the Polesye swamps, and the swamp near Lake Urnen (Vyshinsky had forbidden them to name the exact places, but one of the witnesses blurted them out), and then the interventionists would open up the shortest routes and would get to Moscow without wetting their feet or their horses' hoofs. (And why was it so hard for the Tatars? Why was it that Napoleon didn't reach Moscow? Yes! It was because of the Polesye and the Ilmen swamps. And once those swamps were drained, the capital would lie exposed.) On top of that, don't forget to add that hangars had been built there under the guise of sawmills (places not to be named!) so that the planes of the interventionists would not get wet in the rain and could be taxied into them. And housing for the intervention- ists had also been built (do not name the places!). (And where had all the homeless occupation armies been quartered in previous wars?) The defendants had received all the directives on these matters from the mysterious foreign gentlemen K. and R. (It is strictly forbidden to name their names—or to name the countries they come from!) And most recently they had even begun "the preparation of treasonable actions by individual units of the Red Army." (Do not name the branches of the service, nor the units, nor the names of any persons involved!) True, they hadn't done any of this; but they had also intended (though they hadn't done that either) to organize within some central army institution a cell of financiers and former officers of the White armies. (Ah, the White Army? Write it down! Start making arrests! ) And cells of anti-Soviet students. (Students? Write it down! Start making arrests!)

(Incidentally, don't push things too far. We wouldn't want the workers to get despondent and begin to feel that everything is falling apart, that the Soviet government has been caught nap- ping. And so they also threw a good deal of light on that side of it: that they had intended to do a lot and had accomplished very little, that not one industry had suffered serious losses!)

But why didn't the Intervention take place anyway? For various complex reasons. Either because Poincaré hadn't been elected in France, or else because our émigré industrialists decided that their former enterprises had not yet been sufficiently restored by the Bolsheviks—let the Bolsheviks do more. And then, too, they couldn't seem to come to terms with Poland and Rumania.

So, all right, there hadn't been any intervention, but there was, at least, a Promparty! Do you hear the tramp of marching feet? Do you hear the murmur of the working masses: "Death! Death! Death!"? And the marchers were "those who in the event of war would have to atone with their deaths, and deprivations and sufferings, for the work of these men."

(And it was as if he had looked into a crystal ball: it was in- deed with their deaths, and deprivations and sufferings, that those trusting demonstrators would atone in 1941 for the work . . . of these men! But where is your finger pointing, prosecutor? At whom is your finger pointing?)

So then—why was it the Industrial Party! Why a party and not an Engineering-Technical Center? We are accustomed to having a Center!

Yes, there was a Center too. But they had decided to reorganize themselves into a party. It was more respectable. That way it would be easier to fight over cabinet posts in the future govern- ment. It would "mobilize the engineering-technical masses for the struggle for power." And whom would they be struggling against? Other parties, of course. Against the Working Peasants Party—the TKP—in the first place, for after all they had 200,000 members! Against the Menshevik Party in the second place! And as for a Center, those three parties together were to have con- stituted a United Center. But the GPU had destroyed them. "And it's a good thing they destroyed us." (All the defendants were glad!)

(And it was flattering to Stalin to annihilate three more parties. Would there have been any glory, indeed, in merely adding another three "Centers" to his list?)

And having a party instead of a Center meant having another Central Committee—yes, the Promparty's own Central Com- mittee! True, there had not been any party conferences, nor had there been any elections, not even one. Whoever wanted to be on the Central Committee just joined up—five people all told. They all made way for one another, and they all yielded the post of chairman to one another too. There were no meetings— either of the Central Committee (no one else would remember this, but Ramzin would remember it very well indeed, and he would name names) or of the groups from various branches of industry. There seemed even to be some dearth of members. As Charnovsky said, "There never was any formal organization of a Promparty." And how many members had there been? Larichev: "A count of members would have been difficult; the exact composition was unknown." And how had they carried out their wrecking? How had directives been communicated? Well, it was just a matter of whoever met whomever in some particular institution—directives were passed on orally. From then on everyone would carry out his own wrecking on his own conscience. (Well, now, Ramzin confidently named two thou- sand members. And whenever he named two, they arrested five. According to the documents in the trial, there were altogether thirty to forty thousand engineers throughout the U.S.S.R. That meant they would arrest every seventh one, and terrify the other six.) And what about contacts with the Working Peasants Party? Well, they might meet in the State Planning Commission, or else in the Supreme Council of the Economy, and "plan systematic acts against village Communists."

Where have we seen all this before? Aha! In Aida. They are seeing Radames off on his campaign, and the orchestra is thun- dering, and eight warriors are standing there in helmets and with spears—and two thousand more are painted on the backdrop.

That's your Promparty.

But that's all right. It works. The show goes on! (Today it is quite impossible to believe just how threatening and serious it all looked at the time.) And it is hammered in by repetition, and every individual episode is gone over several times. And be- cause of this the awful visions multiply. And, in addition, so that things won't become too bland, the defendants suddenly "forget" something terribly unimportant, or else they "try to renounce testimony"—and right then and there "they pin them down with cross-questioning," and it all winds up being as lively as the Moscow Art Theatre.

But Krylenko pressed too hard. On the one hand he planned to disembowel the Promparty—to disclose its social basis. That was a question of class, and his analysis couldn't go wrong. But Krylenko abandoned the Stanislavsky method, didn't assign the roles, relied on improvisation. He let everyone tell his own story of his own life, and what his relationship to the Revolution had been, and how he was led to participate in wrecking.

And, in one fell swoop, that thoughtless insertion, that human picture, spoiled all five acts.

The first thing that we learn to our astonishment is that all eight of these big shots of the bourgeois intelligentsia came from poor families: the son of a peasant; one of the many children of a clerk; the son of an artisan; the son of a rural schoolteacher; the son of a peddler. At school, they were all impoverished and earned the money for their education themselves, from the ages of twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. Some gave lessons, and some worked on locomotives. And here was what was monstrous: no one barred their way to an education! They all completed the courses in high school and in higher technological institutions, and they became important and famous professors. (How could that have been? They always told us that under Tsarism only the children of landowners and capitalists . . . Those calendars cer- tainly couldn't have been lying! )

And here and now, in the Soviet period, engineers were in a very difficult position. It was almost impossible for them to provide their children with a higher education (after all, the children of the intelligentsia had the lowest priority, remember! ). The court didn't argue, nor did Krylenko. (And the defendants themselves hastened to qualify what they had said, asserting that, against the background of the general and over-all victories, this, of course, was unimportant.)

Here we begin to distinguish bit by bit among the defendants, who, up to this point, had talked very much like one another. Their age differential also divided them with respect to probity. Those close to sixty and older made statements that aroused a friendly, sympathetic reaction. But forty-three-year-old Ramzin and Larichev, and thirty-nine-year-old Ochkin (the same one who had denounced Glavtop—the Main Fuels Committee—in 1921), were glib and shameless. And all the major testimony about the Promparty and intervention comes from them. Ramzin was the kind of person (as a result of his early and extraordinary successes) who was shunned by the entire engineering profession, and he endured it. At the trial he caught Krylenko's hints on the wing and volunteered precise statements. All the charges were founded on Ramzin's recollections. He possessed such self-control and force that he might very well have conducted plenipotentiary talks in Paris about intervention (on assignment from the GPU, obviously). Ochkin, too, was a fast climber: at twenty-nine he had already possessed "the unlimited trust of the Council of Labor and Defense and the Council of People's Commissars."

One couldn't say the same about sixty-two-year-old Professor Charnovsky: Anonymous students had persecuted him in the wall newspapers. After twenty-three years of lecturing, he had been summoned to a general students' meeting to "give an account of his work." He hadn't gone.

And in 1921 Professor Kalinnikov had headed an open struggle against the Soviet government—specifically a professors' strike. What it amounted to was this: Back in the days of the Stolypin repression, the Moscow Higher Technical School had won academic autonomy (including the right to fill important posts, elect a rector, etc.). In 1921 the professors in this school had re-elected Kalinnikov to a new term as rector, but the People's Commissariat didn't want him there and had designated its own candidate. However, the professors went on strike and were supported by the students—at that time there were no truly proletarian students—and Kalinnikov was rector for a whole year despite the wishes of the Soviet government. (It was only in 1922 that they had wrung the neck of that autonomy, and even then, in all probability, not without arrests.)

Fedotov was sixty-six years old and he had been a factory engineer eleven years longer than the whole life span of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party—from which the Soviet Communist Party had sprung. He had worked at all the spinning mills and textile factories in Russia. (How hateful such people are, and how desirable it is to get rid of them as quickly as possible!) In 1905 he had left his position as a director of the Morozov textile firm and the high salary which went with it because he preferred to attend the "Red Funerals" which fol- lowed the caskets of the workers killed by the Cossacks. And now he was ill, had poor eyesight, and was too weak to leave home at night even to go to the theater.

And such people organized intervention? And economic ruin? Charnovsky had not had any free evenings for many years be- cause he had been so busy with his teaching and with developing new sciences—such as the science of the organization of produc- tion and the scientific principles of rationalization. I recall from my own childhood the engineering professors of those years, and that's exactly what they were like. Their evenings were given up to their students at all levels, and they didn't get home to their families until 11 P.M. After all, at the beginning of the Five-Year Plan there were only thirty thousand of them for the whole country. They were all strained to the breaking point.

And it was these people who were supposed to have con- trived a crisis, to have spied in exchange for handouts?

Ramzin uttered just one honest phrase during the whole trial: "The path of wrecking is alien to the inner structure of engineer- ing."

Throughout the trial Krylenko forced the defendants to con- cede apologetically that they were "scarcely conversant" with or were "illiterate" in politics. After all, politics is much more diffi- cult and much loftier than some kind of metallurgy or turbine design. In politics your head won't help you, nor will your educa- tion. Come on! Answer me! What was your attitude toward the October Revolution when it happened? Skeptical. In other words, immediately hostile. Why? Why? Why?

Krylenko hounded them with his theoretical questions—and as a result of simple human slips of the tongue inconsistent with their assigned roles, the nucleus of the truth is disclosed to us— as to what really had taken place and from what the entire bubble had been blown.

What the engineers had first seen in the October coup d'état was ruin. (And for three years there had truly been ruin and nothing else.) Beyond that, they had seen the loss of even the most elementary freedoms. (And these freedoms never returned.) How, then, could engineers not have wanted a democratic repub- lic? How could engineers accept the dictatorship of the workers, the dictatorship of their subordinates in industry, so little skilled or trained and comprehending neither the physical nor the eco- nomic laws of production, but now occupying the top positions, from which they supervised the engineers? Why shouldn't the engineers have considered it more natural for the structure of society to be headed by those who could intelligently direct its activity? (And, excepting only the question of the moral leader- ship of society, is not this precisely where all social cybernetics is leading today? Is it not true that professional politicians are boils on the neck of society that prevent it from turning its head and moving its arms?) And why shouldn't engineers have politi- cal views? After all, politics is not even a science, but is an em- pirical area not susceptible to description by any mathematical apparatus; furthermore, it is an area subject to human egotism and blind passion. (Even in the trial Charnovsky speaks out: "Politics must, nonetheless, be guided to some degree by the findings of technology.")

The wild pressures of War Communism could only sicken the engineers. An engineer cannot participate in irrationality, and until 1920 the majority of them did nothing, even though they were barbarically impoverished. When NEP—the New Eco- nomic Policy—got under way, the engineers willingly went back to work. They accepted NEP as an indication that the govern- ment had come to its senses. But, alas, conditions were not what they had been. The engineers were looked on as a socially sus- picious element that did not even have the right to provide an education for its own children. Engineers were paid immeasur- ably low salaries in proportion to their contribution to produc- tion. But while their superiors demanded successes in production from them, and discipline, they were deprived of the authority to impose this discipline. Any worker could not only refuse to carry out the instructions of an engineer, but could insult and even strike him and go unpunished—and as a representative of the ruling class the worker was always right in such a case.

Krylenko objects: "Do you remember the Oldenborger trial?" (In other words, how we, so to speak, defended him.)

Fedotov: "Yes. He had to lose his life in order to attract some attention to the predicament of the engineer."

Krylenko (disappointed): "Well, that was not how the matter was put."

Fedotov: "He died and he was not the only one to die. He died voluntarily, and many others were killed." Krylenko was silent. That meant it was true. (Leaf through the Oldenborger trial again, and just imagine the persecution. And with the additional final line: "Many others were killed.")

So it was that the engineer was to blame for everything, even when he had done nothing wrong. But if he actually had made a real mistake, and after all he was a human being, he would be torn to pieces unless his colleagues could manage to cover things up. For would they value honesty? So the engineers then were forced at times to lie to the Party leadership?

To restore their authority and prestige, the engineers really had to unite among themselves and help each other out. They were all in danger. But they didn't need any kind of conference, any membership cards, to achieve such unity. Like every kind of mutual understanding between intelligent and clear-thinking people, it was attained by a few quiet, even accidental words; no kind of voting was called for. Only narrow minds need resolu- tions and the Party stick. (And this was something Stalin could never understand, nor could the interrogators, nor their whole crowd. They had never had any experience of human relation- ships of that kind. They had never seen anything like that in Party history!) In any case, that sort of unity had long existed among Russian engineers in their big illiterate nation of petty tyrants. It had already been tested for several decades. But now a new government had discovered it and become alarmed.

Then came 1927. And the rationality of the NEP period went up in smoke. And it turned out that the entire NEP was merely a cynical deceit. Extravagantly unrealistic projections of a super- industrial forward leap had been announced; impossible plans and tasks had been assigned. In those conditions, what was there for the collective engineering intelligence to do—the engineering leadership of the State Planning Commission and the Supreme Council of the Economy? To submit to insanity? To stay on the sidelines? It would have cost them nothing. One can write any figures one pleases on a piece of paper. But "our comrades, our colleagues in actual production, will not be able to fulfill these assignments." And that meant it was necessary to try to intro- duce some moderation into these plans, to bring them under the control of reason, to eliminate entirely the most outrageous assignments. To create, so to speak, their own State Planning Commission of engineers in order to correct the stupidities of the leaders. And the most amusing thing was that this was in their interests—the interests of the leaders—too. And in the interests of all industry and of all the people, since ruinous decisions could be avoided, and squandered, scattered millions could be picked up from the ground. To defend quality—"the heart of technology"—amid the general uproar about quantity, planning, and overplanning. And to indoctrinate students with this spirit.

That's what it was, the thin, delicate fabric of the truth. That is what it really was.

But to utter such thoughts aloud in 1930 meant being shot.

And yet it was still too little and too invisible to arouse the wrath of the mob.

It was therefore necessary to reprocess the silent and redeem- ing collusion of the engineers into crude wrecking and inter- vention.

Thus, in the picture they substituted, we nonetheless caught a fleshless—and fruitless—vision of the truth. The work of the stage director began to fall apart. Fedotov had already blurted out something about sleepless nights ( ! ) during the eight months of his imprisonment; and about some important official of the GPU who had recently shaken his hand (?) (so there must have been a deal: you play your roles, and the GPU will carry out its promises?). And even the witnesses, though their role was in- comparably less important, began to get confused.

Krylenko: "Did you participate in this group?"

Witness Kirpotenko: "Two or three times, when questions of intervention were being considered."

And that was just what was needed!

Krylenko (encouragingly): "Go on."

Kirpotenko (a pause): "Other than that nothing is known."

Krylenko urges him on, tries to give him his cue again.

Kirpotenko (stupidly): "Other than intervention nothing is known to me."

Then, when there was an actual confrontation with Kupri- yanov, the facts no longed jibed. Krylenko got angry, and he shouted at the inept prisoners:

"Then you just have to fix things so you come up with the same answers."

And in the recess, behind the scenes, everything was once more brought up to snuff. All the defendants were once again nervously awaiting their cues. And Krylenko prompted all eight of them at once: the émigré industrialists had published an article abroad to the effect that they had held no talks at all with Ramzin and Larichev and knew nothing whatever about any Promparty, and that the testimony of the witnesses had in all likelihood been forced from them by torture. Well, what are you going to say to that?

Good Lord! How outraged the defendants were! They clamored for the floor without waiting their turns. What had become of that weary calm with which they had humiliated themselves and their colleagues for seven days? Boiling indigna- tion at those émigrés burst from them. They demanded permis- sion to send a written declaration to the newspapers in defense of GPU methods. (Now, wasn't that an embellishment? Wasn't that a jewel?) And Ramzin declared: "Our presence here is sufficient proof that we were not subjected to tortures and tor- ments!" (And what, pray tell, would be the use of tortures that made it impossible for the defendants to appear in court!) And Fedotov: "Imprisonment did me good and not only me. ... I even feel better in prison than in freedom." And Ochkin: "Me too. I feel better too!"

It was out of sheer generosity that Krylenko and Vyshinsky declined their offer of a collective declaration. They certainly would have written one! And they certainly would have signed it!

But maybe someone had some lingering suspicions still? Well, in that case, Comrade Krylenko vouchsafed them a flash of his brilliant logic. "If we should admit even for one second that these people were telling untruths, then why were they arrested and why did they all at once start babbling their heads off?"

Now that is the power of logic for you! For a thousand years prosecutors and accusers had never even imagined that the fact of arrest might in itself be a proof of guilt. If the defendants were innocent, then why had they been arrested? And once they had been arrested, that meant they were guilty!

And, indeed, why had they started babbling away?

"The question of torture we discard! . . . But let us put the question psychologically: Why did they confess? And I ask you: What else could they have done?"

Well, how true! How psychological! If you ever served time in that institution, just recollect: what else was there to do?

(Ivanov-Razumnik wrote that in 1938 he was imprisoned in the same cell in the Butyrki as Krylenko, and that Krylenko's place in the cell was under the board bunks. I can picture that vividly—since I have crawled there myself. The bunks were so low that the only way one could crawl along the dirty asphalt floor was flat on one's stomach, but newcomers could never adapt and would try to crawl on all fours. They would manage to get their heads under, but their rear ends would be left stick- ing out. And it is my opinion that the supreme prosecutor had a particularly difficult time adapting, and I imagine that his rear end, not yet grown thin, used to stick out there for the greater glory of Soviet justice. Sinful person that I am, I visualize with malice that rear end sticking out there, and through the whole long description of these trials it somehow gives me solace. )

Yes, the prosecutor expounded, continuing along the same line, if all this about tortures was true, then it was impossible to understand what could have induced all the defendants to con- fess, unanimously and in chorus, without any arguments and deviations. Just where could such colossal collusion have been carried out? After all, they had no chance to communicate with each other during the interrogation period.

(Several pages further along, a witness who survived will tell us where.)

Now it is not for me to tell the reader but for the reader to tell me just what the notorious "riddle of the Moscow trials of the thirties" consisted of. At first people were astounded at the Promparty trial, and then that riddle was transferred to the trials of the Party leaders.

After all, they didn't put on trial in open court the two thousand who had been dragged into it, or even two or three hundred, but only eight people. It is not as hard as all that to direct a chorus of eight. And as for his choices, Krylenko was free to choose from thousands over a period of two years. Pal- chinsky had not been broken, but had been shot—and posthum- ously named "the leader of the Promparty," which is what he was called in the testimony, even though no word of his survived.

And they had hoped to beat what they wanted out of Khrenni- kov, and Khrennikov didn't yield to them either; therefore he appeared just once in the record—in a footnote in small type: "Khrennikov died during the course of his interrogation." The small type you are using is for fools, but we at least know, and we will write it in double-sized letters: TORTURED TO DEATH DURING INTERROGATION. He, too, was posthum- ously named a leader of the Promparty, but there wasn't one least little fact from him, not one tiny piece of testimony in the general chorus, not one. Because he did not give even one! (And then all at once Ramzin appeared! He was a find. What energy and what a grasp! And he was ready to do anything in order to live! And what talent! He had been arrested only at the end of the summer, just before the trial really—and he not only man- aged to enter fully into his role, but it seemed as though he had written the whole play. He had absorbed a whole mountain of interrelated material, and he could serve it up spick-and-span, any name at all, any fact at all. And sometimes he manifested the languid ornateness of a bigwig scientist: "The activity of the Promparty was so widespread that even in the course of an eleven-day trial there is no opportunity to disclose it in total detail.") (In other words, go on and look for it, look further!) "I am firmly convinced that a small anti-Soviet stratum still exists in engineering circles." (Go get 'em, go get 'em, grab some more!) And how capable he was: he knew that it was a riddle, and that a riddle must be given an artistic explanation. And, unfeeling as a stick of wood, he found then and there within himself "the traits of the Russian criminal, for whom purification lay in public recantation before all the people."

[Ramzin has been undeservedly neglected in Russian memories. In my view, he fully deserved to become the prototype of a cynical and dazzling traitor. The Bengal fire of betrayal! He wasn't the only such villain of this epoch, but he was certainly a prominent case.]

So what it comes down to is that all Krylenko and the GPU had to do was select the right people. But the risk was small. Goods spoiled in interrogation could always be sent off to the grave. And whoever managed to get through both the frying pan and the fire could always be given medical treatment and be fattened up, and put on public trial!

So then where is the riddle? How they were worked over? Very simply: Do you want to live? (And even those who don't care about themselves care about their children or grandchildren.) Do you understand that it takes absolutely no effort to have you shot, without your ever leaving the courtyards of the GPU? (And there was no doubt whatever about that. Whoever hadn't yet learned it would be given a course in being ground down by the Lubyanka.) But it is useful both for you and for us to have you act out a certain drama, the text for which you, as specialists, are going to write yourselves, and we, as prosecutors, are going to learn by heart . . . and we will try to remember the technical terms. (Krylenko sometimes made mistakes during the trial. He said "freight car axle" instead of "locomotive axle.") It will be unpleasant to perform and you will feel ashamed, but you just have to suffer through it. After all, it is better to live. And what assurance have we that you won't shoot us afterward? Why should we take vengeance on you? You are excellent specialists and you have not committed any crimes and we value you. Look at how many wrecking trials there have been; you'll see that no one who behaved has been shot. (Mercy for the defendants who cooperated in one trial was an important prerequisite for the success of the next. And hope was transmitted via this chain right up to Zinoviev and Kamenev themselves.) But the under- standing is that you have to carry out all our conditions to the very last! The trial must work for the good of socialist society.

And the defendants would fulfill all the conditions.

Thus they served up all the subtlety of engineers' intellectual opposition as dirty wrecking on a level low enough to be com- prehensible to the last illiterate in the country. (But they had not yet descended to the level of ground glass in the food of the workers. The prosecutors had not yet thought that one up.)

A further theme was ideological motivation. Had they begun to wreck? It was the result of a hostile motivation. And now they jointly collaborated in confessing? It was once again the result of ideological motivation, for they had been converted (in prison) by the blazing blast-furnace face of the third year of the Five-Year Plan! Although in their last words they begged for their lives, that wasn't the main thing for them. (Fedotov: "There is no forgiveness for us. The prosecutor is right!") The main thing for these strange defendants right at that moment, on the threshold of death, was to convince the people and the whole world of the infallibility and farsightedness of the Soviet govern- ment. Ramzin, in particular, glorified the "revolutionary con- sciousness of the proletarian masses and their leaders," who had been "able to find immeasurably more dependable paths of economic policy" than the scientists, and who had calculated the tempos of economic growth rate far more correctly. And then: "I had come to understand it was necessary to make a jump ahead, and that it was necessary to make a leap forward, that it was necessary to capture by storm," etc., etc.

[Protsess Prompartii, p. 504. And that is how they were talking here in the Soviet Union, in our own country, in 1930, when Mao Tse-tung was still a stripling.]

And Larichev declared: "The Soviet Union is invincible against the weakening capitalist world." And Kalinnikov: "The dictatorship of the pro- letariat is an inevitable necessity." And further: "The interests of the people and the interests of the Soviet government merge into one purposeful whole." Yes, and in addition, in the country- side "the general line of the Party, the destruction of the kulaks, is correct." They had time, while awaiting execution, to deliver themselves of judgments about everything. And the repenting intellectuals even had enough voice for such a prophecy as this: "In proportion to the development of society, individual life is going to become more circumscribed. . . . Collective will is the highest form."

Thus it was that with eight-horse traction all the goals of the trial were attained:

1. All the shortages in the country, including famine, cold, lack of clothing, chaos, and obvious stupidities, were blamed on the engineer-wreckers.

2. The people were terrified by the threat of imminent inter- vention from abroad and therefore prepared for new sacrifices.

3. Leftist circles in the West were warned of the intrigues of their governments.

4. The solidarity of the engineers was destroyed; all the in- telligentsia was given a good scare and left divided within itself. And so that there should be no doubt about it, this purpose of the trial was once more clearly proclaimed by Ramzin:

"I would like to see that, in consequence of the present trial of the Promparty, the dark and shameful past of the entire intelli- gentsia will be buried once and for all."29

Larichev joined in: "This caste must be destroyed! . . . There is not and there cannot be loyalty among engineers!"30 And Och- kin too: The intelligentsia "is some kind of mush. As the state accuser has said, it has no backbone, and this constitutes un- conditional spinelessness. . . . How immeasurably superior is the sensitivity of the proletariat."

[Ibid., p. 509. For some reason, the main thing about the proletariat is always, believe it or not, sensitivity. Always via the nostrils.]

So now just why should such diligent collaborators be shot?

And that was the way the history of our intelligentsia has been written for decades—from the anathema of 1920 (the reader will remember: "not the brains of the nation, but shit," and "the ally of the black generals," and "the hired agent of imperialism") right up to the anathema of 1930.

So should anyone be surprised that the word "intelligentsia" got established here in Russia as a term of abuse.

That is how the public trials were manufactured. Stalin's searching mind had once and for all attained its ideal. (Those blunderheads Hitler and Goebbels would come to envy it and rush into their shameful failure with the burning of the Reichstag. )

The standard had been set, and now it could be retained perennially and performed over again every season—according to the wishes of the Chief Producer. And in fact the Chief wanted another within three months. The rehearsal time was very short, but that was all right. Come and see the show! Only in our theater! A premiere.

M. The Case of the All-Union Bureau of the Mensheviks— March 1-9, 1931

The case was heard by a Special Assize of the Supreme Court, the presiding judge in this case, for some reason, being N. M. Shvernik. Otherwise everyone was in his proper place—Antonov- Saratovsky, Krylenko, and his assistant Roginsky. The pro- ducers were sure of themselves. For after all, the subject wasn't technical but was Party material, ordinary stuff. So they brought fourteen defendants onto the stage.

And it all went off not just smoothly but brilliantly.

I was twelve at the time. For three years I had been attentively reading everything about politics on the enormous pages of Izvestiya. I read the stenographic records of these two trials line by line. In the Promparty case, I had already felt, in my boyish heart, superfluity, falsehood, fabrication, but at least there were spectacular stage sets—universal intervention, the paralysis of all industry, the distribution of ministerial portfolios! In the trial of the Mensheviks, all the same stage sets were brought out, but they were more pallid. And the actors spoke their lines with- out enthusiasm. And the whole performance was a yawning bore, an inept, tired repetition. (Could it be that Stalin felt this, too, through his rhinoceros hide? How else can one explain his call- ing off the case of the Working Peasants Party after it had already been prepared, or why there were no more trials for several years?)

It would be boring to base our interpretations once again on the stenographic record. In any case, I have fresher evidence from one of the principal defendants in this case—Mikhail Petrovich Yakubovich. At the present moment, his petition for rehabilitation, exposing all the dirty work which went on, has filtered through to samizdat, our savior, and people are reading it just as it happened.

[He was refused rehabilitation. After all, the case in which he was tried had entered the golden tables of our history. After all, one cannot take back even one stone, because the entire building might collapse. Thus it is that M.P.Y. still has his conviction on his record. However, for his insolation, he has been granted a personal pension for his revolutionary activity! What monstrosities exist in our country.]

His story offers material proof and ex- planation of the whole chain of Moscow trials of the thirties.

How was the nonexistent "Union Bureau" created? The GPU had been given an assignment: they had been told to prove that the Mensheviks had adroitly wormed their way into—and seized —many important government jobs for counterrevolutionary purposes. The genuine situation did not jibe with this plan. There were no real Mensheviks in important posts. But then there were no real Mensheviks on trial either. (True, they say V. K. Ikov actually was a member of the quiet, do-nothing illegal Moscow Bureau of the Mensheviks—but they didn't know that at the trial. He was processed in the second echelon and received a mere eight.) The GPU had its own design: two from the Supreme Council of the Economy, two from the People's Commissariat of Trade, two from the State Bank, one from the Central Union of Consumer Cooperatives, one from the State Planning Com- mission. (What a boring and unoriginal plan! Back in 1920, they had ordered, in the matter of the "Tactical Center," that it include two from the Union of Rebirth, two from the Council of Public Figures, two from this and that, etc.) Therefore they picked the individuals who suited them on the basis of their positions. And whether they were Mensheviks or not depended on whether one believed rumors. Some who got caught this way were not Mensheviks at all, but directives had been given to consider them Mensheviks. The genuine political views of those accused did not interest the GPU in the least. Not all the de- fendants even knew each other. And they raked in Menshevik witnesses, too, wherever they could find them.

[One was Kuzma A. Gvozdev, a man whose fate was bitter. This was the same Gvozdev who had been chairman of the workers' group in the War Industry Committee, and whom the Tsarist government, in an excess of stupidity, had arrested in 1916, and the February Revolution had made Min- ister of Labor. Gvozdev became one of the martyr long-termers of Gulag. I do not know how many years he had been imprisoned before 1930, but from 1930 on he was in prison continuously, and my friends knew him in .Spassk Camp, in Kazakhstan, as late as 1952.]

(All the wit- nesses, without exception, were later given prison terms too.) Ramzin testified prolifically and obligingly at this trial also. But the GPU pinned its hopes on the principal defendant, Vladimir Gustavovich Groman (with the idea that he would help work up this case and be amnestied in return), and on the provocateur Petunin. (I am basing all this on Yakubovich's report.)

Let us now introduce M. P. Yakubovich. He had begun his revolutionary activity so early that he had not even finished the gymnasium. In March, 1917, he was already Chairman of the Smolensk Soviet. Impelled by the strength of his convictions, which continued to lead him on, he became a strong and success- ful orator. At the Congress of the Western Front, he impetuously called those journalists who were demanding that the war con- tinue enemies of the people. And this was in April, 1917. He was nearly hauled from the rostrum, and he apologized, but there- after in his speech he maneuvered so adroitly and so won over his listeners that at the end he called them enemies of the people again, and this time to stormy applause. He was elected to the delegation sent to the Petrograd Soviet, and hardly had he arrived there than—with the informality of those days—he was named to the Military Commission of the Petrograd Soviet. There he exerted a strong influence on the appointment of army com- missars, [He is not to be confused with Colonel Yakubovich of the General Staff, who, at the same time and the same meetings, represented the War Ministry.] and in the end he became an army commissar on the Southwestern Front and personally arrested Denikin in Vinnitsa (after the Kornilov revolt), and regretted very much indeed (during the trial as well) that he had not shot him on the spot.

Clear-eyed, always sincere, and always completely absorbed in his own ideas—whether they were right or wrong—he was counted as—and was—one of the younger members of the Men- shevik Party. This did not prevent him, however, from presenting his own projects to the Menshevik leadership with boldness and passion, such as, in the spring of 1917, proposing the formation of a Social Democratic government, or, in 1919, recommending that the Mensheviks enter the Comintern. (Dan and the others invariably rejected all his plans and their variations, and quite condescendingly, for that matter.) In July, 1917, he was very pained by the action of the socialist Petrograd Soviet in approv- ing the Provisional Government's calling up army units for use against other socialists, considering it a fatal error even though the other socialists were using armed force. Hardly had the Octo- ber coup taken place than Yakubovich proposed to his party that it should support the Bolsheviks wholeheartedly and work to improve the state structure they were creating. In the upshot, he was finally ostracized by Martov, and by 1920 he had left the ranks of the Mensheviks once and for all, convinced that he could not get them to follow the Bolsheviks' path.

I have gone into all this detail to make it quite clear that throughout the Revolution Yakubovich had been not a Men- shevik but a Bolshevik, and one who was entirely sincere and disinterested. In 1920 he was still one of the Smolensk food- supply commissars, and the only one of them who was not a Bolshevik. He was even honored by the People's Commissariat of Food Supply as the best. (He claims that he got along without reprisals against the peasantry, but I do not know whether or not this is true. At his trial he did, however, recall that he had organized "antispeculation" detachments.) In the twenties he had edited the Torgovaya Gazeta (The Trade Gazette) and had occupied other important posts. He had been arrested in 1930 when just such Mensheviks as he, "who had wormed their way in," were to be rounded up in accordance with the GPU plans.

He had immediately been called in for questioning by Krylen- ko, who, earlier and always, as the reader already knows, was organizing the chaos of the preliminary inquiry into efficient interrogation. It turned out that they knew one another very well, for in the years between the first trials Krylenko had gone to that very Smolensk Province to improve food-requisition work. And here is what Krylenko now said:

"Mikhail Petrovich, I am going to talk to you frankly: I con- sider you a Communist! [His words encouraged Yakubovich and raised his spirits greatly.] I have no doubt of your innocence. But it is our Party duty, yours and mine, to carry out this trial. [Krylenko had gotten his orders from Stalin, and Yakubovich was all atremble for the sake of the cause, like a zealous horse rushing into the horse collar.] I beg you to help me in every possible way, and to assist the interrogation. And in case of un- foreseen difficulties during the trial, at the most difficult moments, I will ask the chairman of the court to give you the floor." ! ! ! !

And Yakubovich promised. Conscious of his duty, he promised. Indeed, the Soviet government had never before given him such a responsible assignment.

And thus there was not the slightest need even to touch Yakubovich during the interrogation. But that was too subtle for the GPU. Like everyone else, Yakubovich was handed over to the butcher-interrogators, and they gave him the full treatment —the freezing punishment cell, the hot box, beating his genitals. They tortured him so intensively that Yakubovich and his fellow defendant Abram Ginzburg opened their veins in desperation. After they had received medical attention, they were no longer tortured and beaten. Instead, the only thing to which they were subjected was two weeks of sleeplessness. (Yakubovich says: "Just to be allowed to sleep! Neither conscience nor honor matters any longer.") And then they were confronted with others who had already given in and who urged them to "confess" ... to utter nonsense. And the interrogator himself, Aleksei Alekseye- vich Nasedkin, said: "I know, I know, none of this actually happened! But they insist on it!"

On one occasion when Yakubovich had been summoned to interrogation, he found there a prisoner who had been tortured. The interrogator smiled ironically: "Moisei Isayevich Teitel- baum begs you to take him into your anti-Soviet organization. You can speak as freely as you please. I am going out for a while." He went out. Teitelbaum really did beg: "Comrade Yakubovich! I beg you, please take me into your Union Bureau of Mensheviks! They are accusing me of taking 'bribes from foreign firms' and threatening me with execution. But I would rather die a counterrevolutionary than a common criminal!" (It was likelier that they had promised him that as a counter- revolutionary he wouldn't be shot! And he wasn't wrong either: they gave him a juvenile prison term, a "fiver.") The GPU was so short on Mensheviks they had to recruit defendants from volunteers! (And, after all, Teitelbaum was being groomed for an important role—communication with the Mensheviks abroad and with the Second International! But they honorably kept the deal they had made with him—a "fiver.") And with the inter- rogator's approval Yakubovich accepted Teitelbaum as a mem- ber of the Union Bureau.

Several days before the trial began, the first organizing session of the Union Bureau of the Mensheviks convened in the office of the senior interrogator, Dmitri Matveyevich Dmitriyev—so as to coordinate things, and so that each should understand his own role better. (That's how the Central Committee of the Prom- party convened too! That's where the defendants "could have met"—to answer Krylenko's earlier leading question.) But such a mountain of falsehood had been piled up that it was too much to absorb in one session and the participants got things mixed up, couldn't master it in one rehearsal, and were called together a second time.

What did Yakubovich feel as he went into the trial? Should he not, in revenge for all the tortures to which he had been sub- jected, for all the falsehood shoved into his breast, create a sensational scandal and startle the world? But still:

1. To do so would be to stab the Soviet government in the back! It would be to negate his entire purpose in life, everything he had lived for, the whole path he had taken to extricate himself from mistaken Menshevism and become a right-minded Bol- shevik.

2. After a scandal like that they wouldn't just allow him to die; they wouldn't just shoot him; they would torture him again, but this time out of vengeance, and drive him insane. But his body had already been exhausted by tortures. Where could he find the moral strength to endure new ones? Where could he unearth the required heroism?

(I wrote down his arguments as his heated words rang out— this being a most extraordinary chance to get, so to speak, a "posthumous" explanation from a participant in such a trial. And I find that it is altogether as though Bukharin or Rykov were explaining the reasons for their own mysterious submis- siveness at their trials. Theirs were the same sincerity and honesty, the same devotion to the Party, the same human weak- ness, the same lack of the moral strength needed to fight back, because they had no individual position. )

And at the trial Yakubovich not only repeated obediently all the gray mass of lies which constituted the upper limit of Stalin's imagination—and the imagination of his apprentices and his tormented defendants. But he also played out his inspired role, as he had promised Krylenko.

The so-called Foreign Delegation of the Mensheviks—in es- sence the entire top level of their Central Committee—formally dissociated themselves from the defendants in a statement pub- lished in Vorwärts. They declared there that the trial was a shameful travesty, built on the testimony of provocateurs and unfortunate defendants forced into it by terror; that the over- whelming majority of the defendants had left the Party more than ten years earlier and had never returned; and that absurdly large sums of money were referred to at the trial, representing more than the party had ever disposed of.

And Krylenko, having read the article, asked Shvernik to permit the defendants to reply—the same kind of pulling-all- strings-at-once he had resorted to at the trial of the Promparty. They all spoke up, and they all defended the methods of the GPU against the Menshevik Central Committee.

But what does Yakubovich remember today about his "reply" and his last speech? He recalls that he not only spoke as befitted his promise to Krylenko, but that instead of simply getting to his feet, he was seized and lifted up—like a chip on a wave—by a surge of anger and oratory. Anger against whom? After having learned what torture meant, and attempting suicide and coming close to death more than once, he was at this point in a real, honest-to-God rage. But not at the prosecutor or the GPU! Oh, no! At the Foreign Delegation of the Mensheviks!!! Now there's a psychological switch for you! There they sat, unscrupulous and smug, in security and comfort—for even the poverty of émigré life was, of course, comfort in comparison with the Lubyanka. And how could they refuse to pity those who were on trial, their torture and suffering? How could they so impudently dissociate themselves from them and deliver these unfortunates over to their fate? (The reply Yakubovich delivered was powerful, and the people who had cooked up the trial were delighted.)

Even when he was describing this in 1967, Yakubovich shook with rage at the Foreign Delegation, at their betrayal, their repudiation, their treason to the socialist Revolution—exactly as he had reproached them in 1917.

I did not have the stenographic record of the trial at the time. Later I found it and was astonished. Yakubovich's memory—so precise in every little detail, every date, every name—had in this instance betrayed him. He had, after all, said at the trial that the Foreign Delegation, on orders from the Second International, had instructed them to carry out wrecking activities. He no longer remembered this. The foreign Mensheviks' statement was neither unscrupulous nor smug. They had indeed pitied the unfortunate victims of the trial but did point out that they had not been Mensheviks for a long time—which was quite true. What was it, then, that made Yakubovich so unalterably and sincerely angry? And exactly how could the Foreign Delegation not have con- signed the defendants to their fate?

We like to take our anger out on those who are weaker, those who cannot answer. It is a human trait. And somehow the argu- ments to prove we are right appear out of nowhere.

Krylenko said in his summation for the prosecution that Yakubovich was a fanatic advocate of counterrevolutionary ideas and demanded therefore that he be shot.

And Yakubovich that day felt a tear of gratitude roll down his cheek, and he feels it still to this day, after having dragged his way through many camps and detention prisons. Even today he is grateful to Krylenko for not humiliating him, for not in- sulting him, for not ridiculing him as a defendant, and for call- ing him correctly a fanatic advocate (even of an idea contrary to his real one) and for demanding simple, noble execution for him, that would put an end to all his sufferings! In his final statement, Yakubovich agreed with Krylenko himself: "The crimes to which I have confessed [he endowed with great sig- nificance his success in hitting on the expression 'to which I have confessed'—anyone who understood would realize that he meant 'not those which I committed'] deserve the highest measure of punishment—and I do not ask any forgiveness! I do not ask that my life be spared!" (Beside him on the defendants' bench, Gro- man got excited! "You are insane! You have to consider your comrades. You don't have the right!")

Now wasn't he a find for the prosecutor?

And can one still say the trials of 1936 to 1938 are un- explained?

Was it not through this trial that Stalin came to understand and believe that he could readily round up all his loud-mouth enemies and get them organized for just such a performance as this?

And may my compassionate reader now have mercy on me! Until now my pen sped on untrembling, my heart didn't skip a beat, and we slipped along unconcerned, because for these fifteen years we have been firmly protected either by legal revolution- ality or else by revolutionary legality. But from now on things will be painful: as the reader will recollect, as we have had ex- plained to us dozens of times, beginning with Khrushchev, "from approximately 1934, violations of Leninist norms of legality began." And how are we to enter this abyss of illegality now? How are we to drag our way along yet another bitter stretch of the road?

However, these trials which follow were, because of the fame of the defendants, a cynosure for the whole world. They did not escape the attention of the public. They were written about. They were interpreted and they will be interpreted again and again. It is for us merely to touch lightly on their riddle.

Let us make one qualification, though not a big one; the published stenographic records did not coincide completely with what was said at the trials. One writer who received an entrance pass—they were given out only to selected individuals—took running notes and subsequently discovered these differences. All the correspondents also noted the snag with Krestinsky, which made a recess necessary in order to get him back on the track of his assigned testimony. (Here is how I picture it. Before the trial a chart was set up for emergencies: in the first column was the name of the defendant; in the second, the method to be used during the recess if he should depart from his text during the open trial; in the third column, the name of the Chekist respon- sible for applying the indicated method. So if Krestinsky de- parted from his text, then who would come on the run and what that person would do had already been arranged.)

But the inaccuracies of the stenographic record do not change or lighten the picture. Dumfounded, the world watched three plays in a row, three wide-ranging and expensive dramatic pro- ductions in which the powerful leaders of the fearless Communist Party, who had turned the entire world upside down and terrified it, now marched forth like doleful, obedient goats and bleated out everything they had been ordered to, vomited all over them- selves, cringingly abased themselves and their convictions, and confessed to crimes they could not in any wise have committed.

This was unprecedented in remembered history. It was par- ticularly astonishing in contrast with the recent Leipzig trial of Dimitrov. Dimitrov had answered the Nazi judges like a roaring lion, and, immediately afterward, his comrades in Moscow, mem- bers of that same unyielding cohort which had made the whole world tremble—and the greatest of them at that, those who had been called the "Leninist guard"—came before the judges drenched in their own urine.

And even though much appears to have been clarified since then—with particular success by Arthur Koestler—the riddle continues to circulate as durably as ever.

People have speculated about a Tibetan potion that deprives a man of his will, and about the use of hypnosis. Such explana- tions must by no means be rejected: if the NKVD possessed such methods, clearly there were no moral rules to prevent resorting to them. Why not weaken or muddle the will? And it is a known fact that in the twenties some leading hypnotists gave up their careers and entered the service of the GPU. It is also reliably known that in the thirties a school for hypnotists existed in the NKVD. Kamenev's wife was allowed to visit her husband before his trial and found him not himself, his reactions retarded. (And she managed to communicate this to others before she herself was arrested.)

But why was neither Palchinsky nor Khrennikov broken by the Tibetan potion or hypnosis?

The fact is that an explanation on a higher, psychological plane is called for.

One misunderstanding in particular results from the image of these men as old revolutionaries who had not trembled in Tsarist dungeons—seasoned, tried and true, hardened, etc., fighters. But there is a plain and simple mistake here. These de- fendants were not those old revolutionaries. They had acquired that glory by inheritance from and association with the Narod- niks, the SR's, and the Anarchists. They were the ones, the bomb throwers and the conspirators, who had known hard-labor im- prisonment and real prison terms—but even they had never in their lives experienced a genuinely merciless interrogation (be- cause such a thing did not exist at all in Tsarist Russia). And these others, the Bolshevik defendants at the treason trials, had never known either interrogation or real prison terms. The Bol- sheviks had never been sentenced to special "dungeons," any Sakhalin, any special hard labor in Yakutsk. It is well known that Dzerzhinsky had the hardest time of them all, that he had spent all his life in prisons. But, according to our yardstick, he had served just a normal "tenner," just a simple "ten-ruble bill," like any ordinary collective farmer in our time. True, included in that tenner were three years in the hard-labor central prison, but that is nothing special either.

The Party leaders who were the defendants in the trials of 1936 to 1938 had, in their revolutionary pasts, known short, easy imprisonment, short periods in exile, and had never even had a whiff of hard labor. Bukharin had many petty arrests on his record, but they amounted to nothing. Apparently, he was never imprisoned anywhere for a whole year at a time, and he had just a wee bit of exile on Onega.

[All the information here comes from Volume 41 of the Granat Encyclo- pedia, in which either autobiographical or reliable biographical essays on the leaders of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) are collected.]

Kamenev, despite long years of propaganda work and travel to all the cities of Russia, spent only two years in prison and one and a half years in exile. In our time, even sixteen-year-old kids got five right off. Zinoviev, believe it or not, never spent as much as three months in prison. He never received even one sentence! In comparison with the ordinary natives of our Archipelago they were all callow youths; they didn't know what prison was like. Rykov and I. N. Smirnov had been arrested several times and had been imprisoned for five years, but somehow they went through prison very easily, and they either escaped from exile without any trouble at all or were released because of an amnesty. Until they were arrested and imprisoned in the Lubyanka, they hadn't the slightest idea what a real prison was nor what the jaws of unjust interrogation were like. (There is no basis for assuming that if Trotsky had fallen into those jaws, he would have conducted himself with any less self-abasement, or that his resistance would have proved stronger than theirs. He had had no occasion to prove it. He, too, had known only easy imprisonment, no serious interrogations, and a mere two years of exile in Ust-Kut. The terror Trotsky inspired as Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council was some- thing he acquired very cheaply, and does not at all demonstrate any true strength of character or courage. Those who have con- demned many others to be shot often wilt at the prospect of their own death. The two kinds of toughness are not connected. ) And as for Radek—he was a plain provocateur. (And he wasn't the only one in these three trials!) And Yagoda was an inveterate, habitual criminal.

(This murderer of millions simply could not imagine that his superior Murderer, up top, would not, at the last moment, stand up for him and protect him. Just as though Stalin had been sitting right there in the hall, Yagoda confidently and insistently begged him directly for mercy: "I appeal to you! For you I built two great canals!" And a witness reports that at just that moment a match flared in the shadows behind a window on the second floor of the hall, apparently behind a muslin curtain, and, while it lasted, the outline of a pipe could be seen. Whoever has been in Bakhchisarai may remember that Oriental trick. The second- floor windows in the Hall of Sessions of the State Council are covered with iron sheets pierced by small holes, and behind them is an unlit gallery. It is never possible to guess down in the hall itself whether someone is up there or not. The Khan remained invisible, and the Council always met as if in his presence. Given Stalin's out-and-out Oriental character, I can readily be- lieve that he watched the comedies in that October Hall. I cannot imagine that he would have denied himself this spectacle, this satisfaction. )

And, after all, our entire failure to understand derives from our belief in the unusual nature of these people. We do not, after all, where ordinary confessions signed by ordinary citizens are concerned, find their reasons for denouncing themselves and others so fulsomely baffling. We accept it as something we under- stand: a human being is weak; a human being gives in. But we consider Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Pyatakov, I. N. Smirnov to be supermen to begin with—and, in essence, our failure to understand is due to that fact alone.

True, the directors of this dramatic production seem to have had a harder task in selecting the performers than they'd had in the earlier trials of the engineers: in those trials they had forty barrels to pick from, so to speak, whereas here the available troupe was small. Everyone knew who the chief performers were, and the audience wanted to see them in the roles and them only.

Yet there was a choice! The most farsighted and determined of those who were doomed did not allow themselves to be arrested. They committed suicide first (Skrypnik, Tomsky, Gamarnik). It was the ones who wanted to live who allowed themselves to be arrested. And one could certainly braid a rope from the ones who wanted to live! But even among them some behaved differ- ently during the interrogations, realized what was happening, turned stubborn, and died silently but at least not shamefully. For some reason, they did not, after all, put on public trial Rudzutak, Postyshev, Yenukidze, Chubar, Kosior, and, for that matter, Krylenko himself, even though their names would have embellished the trials.

They put on trial the most compliant. A selection was made after all.

The men selected were drawn from a lower order, but, on the other hand, the mustached Producer knew each of them very well. He also knew that on the whole they were weaklings, and he knew, one by one, the particular weaknesses of each. Therein lay his dark and special talent, his main psychological bent and his life's achievement: to see people's weaknesses on the lowest plane of being.

And the man who seems, in the perspective of time, to have embodied the highest and brightest intelligence of all the dis- graced and executed leaders (and to whom Arthur Koestler ap- parently dedicated his talented inquiry) was N. I. Bukharin. Stalin saw through him, too, at that lowest stratum at which the human being unites with the earth; and Stalin held him in a long death grip, playing with him as a cat plays with a mouse, letting him go just a little, and then catching him again. Bukharin wrote every last word of our entire existing—in other words, nonexist- ent—Constitution, which is so beautiful to listen to. And he flew about up there, just below the clouds, and thought that he had outplayed Koba: that he had thrust a constitution on him that would compel him to relax the dictatorship. And at that very moment, he himself had already been caught in those jaws.

Bukharin did not like Kamenev and Zinoviev, and way back, when they had first been tried, after the murder of Kirov, he had said to people close to him: "Well, so what? That's the kind of people they were; maybe there was something to it. . . ." (That was the classic formula of the philistine in those years: "There was probably something to it. ... In our country they don't arrest people for nothing." And that was said in 1935 by the lead- ing theoretician of the Party! ) He spent the period of the second trial of Kamenev and Zinoviev, in the summer of 1936, hunting in the Tien Shan, and knew nothing about it. He came down from the mountains to Frunze—and there he read that the death sen- tence had been imposed on both men, and read the newspaper articles which made clear what annihilating testimony they had given against him. But did he hasten to stop that act of repres- sion? And did he protest to the Party that something monstrous was being done? No, all he did was send Koba a telegram asking him to postpone the execution of Kamenev and Zinoviev so that he, Bukharin, could get there to confront them and prove himself innocent.

It was too late! Koba had enough of the sworn testimony; why did he need living confrontations?

However, they still didn't arrest Bukharin for a long time. He lost his job as editor-in-chief of Izvestiya and all his other Party assignments and jobs, and he lived for half a year in his Kremlin apartment—in the Poteshny Palace of Peter the Great—as if in prison. (However, in the autumn he used to go to his dacha— and the Kremlin guards would salute him as though nothing at all had changed.) No one visited him or phoned him any longer. And all during these months he wrote endless letters: "Dear Koba! Dear Koba! Dear Koba!" And he got not one reply.

He was still trying to establish friendly contact with Stalin!

And Dear Koba, squinting, was already staging rehearsals. For many long years Koba had been holding tryouts for various roles, and he knew that Bukharchik would play his part beauti- fully. He had, after all, already renounced those of his pupils and supporters who had been arrested and exiled—they were few in number in any case—and had allowed them to be destroyed.

[The only one he defended was Yefim Tseitlin—but not for long.]

He had stood by and allowed his own line of thinking to be wiped out and pilloried before it was fully developed and born. And more recently, while he was still editor-in-chief of Izvestiya and a member of the Politburo, he had accepted as legal the execution of Kamenev and Zinoviev. Neither at the top of his lungs nor even in a whisper had he expressed any indignation over that. And yet these had all been tryouts for his own future role.

Way back in the past, when Stalin had threatened to expel him (and all the rest of them) from the Party, Bukharin (like all the rest) had renounced his views in order to remain in the Party. And that, too, had been a tryout for his role. If that was how they acted while still in freedom and still at the height of honor and power, then they could certainly be depended on to follow the script of the play faultlessly when their body, their food, and their sleep were in the hands of the Lubyanka prompters.

And what did Bukharin fear most in those months before his arrest? It is reliably known that above all he feared expulsion from the Party! Being deprived of the Party! Being left alive but outside the Party! And Dear Koba had played magnificently on this trait of his (as he had with them all) from the very moment he had himself become the Party. Bukharin (like all the rest of them) did not have his own individual point of view. They didn't have their own genuine ideology of opposition, on the strength of which they could step aside and on which they could take their stand. Before they became an opposition, Stalin de- clared them to be one, and by this move he rendered them power- less. And all their efforts were directed toward staying in the Party. And toward not harming the Party at the same time!

These added up to too many different obligations for them to be independent.

In essence, Bukharin had been allotted the starring role, and nothing was to be overlooked or abridged in the Producer's work with him, in the working of time on him, and in his own getting used to the role. Even sending him to Europe the previous win- ter to acquire manuscripts by Marx had been essential—not just superficially, for the sake of the whole network of accusations about his establishing contacts, but so that the aimless freedom of life on tour might all the more insistently demand his return to the main stage. And now, beneath black thunderclouds of accusations, came the long, the interminable state of nonarrest, of exhausting housebound lethargy, which ground down the will power of the victim even more effectively than the direct pressure of the Lubyanka. (Nor would the Lubyanka run away either— it, too, would last for a year. )

On one occasion, Bukharin was summoned by Kaganovich, who arranged a confrontation between him and Sokolnikov in the presence of high-ranking Chekists. Sokolnikov gave testimony about "the parallel Rightist Center" (parallel, in other words, to that of the Trotskyites), and about Bukharin's underground activity. Kaganovich conducted the interrogation aggressively and then ordered Sokolnikov to be taken away. And he said to Bukharin in a friendly tone: "He lies in his teeth, the whore!"

Despite that, the newspapers continued to report the indigna- tion of the masses. Bukharin telephoned the Central Committee. Bukharin wrote letters beginning "Dear Koba," in which he begged that the accusations against him be publicly denied. And then the prosecutor's office published a roundabout declaration: "Objective proofs for the indictment of Bukharin have not been found."

Radek telephoned him in the fall, wanting to see him. Bukharin shunned him: We are both being accused; why add another cloud? But their Izvestiya country houses were next to each other, and Radek dropped in on him one evening: "No matter what I may say later on, please know that I am not to blame for anything. And anyway you will come out of it whole: you were not con- nected with the Trotskyites."

And Bukharin believed he would come out of it whole and that he would not be expelled from the Party. For that would be monstrous! In actuality, he had always been hostile to the Trotskyites: they had put themselves outside the Party and look what had come of it! They had to stick together. Even if they made mistakes, they had to stick together on that too.

At the November demonstration (his farewell to Red Square), he and his wife went to the reviewing stand for guests on his newspaper editor's press card. All at once an armed soldier came up to him. His heart stopped! They were going to do it here? At a time like this? No. The soldier saluted: "Comrade Stalin is sur- prised at your being here. He asks you to take your place on the mausoleum."

And that's the way they tossed him back and forth from hot to cold for the entire half-year. On December 5 they adopted the Bukharin constitution with fanfare and celebration and named it the Stalinist Constitution for all eternity. At the December Plenum of the Central Committee, they brought in Pyatakov, with his teeth knocked out, and not a bit like himself. Behind his back stood silent Chekists (Yagoda men, and Yagoda, after all, was also being tested and prepared for a role). Pyatakov delivered himself of the most repulsive sort of testimony against Bukharin and Rykov, both of whom were sitting right there among the leaders. Ordzhonikidze put his hand up to his ear (he was hard of hearing): "See here, are you giving all this testimony voluntarily?" (Note that down! Ordzhonikidze will get a bullet of his own!) "Absolutely voluntarily"—and Pyatakov swayed on his feet. And during the recess, Rykov said to Bu- kharin: "Tomsky had will power. He understood it all back in August, and he ended his own life. While you and I, like fools, have gone on living."

At this point Kaganovich made an angry, condemnatory speech (he wanted so much to believe in Bukharchik's innocence, but he couldn't any longer). And then Molotov. And then Stalin! What a generous heart! What a memory for the good things! "Nonetheless, I consider that Bukharin's guilt has not yet been proven. Perhaps Rykov is guilty, but not Bukharin." (Someone had drawn up charges against Bukharin against his will! )

From cold to hot. That's how will power collapses. That's how to grow used to the role of a ruined hero.

And then they began to bring to his home day after day the records of interrogations: the depositions of young ex-students in the Institute of Red Professors, of Radek, and all the rest of them. And they all provided the gravest proofs of Bukharin's black treason. They took these documents to his home, not as if he were a defendant—oh, by no means! Merely in his position as a member of the Central Committee—merely for his informa- tion.

Usually, when he received a new batch of these materials, Bu- kharin would say to his twenty-two-year-old wife, who only that spring had given him a son: "You read them. I can't." And he would bury his head in his pillow. He had two revolvers at home. (Stalin was giving him time too.) And yet he did not commit suicide.

Is it not clear that he had grown used to his ordained role?

And one more public trial took place. And they shot one more batch of defendants. And yet they continued to be merciful to Bukharin. They had not taken Bukharin.

At the beginning of February, 1937, he decided to go on a hunger strike at home, in order to force the Central Committee to hold a hearing and clear him of the charges against him. He announced it in a letter to "Dear Koba," and he honestly went through with it too. Then a Plenum of the Central Committee was convened with the following agenda: (1) the crimes of the Rightist Center; (2) the anti-Party conduct of Comrade Bu- kharin, as evidenced by his hunger strike.

Bukharin hesitated. Had he perhaps really insulted the Party in some particular way? Unshaven, thin, wan, already a prisoner in appearance, he dragged himself along to the Plenum. "What on earth were you thinking of?" Dear Koba asked him cordially. "But what was I to do in the face of such accusations? They want to expel me from the Party." Stalin made a wry face at the absurdity: "Come on, now. No one is going to expel you from the Party!"

Bukharin believed him and revived. He willingly assured the Plenum of his repentance, and immediately abandoned his hunger strike. (At home he said: "Come on now, cut me some sausage! Koba said they wouldn't expel me.") But in the course of the Plenum, Kaganovich and Molotov (impudent fellows they were, indeed!—paid no attention to Stalin's opinion!) both called Bukharin a Fascist hireling and demanded that he be shot.

[See what a wealth of information we are deprived of because we're protecting Molotov's noble old age.]

And once again Bukharin's spirits fell, and in his last days he began to compose his "Letter to the Future Central Committee." Committed to memory and thereby preserved, it recently became known to the whole world. However, it did not shake the world to its foundations.

[Nor did it shake the "Future Central Committee" either.]

For what were the last words this brilliant theoretician decided to hand down to future generations? Just one more cry of anguish and a plea to be restored to the Party. (He paid dearly in shame for that devotion!) And one more affirmation that he "fully approved" everything that had hap- pened up to and including 1937. And that included not only all the previous jeeringly mocking trials, but also all the foul-smelling waves of our great prison sewage disposal system.

And that is how he himself certified that he, too, deserved to plunge into those waves.

So, at long last, he had matured to the point of being turned over to the prompters and the assistant producers—this muscular man, this hunter and wrestler! (In playful tussles in the presence of the Central Committee, how many times had he landed Stalin flat on his back! And this, too, was probably something Koba couldn't forgive him.)

And in the case of one so fully prepared, so demolished, that no torture was called for, how was his position any stronger than that of Yakubovich in 1931? How could he not be susceptible to the same two arguments? He was in fact much weaker, because Yakubovich longed for death, and Bukharin dreaded it.

There remained an easy dialogue with Vyshinsky along set lines:

"Is it true that every opposition to the Party is a struggle against the Party?" "In general it is, factually it is." "But a struggle against the Party cannot help but grow into a war against the Party." "According to the logic of things—yes, it must." "And that means that in the end, given the existence of oppositionist beliefs, any foul deeds whatever might be perpetrated against the Party [es- pionage, murder, sellout of the Motherland]?" "But wait a minute, none were actually committed." "But they could have been?" "Well, theoretically speaking." (Those are your theoreticians for you!) "But for us the highest of all interests are those of the Party?" "Yes, of course, of course!" "So you see, only a very fine distinction separates us. We are required to concretize the eventu- ality: in the interest of discrediting for the future any idea of opposition, we are required to accept as having taken place what could only theoretically have taken place. After all, it could have, couldn't it?" "It could have." "And so it is necessary to recognize as actual what was possible; that's all. It's a small phi- losophical transition. Are we in agreement? . . . Yes, and one thing more, and it's not for me to explain to you, but if you re- treat and say something different during the trial, you understand that it will only play into the hands of the world bourgeoisie and will only do the Party harm. Well, and it's clear that in that case you yourself will not die an easy death. But if everything goes off all right, we will, of course, allow you to go on living. We'll send you in secret to the island of Monte Cristo, and you can work on the economics of socialism there." "But in previous trials, as I understand it, you did shoot them all?" "But what comparison is there between you and them! And then, we also left many of them alive too. They were shot only in the newspapers."

And so perhaps there isn't any insoluble riddle?

It was all that same invincible theme song, persisting with only minor variations through so many different trials: "After all, we and you are Communists! How could you have gotten off the track and come out against us? Repent! After all, you and we together—is us!"

Historical comprehension ripens slowly in a society. And when it does ripen, it is so simple. Neither in 1922, nor in 1924, nor in 1937 were the defendants able to hang onto their own point of view so firmly that they could raise their heads and shout, in reply to that bewitching and anesthetizing melody:

"No, we are not revolutionaries with you! No, we are not Rus- sians with you! No, we are not Communists with you!"

It would seem that if only that kind of shout had been raised, all the stage sets would have collapsed, the plaster masks would have fallen off, the Producer would have fled down the backstairs, and the prompters would have sneaked off into their ratholes. And out of doors it would have been, say, 1967!

But even the most superbly successful of these theatrical pro- ductions was expensive and troublesome. And Stalin decided not to use open trials any longer.

Or rather in 1937 he probably did have a plan for holding public trials on a wide scale in the local districts—so the black soul of the opposition would be made visible to the masses. But he couldn't find producers who were good enough. It wasn't practical to prepare things so carefully, and the mental processes of the accused weren't so complex, and Stalin only got into a mess, although very few people know about it. The whole plan broke down after a few trials, and was abandoned.

It's appropriate here to describe one such trial—the Kady case, detailed reports of which the Ivanovo provincial newspapers published initially.

At the end of 1934, a new local administrative district was created in the remote wilds of Ivanovo Province at the point where it joined Kostroma and Nizhni Novgorod Provinces, and its center was situated in the ancient, slow-moving village of Kady. New leaders were sent there from various localities, and they made one another's acquaintance right in Kady. There they found a remote, sad, impoverished region, badly in need of money, machines, and intelligent economic management, but, instead, starved by grain procurements. It happened that Fyodor Ivanovich Smirnov, the First Secretary of the District Party Committee, was a man with a strong sense of justice; Stavrov, the head of the District Agricultural Department, was a peasant through and through, one of those peasants known as the intensivniki—in other words, the hard-working, zealous, and literate peasants who in the twenties had run their farms on a scientific basis, for which they were at that time rewarded by the Soviet government, since it had not yet been decided that all these intensivniki must be de- stroyed. Because Stavrov had entered the Party he had survived the liquidation of the kulaks. (And maybe he even took part in the liquidation of the kulaks?) These men tried to do something for the peasants in their new district, but directives kept pouring down from above and each one ran counter to some initiative of theirs; it was as if, up there, they were busy thinking up what they could do to make things worse and more desperate for the peasants. And at one point the leaders in Kady wrote the province leadership that it was necessary to lower the plan for procurement of breadgrains because the district couldn't fulfill the plan without becoming impoverished well below the danger point. One has to recall the situation in the thirties (and maybe not only the thirties?) to realize what sacrilege against the plan and what rebellion against the government this represented! But, in ac- cordance with then current style, measures were not taken directly from above, but were left to local initiative.

When Smirnov was on vacation, his deputy, Vasily Fyodorovich Romanov, the Sec- ond Secretary, arranged to have a resolution passed by the District Party Committee: "The successes of the district would have been even more brilliant [?] if it were not for the Trotskyite Stavrov." This set in motion the "individual case" of Stavrov. (An interest- ing approach: Divide and rule! For the time being, Smirnov was merely to be frightened, neutralized, and compelled to retreat; there would be time enough later on to get to him. And this, on a small scale, was precisely the Stalinist tactic in the Central Com- mittee.) At stormy Party meetings, however, it became clear that Stavrov was about as much of a Trotskyite as he was a Jesuit. The head of the District Consumer Cooperatives, Vasily Grigoryevich Vlasov, a man with a ragtag, haphazard education but one of those native talents others are so surprised to find among Russians, a born retail trade executive, eloquent, adroit in an argument, who could get fired to red heat about anything he believed to be right, tried to persuade the Party meeting to expel Romanov from the Party for slander. And they actually did give Romanov an officiai Party rebuke! Romanov's last words in this dispute were typical of this kind of person, demonstrating his assurance in regard to the general situation: "Even though they proved Stavrov was not a Trotskyite, nonetheless I am sure he is a Trotskyite. The Party will investigate, and it will also investigate the rebuke to me." And the Party did investigate: the District NKVD arrested Stavrov almost immediately, and one month later they also arrested Univer, the Chairman of the District Executive Com- mittee and an Estonian. And Romanov took over Univer's job as Chairman of the District Executive Committee. Stavrov was taken to the Provincial NKVD, where he confessed he was a Trotskyite, that he had acted in coalition with the SR's all his life, that he was a member of an underground rightist organization in his district (this is a bouquet worthy of the times, the only thing missing being a connection with the Entente). Perhaps he never really did confess these things, but no one is ever going to know, since he died from torture during interrogation in the internal prison of the Ivanovo NKVD. The pages of his deposition were there in full. Soon afterward, they arrested Smirnov, the secretary of the District Party Committee, as the head of the supposed rightist organization; and Saburov, the head of the District Fi- nancial Department, and someone else as well.

Of interest is the way in which Vlasov's fate was decided. He had only recently demanded the expulsion from the Party of Romanov, now the new Chairman of the District Executive Com- mittee. He had also fatally offended Rusov, the district prosecutor, as we have already reported in Chapter 4, above. He had offended N. I. Krylov, the Chairman of the District NKVD, by protecting two of his energetic and resourceful executives from being ar- rested for supposed wrecking—both of them had black marks on their records because of their social origins. (Vlasov always hired all kinds of "former" people for his work—because they mastered the business effectively and, in addition, tried hard; people pro- moted from the ranks of the proletariat knew nothing and, more importantly, didn't want to know anything.) Nonetheless the NKVD was prepared to make its peace with the trade cooperative! Sorokin, the Deputy Chairman of the District NKVD, came in person to see Vlasov with a peace proposal: to give the NKVD 700 rubles' worth of materials without charging them for it (and later on we will somehow write it off). (The ragpickers! And that was two months' wages for Vlasov, who had never taken anything illegally for himself. ) "And if you don't give it to us, you are going to regret it." Vlasov kicked him out: "How do you dare offer me, a Communist, a deal like that?" The very next day Krylov paid a call on the District Consumer Cooperative, this time as the rep- resentative of the District Committee of the Party. (This mas- querade, like all these tricks, was in the spirit of 1937.) And this time he ordered the convening of a Party meeting; the agenda: "On the wrecking activities of Smirnov and Univer in the Con- sumers' Cooperatives," the report to be delivered by Comrade Vlasov. Well, now, that's a gem of a trick for you! No one at that point was making charges against Vlasov. But it would be quite enough for him to say two little words about the wrecking ac- tivities of the former secretary of the District Party Committee in his, Vlasov's, field, and the NKVD would interrupt: "And where were you? Why didn't you come to us in time?" In a situa- tion of this sort many others would have lost their heads and allowed themselves to be trapped. But not Vlasov! He immedi- ately replied: "I won't make the report! Let Krylov make the report—after all, he arrested Smirnov and Univer and is handling their case." Krylov refused: "I'm not familiar with the evidence." Vlasov replied: "If even you aren't familiar with the evidence, that means they were arrested without cause.'' So the Party meeting simply didn't take place. But how often did people dare to defend themselves? (We will not have a complete picture of the atmosphere of 1937 if we lose sight of the fact that there were still strong-willed people capable of difficult decisions, and if we fail to recall that late that night T., the senior bookkeeper of the District Consumer Cooperative, and his deputy N. came to Vlasov's office with 10,000 rubles: "Vasily Grigoryevich! Get out of town tonight! Don't wait for tomorrow. Otherwise you are finished!" But Vlasov thought it did not befit a Communist to run away. ) The next morning there was a nasty article in the district paper on the work of the District Consumer Cooperative. (One has to point out that in 1937 the press always played hand in glove with the NKVD.) By evening Vlasov had been asked to give the District Party Committee an accounting of his own work. (Every step of the way, this was how things were in the entire Soviet Union. )

This was 1937, the second year of the so-called "Mikoyan prosperity" in Moscow and other big cities. And even today, in the reminiscences of journalists and writers, one gets the impres- sion that at the time there was already plenty of everything. This concept seems to have gone down in history, and there is a danger of its staying there. And yet, in November, 1936, two years after the abolition of bread rationing, a secret directive was published in Ivanovo Province (and in other provinces) prohibiting the sale of flour. In those years many housewives in small towns, and particularly in villages, still used to bake their own bread. Pro- hibiting the sale of flour meant: Do not eat bread! In the district center of Kady, long bread lines formed such as had never before been seen. (However, they attacked that problem, too, by for- bidding the baking of black bread in district centers, permitting only expensive white bread to be baked.) The only bakery in the whole Kady District was the one in the district center, and people began to pour into the center from the villages to get black bread. The warehouses of the District Consumer Cooperative had flour, but the two parallel prohibitions blocked off all avenues by which it could be made available to the public! Vlasov, however, man- aged to find a way out of the impasse, and despite the clever gov- ernment rulings he kept the district fed for a whole year: he went out to the collective farms and got eight of them to agree to set up public bakeries in empty "kulak" huts (in other words, they would simply bring in firewood and set the women to baking in ordinary Russian peasant ovens, but, mind you, ovens which were now socialized, publicly not privately owned). The District Con- sumer Cooperative would undertake to supply them with flour. There is eternal simplicity to a solution once it has been dis- covered! Without building any bakeries (for which he had no funds), Vlasov set them up in one day. Without carrying on a trade in flour, he released flour from the warehouse continuously and proceeded to order more from the provincial center. Without selling black bread in the district center, he gave the district black bread. Yes, he did not violate the letter of the instructions, but he violated their spirit—for their essence was to compel a reduc- tion in flour consumption by starving the people. And so, of course, there were good grounds for criticizing him at the Dis- trict Party Committee.

After that criticism he remained free overnight and was ar- rested the next morning. He was a tough little bantam rooster. He was short, and he always carried his head slightly thrown back, with a touch of aggressiveness. He tried to avoid surrendering his Party membership card, because no decision expelling him from the Party had been reached at the District Party Committee the night before. He also refused to give up his identification card as a deputy of the district soviet, since he had been elected by the people, and the District Executive Committee had not taken any decision depriving him of his deputy's immunity. But the police did not appreciate such formalities and overpowered him, and took them away by main force. They took him from the District Consumer Cooperative down the main street of Kady in broad daylight, and his young merchandise manager, a Komsomol mem- ber, saw him from the window of the District Party Committee headquarters. At that time not everyone, especially in the villages, because of their naïveté, had learned to keep quiet about what they thought. The merchandise manager shouted: "Look at those bastards! Now they've taken away my boss too!" Right then and there, without leaving the room, they expelled him from both the District Party Committee and from the Komsomol, and he slid down the well-known pathway into the bottomless pit.

Vlasov was arrested very late in comparison with the others who were charged in the same case. The case had been nearly completed without him, and it was in process of being set up as an open trial. They took him to the Ivanovo NKVD Internal Prison, but, since he was the last to be involved, he was not sub- jected to any heavy pressure. He was interrogated twice. There was no supporting testimony from witnesses. And the file of his interrogation was filled with summary reports of the District Con- sumer Cooperative and clips from the district newspaper. Vlasov was charged with: (1) initiating bread lines; (2) having an in- adequate minimum assortment of merchandise (just as though the unavailable merchandise existed somewhere else and someone had offered it to Kady) ; (3) procuring a surplus of salt (but this was the obligatory "mobilization" reserve: ever since ancient times people in Russia have been afraid of being without salt in the event of war).

At the end of September, the defendants were brought to Kady for public trial. It was not a short trip. (Remember how cheap the OSO's and the closed courts were!) From Ivanovo to Ki- neshma they went in a Stolypin railway car; then seventy miles from Kineshma to Kady in automobiles. There were more than ten cars, an unusual file along an old, deserted road, and one that aroused astonishment, fear, and the expectation of war in the villages. Klyugin, the Chief of the Special Secret Department of the Provincial NKVD for Counter-Revolutionary Organiza- tions, was responsible for the faultless organization of the whole trial and for terrifying the public with it. Their convoy consisted of forty guards from the reserves of the mounted police, and every day from September 24 to 27, with swords unsheathed and Naguan revolvers at the ready, they took the prisoners from the District NKVD to the still unfinished club building and back, through the village where they had until recently been the gov- ernment. Windows had already been installed in the club, but the stage had not yet been finished. There was no electricity. There was no electricity in Kady at all. After nightfall the court met by the light of kerosene lamps. The spectators were brought in from the collective farms in rotation. And all Kady crowded in as well. Not only did they sit on window sills and benches, but they stood packed in the aisles, seven hundred of them at a time. (Russians have always loved spectacles.) The forward benches were regularly reserved for Communists to provide the court with dependable support.

A Special Assize of the provincial court had been constituted, consisting of Deputy Chairman of the Provincial Court Shubin, who presided, and members Biche and Zaozerov. The provincial prosecutor Karasik, a graduate of Dorpat University, was in charge of the prosecution. And even though all the accused de- clined defense lawyers, a government lawyer was forced on them so that the case wouldn't be left without a prosecutor. The formal indictment, solemn, menacing, and lengthy, came down in essence to the charge that an underground Rightist Bukharinite group had existed in Kady District, which had been formed in Ivanovo (in other words, you could expect arrests in Ivanovo too), and had as its purpose the overthrow by wrecking of the Soviet gov- ernment in the village of Kady (and this was about the remotest boondock in all Russia the rightists could have found for a starting point! ).

The prosecutor petitioned the court to have Stavrov's testi- mony, given before his death in prison, read to the court and accepted as evidence. In fact, the whole charge against the group was based on Stavrov's evidence. The court agreed to include the testimony of the deceased, just as if he were alive. (With the advantage, however, that none of the defendants could refute it.)

But darkest Kady did not appreciate these scholarly fine points. It waited to see what came next. The testimony of Stavrov, who had been killed under interrogation, was read to the court and once again became part of the record. The questioning of the defendants began—and immediately there was chaos. All of them repudiated the testimony they had given during the interrogation.

It is not clear how, in such an event, things would have been arranged in the October Hall of the House of the Unions in Mos- cow—but here, at any rate, it was decided shamelessly to continue. The judge rebuked the defendants: How could you have given different testimony during the interrogation? Univer, very weak, replied in a barely audible voice: "As a Communist I cannot, in a public trial, describe the interrogation methods of the NKVD." (Now there was a model for the Bukharin trial! Now that's what keeps them together! More than anything else, . they are worried that people might think ill of the Party. Their judges had long since stopped worrying about that.)

During the recess, Klyugin visited the cells of the defendants. He said to Vlasov: "You've heard how Smirnov and Univer played the whore, the bastards? You've got to admit your guilt and tell the whole truth!" "The truth and nothing but the truth," willingly agreed Vlasov, who had not yet weakened. "The truth and nothing but the truth that you are every bit as bad as the German Fascists!" Klyugin flew into a rage: "Listen here, you whore, you'll pay with your blood!"

[Your own blood, too, is going to flow soon, Klyugin! Caught in the Yezhov gang of gaybisty, Klyugin will have his throat cut by the stool pigeon Gubaidulin.]

From that moment Vlasov was pushed forward from a back seat among the defendants to a leading role in the trial—as the ideological leader of the group.

The crowd jamming the aisles grew interested whenever the court fearlessly broke into questions about bread lines—about things that touched everyone present to the quick. (And, of course, bread had been put on unrestricted sale just before the trial, and there were no bread lines that day.) A question to the accused Smirnov: "Did you know about the bread lines in the district?" "Yes, of course. They stretched from the store itself right up to the building of the District Party Committee." "And what did you do about them?" Notwithstanding the tortures he had endured, Smirnov had preserved his resounding voice and tranquil righteousness. This broad-shouldered man with a simple face and light-brown hair answered slowly, and the whole hall heard every word he said: "Since all appeals to organizations in the provincial capital had failed, I instructed Vlasov to write a report to Comrade Stalin." "And why didn't you write it?" (They hadn't yet known about it! They had certainly missed that one!) "We did write it, and I sent it by courier directly to the Central Committee, bypassing the provincial leaders. A copy was kept in the District Committee files."

The whole courtroom held its breath. The court itself was in a commotion. They shouldn't have continued questioning, but nonetheless someone asked: "And what happened?"

And, indeed, that question was on the lips of everyone in the courtroom: "What happened?"

Smirnov did not sob, did not groan over the death of his ideal (and that's what was missing in the Moscow trials!). He replied loudly and calmly:

"Nothing. There was no answer."

And his tired voice seemed to say: Well, that, in fact, was just what I expected.

There was no answer. From the Father and Teacher there was no answer! The public trial had already reached its zenith! It had already shown the masses the black heart of the Cannibal! And the trial could have been called off right then and there. But, oh no, they didn't have sense enough for that, or tact enough for that, and they kept rubbing away at the befouled spot for three more days.

The prosecutor raised a hue and cry: Double-dealing! That's what it was. They engaged in wrecking with one hand and with the other they dared write Comrade Stalin. And they even ex- pected a reply from him. Let the defendant Vlasov tell us how he pulled off such a nightmarish piece of wrecking that he stopped the sale of flour and the baking of rye bread in the district center.

Vlasov, the bantam rooster, didn't have to be asked to rise—he had already jumped up, and he shouted resoundingly through the hall:

"I agree to give a full answer to the court, but on condition that you, the prosecutor, Karasik, leave the accuser's rostrum and sit down here next to me!" It was incomprehensible. Noise, shout- ing. Call them to order! What was going on?

Having gotten the floor with this maneuver, Vlasov explained willingly.

"The prohibitions on selling flour and baking rye bread were instituted by a decree of the Provincial Executive Committee. One of the permanent members of its presidium is Provincial Prose- cutor Karasik. If that's wrecking, then why didn't you veto it as prosecutor? That means you were a wrecker even before I was!"

The prosecutor choked. It was a swift, well-placed blow. The court was also at a loss. The judge mumbled.

"If necessary [?] we will try the prosecutor too. But today we are trying you."

(Two truths: it all depends on your rank.)

"I demand that he be removed from the prosecutor's rostrum," insisted the indefatigable, irrepressible Vlasov.

Recess.

Now, in terms of indoctrinating the masses, just what sig- nificance could such a trial have?

But they kept on and on. After questioning the defendants they began to question the witnesses. The bookkeeper N.

"What do you know about Vlasov's wrecking activities?"

"Nothing."

"How can that be?"

"I was in the witnesses' room and I didn't hear what was said in here."

"You don't have to hear! Many documents passed through your hands. You couldn't help but know."

"The documents were all in proper order."

"But here is a stack of district newspapers, and even there they were writing about Vlasov's wrecking activities. And you claim you don't know anything?"

"Well, go ask the people who wrote the articles."

Then there was the manager of the bread store.

"Tell me, does the Soviet government have much bread?"

(Well, now! Just how could you answer that? Who was going to say: "I didn't count it"?)

"A lot."

"Why are there bread lines at your store?"

"I don't know."

"Who was in charge?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean, you don't know? Who was in charge of your store?"

"Vasily Grigoryevich."

"What the devil! What do you mean calling him Vasily Gri- goryevich? Defendant Vlasov! That means he was in charge."

The witness fell silent.

The judge of the court dictated to the stenographer: "The answer: 'As a consequence of the wrecking activity of Vlasov, bread lines resulted, notwithstanding the Soviet government's enormous stocks of bread.' "

Repressing his own fears, the prosecutor delivered a long and angry speech. The defense lawyer for the most part defended only himself, emphasizing that the interests of the Motherland were as dear to him as they were to any honest citizen.

In his final words to the court, Smirnov asked for nothing and expressed no repentance for anything. Insofar as we can recon- struct it now, he was a firm person and too forthright to have lasted through 1937.

When Saburov begged that his life be spared—"not for me, but for my little children"—-Vlasov, out of vexation, pulled him back by the jacket: "You're a fool."

Vlasov himself did not fail to take advantage of his last chance to talk back impudently.

"I consider you not a court but actors pretending to be a court in a stage farce where roles have already been written for you. You are engaged in a repulsive provocation on the part of the NKVD. You are going to sentence me to be shot no matter what I say. I believe one thing only: the time will come when you will be here in my place."

[Generally speaking, he was wrong just on this one point.]

The court spent from 7 P.M. to 1 A.M. composing the verdict, and all the while the kerosene lamps were burning in the hall, and the defendants sat beneath drawn sabers, and there was a hum of conversation among the spectators who had not left.

And just as it took them a long time to compose the verdict, it took them a long time to read it, piling up on top of one an- other all kinds of fantastic wrecking activities, contacts, and plans. Smirnov, Univer, Saburov, and Vlasov were sentenced to be shot; two others to ten years; one to eight years. In addition, the verdict of the court led to the exposure of an additional wrecking organi- zation in the Komsomol in Kady (whose members were, of course, immediately arrested. Remember the young merchandise man- ager?). And of a center of underground organizations in Ivanovo, which was, of course, in its turn, subordinate to Moscow. (One more nail in Bukharin's coffin.)

After the solemn words "To be shot!" the judges paused for applause. But the mood in the hall was so gloomy, with the sighs and tears of people who had no connection with the defendants, and the screams and swooning of their relatives, that no applause was to be heard even from the first two benches, where the Party members were sitting. This, indeed, was totally improper. "Oh, good Lord, what have you done?" someone in the hall shouted at the members of the court. Univer's wife dissolved in tears. In the half-darkness, the crowd began to stir. Vlasov shouted at the front benches:

"Come on, you bastards, why aren't you clapping? Some Communists you are!"

The political commissar of the guards platoon ran up to him and shoved his revolver in his face. Vlasov reached out to grab the revolver, but a policeman ran up and pushed back his political commissar, who had been guilty of a blunder. The chief of the convoy gave the command: "Arms at the ready!" And thirty police carbines and the pistols of the local NKVD men were aimed at the defendants and at the crowd. (It seemed at the time as though the crowd would rush forward to free the defendants.)

The hall was lit only by a few kerosene lamps, and the semi-darkness heightened the general confusion and fear. The crowd, finally convinced, not so much by the trial as by the carbines now leveled at it, pushed in a panic against the doors and windows. The wood cracked and broke; glass tinkled. Univer's wife, in a dead faint, was almost trampled to death and was left lying beneath the chairs until morning.

And there never was any applause.

[One little note on eight-year-old Zoya Vlasova. She loved her father intensely. She could no longer go to school. (They teased her: "Your papa is a wrecker!" She would get in a fight: "My papa is good!") She lived only one year after the trial. Up to then she had never been ill. During that year she did not once smile; she went about with head hung low, and the old women prophesied: "She keeps looking at the earth; she is going to die soon." She died of inflammation of the brain, and as she was dying she kept calling out: "Where is my papa? Give me my papa!" When we count up the millions of those who perished in the camps, we forget to multiply them by two, by three.]

And not only couldn't the condemned prisoners be shot then and there, but they had to be kept under even stricter guard, because now they really had nothing at all to lose, and they had to be taken to the provincial capital for execution.

They managed to cope with the first problem—sending them off by night to the NKVD along the main street—by having each condemned man guarded by five men. One of the guards carried a lantern. One went ahead with a pistol at the ready. Two held the condemned prisoner by the arms and kept their pistols in their free hands. The fifth brought up the rear, with his pistol pointed at the condemned man's back.

The rest of the police were ranged in formation in order to prevent any attack by the crowd.

Every reasonable man will now agree that the NKVD could never have carried out its great assignment if they had fussed about with open trials.

And that is why public political trials never really put down roots in our country.

Chapter 11
The Supreme Measure

Capital punishment has had an up-and-down history in Russia. In the Code of the Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich Romanov there were fifty crimes for which capital punishment could be imposed. By the time of the Military Statutes of Peter the Great there were two hundred. Yet the Empress Elizabeth, while she did not repeal those laws authorizing capital punishment, never once resorted to it. They say that when she ascended the throne she swore an oath never to execute anyone—and for all twenty years of her reign she kept that oath. She fought the Seven Years' War! Yet she still got along without capital punishment. It was an astound- ing record in the mid-eighteenth century—fifty years before the guillotine of the Jacobins. True, we have taught ourselves to ridicule all our past; we never acknowledge a good deed or a good intention in our history. And one can very easily blacken Eliza- beth's reputation too; she replaced capital punishment with flog- ging with the knout; tearing out nostrils; branding with the word "thief; and eternal exile in Siberia. But let us also say something on behalf of the Empress: how could she have changed things more radically than she did in contravention of the social concepts of her time? And perhaps the prisoner condemned to death today would voluntarily consent to that whole complex of punishments if only the sun would continue to shine on him; but we, in our humanitarianism, don't offer him that chance. And perhaps the reader will come to feel in the course of this book that twenty or even ten years in our camps are harder to bear than were the punishments of Elizabeth?

In today's terms, Elizabeth had a universally human point of view on all this, while the Empress Catherine the Great had, on the contrary, a class point of view (which was consequently more correct). Not to execute anyone at all seemed to her appalling and indefensible. She found capital punishment entirely appropriate to defending herself, her throne, and her system—in other words, in political cases, such as those of Mirovich, the Moscow plague mutiny, and Pugachev. But for habitual criminals, for nonpolitical offenders, why not consider capital punishment abolished?

Under Paul, the abolition of capital punishment was confirmed. (Despite his many wars, there were no military tribunals attached to military units.) And during the whole long reign of Alex- ander I, capital punishment was introduced only for war crimes that took place during a campaign (1812). (Right at this point, some people will say to us: What about deaths from running the gantlet? Yes, indeed, there were, of course, hidden executions— for that matter, one can literally drive a person to death with a trade-union meeting! ) But the yielding up of one's God-given life because others, sitting in judgment, have so voted simply did not take place in our country even for crimes of state for an entire half-century—from Pugachev to the Decembrists.

The blood of the five Decembrists whetted the appetite of our state. From then on, execution for crimes of state was no longer prohibited nor was it forgotten, right up to the February Revolu- tion in 1917. It was confirmed by the Statutes of 1845 and 1904, and further reinforced by the criminal statutes of the army and navy.

And how many people were executed in Russia during that period? We have already, in Chapter 8 above, cited the figures given by liberal leaders of 1905-1907. Let us add to them the verified figures of N. S. Tagantsev, the expert on Russian criminal law.

[ N. S. Tagantsev, Smertnaya Kazn (Capital Punishment), St. Petersburg, 1913.]

Up until 1905, the death penalty was an exceptional measure in Russia. For a period of thirty years—from 1876 to 1904 (the period of the Narodnaya Volya revolutionaries and the use of terrorism—a terrorism which did not consist merely of intentions murmured in the kitchen of a communal apartment —a period of mass strikes and peasant revolts; the period when the parties of the future revolution were created and grew in strength)—486 people were executed; in other words, about seventeen people per year for the whole country. (This figure includes executions of ordinary, nonpolitical criminals!)

[Thirteen people were executed in Schlüsselburg from 1884 to 1906. An awesome total—for Switzerland perhaps!]

During the years of the first revolution (1905) and its suppression, the number of executions rocketed upward, astounding Russian imaginations, calling forth tears from Tolstoi and indignation from Korolenko and many, many others: from 1905 through 1908 about 2,200 persons were executed—forty-five a month. This, as Tagantsev said, was an epidemic of executions. It came to an abrupt end.

When the Provisional Government came to power, it abolished capital punishment entirely. In July, 1917, however, it was re- instated in the active army and front-line areas for military crimes, murder, rape, assault, and pillage (very widespread in those areas at that time). This was one of the most unpopular of the measures which destroyed the Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks' slogan before the Bolshevik coup d'état was: "Down with capital punishment, reinstated by Kerensky!"

A story has come down to us that on the night of October 25-26 a discussion arose in Smolny as to whether one of the first decrees shouldn't be the abolition of capital punishment in perpetuity—whereupon Lenin justly ridiculed the idealism of his comrades. He, at any rate, knew that without capital punishment there would be no movement whatever in the direction of the new society. However, in forming a coalition government with the Left SR's, he gave in to their faulty concepts, and on October 28, 1917, capital punishment was abolished. Nothing good, of course, could come from that "goody-goody" position. (Yes, and how did they get rid of it? At the beginning of 1918, Trotsky ordered that Aleksei Shchastny, a newly appointed admiral, be brought to trial because he had refused to scuttle the Baltic Fleet. Karklin, the Chairman of the Verkhtrib, quickly sentenced him in broken Russian: "To be shot within twenty-four hours." There was a stir in the hall: But it has been abolished! Prosecutor Krylenko explained: "What are you worrying about? Executions have been abolished. But Shchastny is not being executed; he is being shot." And they did shoot him.)

If we are to judge by official documents, capital punishment was restored in all its force in June, 1918. No, it was not "re- stored"; instead, a new era of executions was inaugurated. If one takes the view that Latsis is not deliberately understating the real figures but simply lacks complete information, and that the Revtribunals carried on approximately the same amount of judicial work as the Cheka performed in an extrajudicial way, one concludes that in the twenty central provinces of Russia in a period of sixteen months (June, 1918, to October, 1919) more than sixteen thousand persons were shot, which is to say more than one thousand a month.

[Now that we have started to make comparisons, here is another: during the eighty years of the Inquisition's peak effort (1420 to 1498), in all of Spain ten thousand persons were condemned to be burned to death at the stake—in other words, about ten a month.]

(This, incidentally, is when they shot both Khrustalev-Nosar, the Chairman of the 1905 St. Peters- burg Soviet—the first Russian soviet—and the artist who designed the legendary uniform worn by the Red Army throughout the Civil War.)

However, it may not even have been these individual execu- tions, with or without formally pronounced death sentences, which added up to thousands and inaugurated the new era of executions in 1918 that stunned and froze Russia. Still more terrible to us was the practice—initially followed by both warring sides and, later, by the victors only—of sinking barges loaded with uncounted, unregistered hundreds, unidentified even by a roll call. (Naval officers in the Gulf of Finland, in the White, Caspian, and Black seas, and, as late as 1920, hostages in Lake Baikal. ) This is outside the scope of our narrow history of courts and trials, but it belongs to the history of morals, which is where everything else originates as well. In all our centuries, from the first Ryurik on, had there ever been a period of such cruelties and so much killing as during the post-October Civil War?

We would omit from view one of the characteristic ups-and- downs of the Russian capital-punishment story if we neglected to mention that capital punishment was abolished in January, 1920. Yes, indeed! And some students of the subject might con- ceivably be at a loss to interpret the credulity and helplessness of a dictatorship that deprived itself of its avenging sword when Denikin was still in the Kuban, Wrangel still in the Crimea, and the Polish cavalry were saddling up for a campaign. But, in the first place, this decree was quite sensible: it did not extend to the decisions of military tribunals, but applied only to extrajudicial actions of the Cheka and the decisions of tribunals in the rear. In the second place, the way was prepared for it by first cleaning out the prisons by the wholesale execution of prisoners who might otherwise have come "under the decree." And, in the third place, it was in effect for a brief period—four months. (It lasted only until the prisons had filled up again.) By a decree of May 28, 1920, capital punishment was restored to the Cheka.

The Revolution had hastened to rename everything, so that everything would seem new. Thus the death penalty was re- christened "the supreme measure"—no longer a "punishment" but a means of social defense. From the groundwork of the criminal legislation of 1924 it is clear that the supreme measure was introduced only temporarily, pending its total abolition by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

And in 1927 they actually did begin to abolish it. It was re- tained solely for crimes against the state and the army—Article 58 and military crimes—and, true, for banditry also. (But the broad political interpretation of "banditry" was as well known then as it is now: from a Central Asian "Basmach," right up to a Lithuanian forest guerrilla, every armed nationalist who doesn't agree with the central government is a "bandit," and how could one possibly get along without that article? Similarly, any par- ticipant in a camp rebellion and any participant in an urban rebellion is also a "bandit.") But where articles protecting private individuals were concerned, capital punishment was abolished to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Revolu- tion.

And for the fifteenth anniversary, the law of Seven-eighths was added to the roster of capital punishment—that law so vitally important to advancing socialism, which guaranteed the Soviet subject a bullet for each crumb stolen from the state's table.

As always happens at the start, they hurried to apply this law in 1932-1933 and shot people with special ferocity. In this time of peace in December, 1932 (while Kirov was still alive), at one time 265 condemned prisoners were awaiting execution in Leningrad's Kresty Prison alone.

[Testimony of B., who brought food to the cells of the prisoners con- demned to be shot.]

And during the whole year, it would certainly seem that more than a thousand were shot in Kresty alone.

And what kind of evildoers were these condemned men? Where did so many plotters and troublemakers come from? Among them, for example, were six collective farmers from nearby Tsarskoye Selo who were guilty of the following crime: After they had finished mowing the collective farm with their own hands, they had gone back and mowed a second time along the hummocks to get a little hay for their own cows. The Ail- Russian Central Executive Committee refused to pardon all six of these peasants, and the sentence of execution was carried out.

What cruel and evil Saltychikha, what utterly repulsive and infamous serf-owner would have killed six peasants for their miserable little clippings of hay? If one had dared to beat them with birch switches even once, we would know about it and read about it in school and curse that name.

[What isn't known in our schools is the fact that Saltychikha, by a verdict of her own peers, was imprisoned for eleven years in the subterranean crypt of the Ivanovsky Monastery in Moscow for the atrocities inflicted on her serfs. (Prugavin, Monastyrskiye Tyurmy [Monastery Prisons], Posrednik Publishers, p. 39.)]

But now, heave the corpses into the water, and pretty soon the surface is all smooth again and no one's the wiser. And one must cherish the hope that someday documents will confirm the report of my witness, who is still alive. Even if Stalin had killed no others, I believe he deserved to be drawn and quartered just for the lives of those six Tsarskoye Selo peasants! And yet they still dare shriek at us (from Peking, from Tirana, from Tbilisi, yes, and plenty of big-bellies in the Moscow suburbs are doing it too): "How could you dare expose him?" "How could you dare disturb his great shade?" "Stalin belongs to the world Communist move- ment!" But in my opinion all he belongs to is the Criminal Code. "The peoples of all the world remember him as a friend." But not those on whose backs he rode, whom he slashed with his knout.

However, let us return to being dispassionate and impartial once more. Of course, the All-Russian Central Executive Com- mittee would certainly have "completely abolished" the supreme measure, as promised, but unfortunately what happened was that in 1936 the Father and Teacher "completely abolished" the All-Russian Central Executive Committee itself. And the Supreme Soviet that succeeded it had an eighteenth-century ring. "The supreme measure" became a punishment once again, and ceased to be some kind of incomprehensible "social defense." Even to the Stalinist ear the executions of 1937-1938 could hardly fit into any framework of "defense."

What legal expert, what criminal historian, will provide us with verified statistics for those 1937-1938 executions? Where is that Special Archive we might be able to penetrate in order to read the figures? There is none. There is none and there never will be any. Therefore we dare report only those figures mentioned in rumors that were quite fresh in 1939-1940, when they were drifting around under the Butyrki arches, having emanated from the high- and middle-ranking Yezhov men of the NKVD who had been arrested and had passed through those cells not long before. (And they really knew!) The Yezhov men said that dur- ing those two years of 1937 and 1938 a half-million "political prisoners" had been shot throughout the Soviet Union, and 480,- 000 blatnye—habitual thieves—in addition. (The thieves were all shot under Article 59-3 because they constituted "a basis of Yagoda's power"; and thereby the "ancient and noble companion- ship of thieves" was pruned back. )

How improbable are these figures? Taking into consideration that the mass executions went on not for two full years but only for a year and a half, we would have to assume (under Article 58—in other words, the politicals alone) an average of 28,000 executions per month in that period. For the whole Soviet Union. But at how many different locations were executions being carried out? A figure of 150 would be very modest. (There were more, of course. In Pskov alone, the NKVD set up torture and execution chambers in the basements of many churches, in former hermits' cells. And even in 1953 tourists were still not allowed into these churches, on the grounds that "archives" were kept there. The cobwebs hadn't been swept out for ten years at a stretch: those were the "archives" they kept there. And before beginning restoration work on these churches, they had to haul away the bones in them by the truckload.) On the basis of this calculation, an average of six people were shot in the course of one day at each execution site. What's so fantastic about that? It is even an understatement! (According to other sources, 1,700,000 had been shot by January 1, 1939.)

During the years of World War II, the use of capital punish- ment was occasionally extended for various reasons (as, for example, by the militarization of the railroads), and, at times, was broadened as to method (from April, 1943, on, for example, with the decree on hanging).

All these events delayed to a certain extent the promised full, final, and perpetual repeal of the death penalty. However, the patience and loyalty of our people finally earned them this re- ward. In May, 1947, losif Vissarionovich inspected his new starched dickey in his mirror, liked it, and dictated to the Presi- dium of the Supreme Soviet the Decree on the Abolition of Capital Punishment in peacetime (replacing it with a new maximum term of twenty-five years—it was a good pretext for introducing the so-called quarter).

But our people are ungrateful, criminal, and incapable of ap- preciating generosity. Therefore, after the rulers had creaked along and eked out two and a half years without the death penalty, on January 12, 1950, a new decree was published that constituted an about-face: "In view of petitions pouring in from the national republics [the Ukraine?], from the trade unions [oh, those lovely trade unions; they always know what's needed], from peasant organizations [this was dictated by a sleepwalker: the Gracious Sovereign had stomped to death all peasant organi- zations way back in the Year of the Great Turning Point], and also from cultural leaders [now, that is quite likely]," capital punishment was restored for a conglomeration of "traitors of the Motherland, spies, and subversives-diversionists." (And, of course, they forgot to repeal the quarter, the twenty-five-year sentence, which remained in force.)

And once this return to our familiar friend, to our beheading blade, had begun, things went further with no effort at all: in 1954, for premeditated murder; in May, 1961, for theft of state property, and counterfeiting, and terrorism in places of imprison- ment (this was directed especially at prisoners who killed in- formers and terrorized the camp administration); in July, 1961, for violating the rules governing foreign currency transactions; in February, 1962, for threatening the lives of (shaking a fist at) policemen or Communist vigilantes, the so-called "druzhinniki"; then for rape; and immediately thereafter for bribery.

But all of this is simply temporary—until complete abolition. And that's how it's described today too.

["Osnovy Ugolovnogo Zakonodatelstva SSSR" ("Fundamental Principles of Criminal Legislation of the U.S.S.R."), Article 22, in Vedomosti Ver- khovnogo Soveta SSSR (Bulletin of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R.), 1959, No. 1.]

And so it turns out that Russia managed longest of all without capital punishment in the reign of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna.

In our happy, blind existence, we picture condemned men as a few ill-fated, solitary individuals. We instinctively believe that we could never end up on death row, that it would take an out- standing career if not heinous guilt for that to happen. A great deal has still to be shaken up inside our heads for us to get the real picture: a mass of the most ordinary, average, gray people have languished in death cells for the most ordinary, everyday misdemeanors, and, although some were lucky and had their death sentences commuted, which was purely a matter of chance, they very often got the super (which is what the prisoners called "the supreme measure," since they hate lofty words and manage somehow to give everything a nickname that is both crude and short).

The agronomist of a District Agricultural Department got a death sentence for his mistaken analysis of collective farm grain! (Maybe it was because his analysis wasn't what his chiefs wanted from him?) That was in 1937.

Melnikov, the chairman of a handicraft artel that made spools for thread, was sentenced to death because a spark from a steam engine in his artel had caused a fire! That was in 1937. (True, his death sentence was commuted to a "tenner.")

In that same Kresty Prison in Leningrad, in 1932, two of the men in death cells were Feldman, convicted of possessing foreign currency, and Faitelevich, a student at the conservatory, for having sold steel ribbon for pen points. Primordial commerce, the bread and butter and pastime of the Jew, had also become worthy of the death penalty.

Ought we to be surprised then that the Ivanovo Province village lad Geraska got the death penalty? In honor of the spring St. Nicholas holiday, he went off to the next village to celebrate; he drank heavily and, with a stick, he hit the rear end—no, not of the policeman himself, but of the policeman's horse. (True, in a rage at the police he ripped a piece of board off the village soviet building and then yanked out the village soviet telephone by the cord, shouting: "Smash the devils!")

Whether our destiny holds a death cell in store for us is not determined by what we have done or not done. It is determined by the turn of a great wheel and the thrust of powerful external circumstances. For example, Leningrad was under siege and blockade. And what would its highest-ranking leader, Comrade Zhdanov, think if there were no executions among the cases in Leningrad State Security during such difficult times? He would think the Organs were lying down on the job, would he not? Were there not big underground plots, directed from outside by the Germans, to be discovered? Why were such plots discovered under Stalin in 1919 and not under Zhdanov in 1942? No sooner ordered than done. Several ramified plots were discovered. You were asleep in your unheated Leningrad room, and the sharp claws of the black hand were already hovering over you. And yet none of this depended on you. Notice was taken of a Lieutenant General Ignatovsky, whose windows looked out on the Neva; he had pulled out a white handkerchief to blow his nose. Aha, a signal! Furthermore, because Ignatovsky was an engineer, he liked to talk about machinery with the sailors. And that clinched it! Ignatovsky was arrested. The time for reckoning came. Come on now, name forty members of your organization. He named them. And so, if you happened to be an usher at the Aleksandrinsky Theatre, your chances of being named as one of his particular forty were minimal. But if you were a professor at the Technological Institute, there you were on that list (once more, that accursed intelligentsia). So how could it depend on you? To be on such a list amounted to execution for each one.

And so they shot all of them. But here is how Konstantin Ivanovich Strakhovich, a very important Russian scientist in hydrodynamics, remained alive: Some even higher bigwigs in State Security were dissatisfied because the list was too small and not enough people were being shot. Therefore Strakhovich was selected as a suitable center for uncovering a new organization. He was summoned by Captain Altshuller: "What's this all about? Did you rush to confess everything so that you'd get shot and thereby conceal the underground government? What was your role in it?" Thus Strakhovich found himself in a new round of interrogations while he remained on death row. He proposed that they consider him the underground Minister of Education. (He wanted to get it over with as soon as possible!) But that wasn't good enough for Altshuller. The interrogation continued, and by this time Ignatovsky's group was being executed. During one of the interrogation sessions Strakhovich got angry. It wasn't that he wanted to live but that he was tired of dying, and, more than anything else, the lies made him sick. And so while he was being cross-questioned in the presence of some Security police bigwig, he pounded on the table: "You are the ones who ought to be shot. I am not going to lie any longer. I take back all my testimony." And his outburst helped! Not only did they stop interrogating him, but they forgot about him in his death cell for a long time.

In all probability an outburst of desperation in the midst of general submissiveness will always help.

Thus many were shot—thousands at first, then hundreds of thousands. We divide, we multiply, we sigh, we curse. But still and all, these are just numbers. They overwhelm the mind and then are easily forgotten. And if someday the relatives of those who had been shot were to send one publisher photographs of their executed kin, and an album of those photographs were to be published in several volumes, then just by leafing through them and looking into the extinguished eyes we would learn much that would be valuable for the rest of our lives. Such read- ing, almost without words, would leave a deep mark on our hearts for all eternity.

In one household I am familiar with, where some former zeks live, the following ceremony takes place: On March 5, the day of the death of the Head Murderer, they spread out on the table all the photographs of those who were shot and those who died in camps that they have been able to collect—several dozen of them. And throughout the day solemnity reigns in the apartment —somewhat like that of a church, somewhat like that of a museum. There is funeral music. Friends come to visit, to look at the photographs, to keep silent, to listen, to talk softly together. And then they leave without saying good-bye.

And that is how it ought to be everywhere. At least these deaths would have left a small scar on our hearts.

So that they should not have died in vain!

And I, too, have a few such chance photographs. Look at these at least:

Viktor Petrovich Pokrovsky—shot in Moscow in 1918.

Aleksandr Shtrobinder, a student—shot in Petrograd in 1918.

Vasily Ivanovich Anichkov—shot in the Lubyanka in 1927.

Aleksandr Andreyevich Svechin, a professor of the General Staff—shot in 1935.

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Reformatsky, an agronomist—shot in Orel in 1938.

Yelizaveta Yevgenyevna Anichkova—shot in a camp on the Yenisei in 1942.

How does all that happen? What is it like for people to wait there? What do they feel? What do they think about? And what decisions do they come to? And what is it like when they are taken away? And what do they feel in their last moments? And how, actually, do they . . . well ... do they ... ?

The morbid desire to pierce that curtain is natural. (Even though it is, of course, never going to happen to any of us.) And it is natural that those who have survived cannot tell us about the very end—because, after all, they were pardoned.

What happens next is something the executioners know about. But the executioners are not about to talk. (Take, for instance, that famous Uncle Lyosha in the Kresty Prison in Leningrad, who twisted the prisoner's hands behind his back and put handcuffs on him, and then, if the prisoner shouted down the nighttime corridor, "Farewell, brothers!" crammed a rolled-up rag into his mouth—just why should he tell you about it? He is probably still walking around Leningrad, well dressed. But if you happen to run into him in a beer parlor on the islands or at a soccer game, ask him!)

However, even the executioner doesn't know about everything right to the very end. While a motor roars its accompaniment, he fires his pistol bullets, unheard, into the back of a head, and he is himself stupidly condemned not to understand what he has done. He doesn't know about the very end! Only those who have been killed know it all to the very end—and that means no one.

It's true, however, that the artist, however obliquely and un- clearly, nevertheless knows some part of what happens right up to the actual bullet, the actual noose.

So we are going to construct—from artists and from those who were pardoned—an approximate picture of the death cell. We know, for example, that they do not sleep at night but lie there waiting. That they calm down again only in the morning.

Narokov (Marchenko) in his novel, Imaginary Values, a work much spoiled by the author's self-assigned task of describ- ing everything as though he were Dostoyevsky, of tearing at the reader's heartstrings and trying to move him even more than Dostoyevsky, nevertheless in my opinion described the death cell and the scene of the execution itself very well. One cannot verify it, of course, but somehow one believes it.

[N. Narokov, Mnimyye Velichiny, Roman v 2-kh Chastyakh (Imaginary Values; a Novel in Two Parts), New York, Chekhov Publishing House, 1952.]

The interpretations of earlier artists, for example, Leonid Andreyev, seem today somehow to belong willy-nilly to Krylov's time, a century and a half ago. And for that matter, what fantasist could have imagined the death cells of 1937? Of neces- sity, he would have woven his psychological threads : what it was like to wait, how the condemned man kept listening, and the like. But who could have foreseen and described such unexpected sensations on the part of prisoners condemned to death as:

1. Prisoners awaiting execution suffered from the cold. They had to sleep on the cement floor under the windows, where it was 28 degrees Fahrenheit. (Strakhovich.) You could freeze to death while you were waiting to be shot.

2. They suffered from being in stuffy, overcrowded cells. Into a cell intended for solitary confinement they would shove seven (never fewer), sometimes ten, fifteen, even twenty-eight prisoners awaiting execution. (Strakhovich in Leningrad, 1942.) And they remained packed in this way for weeks or even months! What kind of nightmare was your seven to be hanged? People in these circumstances don't think about execution, and it's not being shot they worry about, but how to move their legs, how to turn over, how to get a gulp of air.

In 1937, when up to forty thousand prisoners were being held at one time in the prisons of Ivanovo—the internal prison of the NKVD, No. 1, No. 2, and the cells for preliminary detention —although they were just barely designed to hold three to four thousand, Prison No. 2 held a mixture of prisoners under inter- rogation, prisoners condemned to camp, prisoners sentenced to be executed, prisoners whose death sentences had been com- muted, and ordinary thieves—and all of them stood for several days so jammed in against each other in one big cell that it was impossible either to raise or lower an arm and those who were shoved up against the bunks could easily break their legs on the edges. It was winter, but in order not to be suffocated the prisoners broke the glass in the windows. (It was in this cell that the old Bolshevik Alalykin, with his snow-white head of hair—he had joined the Party in 1898 and had quit the Party in 1917 after the April Theses—waited for his death sentence to be carried out.)

3. Prisoners sentenced to death also suffered from hunger. They waited such a long time after the death sentence had been imposed that their principal sensation was no longer the fear of being shot but the pangs of hunger: where could they get something to eat? In 1941 Aleksandr Babich spent seventy-five days in a death cell in the Krasnoyarsk Prison. He had already reconciled himself to death and awaited execution as the only possible end to his unsuccessful life. But he began to swell up from starvation. At that point, they commuted his death sentence to ten years, and that was when he began his camp career. And what was the record stay in a death cell? Who knows? Vsevolod Petrovich Golitsyn, the elder of a death cell, so to speak, spent 140 days in it in 1938. But was that a record? The glory of Russian science, famed geneticist N. I. Vavilov, waited several months for his execution—yes, maybe even a whole year. As a prisoner still under death sentence he was evacuated to the Saratov Prison, where he was kept in a basement cell that had no window. When his death sentence was commuted in the sum- mer of 1942, he was transferred to a general cell, and he could not even walk. Other prisoners carried him to the daily outdoor walk, supporting him under the arms.

4. Prisoners sentenced to death were given no medical at- tention. Okhrimenko was kept in a death cell for a long time in 1938, and he became very ill. Not only did they refuse to put him in the hospital, but the doctor took forever to come to see him. When she finally did come, she didn't go into the cell; instead, without examining him or even asking him any questions, she handed him some powders through the bars. And fluid began to accumulate in Strakhovich's legs—dropsy. He told the jailer about it—and they sent him, believe it or not, a dentist.

And when a doctor did enter the picture, was it right for him to cure the prisoner under sentence of death—in other words, to prolong his expectation of death? Or did humanitarianism dictate that the doctor should insist on execution as quickly as possible? Here is another little scene from Strakhovich: The doctor entered and, talking with the duty jailer, he pointed a finger at the prisoners awaiting execution: "He's a dead man! He's a dead man! He's a dead man!" (He was pointing out to the jailer the victims of malnutrition and insisting that it was wrong to torment people so, that it was time to shoot them.)

What, in fact, was the reason for holding them so long? Weren't there enough executioners? One must point out that the prison authorities often suggested to and even asked many of the condemned prisoners to sign appeals for commutation; and when prisoners objected strongly and refused, not wanting any more "deals," they signed appeals in the prisoners' names. And at the very least it took months for the papers to move through the twists and turns of the machine.

A clash between two different institutions was probably in- volved. The interrogatory and judicial apparatus—as we learned from the members of the Military Collegium, they were one and the same—anxious to expose nightmarish and appalling cases, could not impose anything less than a deserved penalty on the criminals—death. But as soon as the sentences had been pro- nounced and entered into the official record of interrogation and trial, the scarecrows now called condemned men no longer interested them. And, in actual fact, there hadn't been any sedi- tion involved, nor would the life of the state be affected in any way if these condemned men remained alive. So they were left entirely to the prison administration. And that administration, which was closely associated with Gulag, looked at prisoners from the economic point of view. To them the important figures were not an increase in the number of executions but an increase in the manpower sent out to the Archipelago.

And that is exactly the light in which Sokolov, the chief of the internal prison of the Big House in Leningrad, viewed Strakhovich, who finally became bored in the death cell and asked for paper and pencil for his scientific work. In a notebook he first composed "On the Interaction of a Liquid and a Solid Moving in It," and then "Calculations for Ballistas, Springs and Shock Absorbers," and then "Bases of the Theory of Stability." They had already allotted him an individual "scientific" cell and fed him better, and questions began to come to him from the Leningrad Front. He worked out for them "Volumetric Weapons' Fire Against Aircraft." And it all ended with Zhdanov's com- muting his death sentence to fifteen years. (The mail from the mainland was slow, but soon his regular commutation order came from Moscow, and it was more generous than Zhdanov's: merely a tenner.)

[Strakhovich has all his prison notebooks even now. And his "scientific career" outside the bars only began with them. He was destined later on to head up one of the first projects in the U.S.S.R. for a turbojet engine.]

And N.P., a mathematician with the rank of assistant pro- fessor, was exploited by the interrogator Kruzhkov (yes, yes, that same thief) for his personal ends. Kruzhkov was taking correspondence courses. And so he summoned P. from the death cell and gave him problems to solve in the theory of functions of a complex variable for Kruzhkov's assignments (and probably they weren't even his either).

So what did world literature understand about pre-execution suffering?

Finally, we learn from a story of Ch------v that a death cell can be used as an element in interrogation, as a method of coercing a prisoner. Two prisoners in Krasnoyarsk who had refused to confess were suddenly summoned to a "trial," "sen- tenced" to the death penalty, and taken to the death cell. (Ch------v said: "They were subjected to a staged trial." But in a context in which every trial is staged, what word can we use to distinguish this sort of pseudo trial from the rest? A stage on a stage, or a play within a play, perhaps?) They let them get a good swallow of that deathlike life. And then they put in stoolies who were allegedly sentenced to die also and who suddenly be- gan to repent having been so stubborn during interrogation and begged the jailer to tell the interrogator that they were now ready to sign everything. They were given their confessions to sign and then taken out of the cell during the day—in other words, not to be shot.

And what about the genuine prisoners in that cell who had served as the raw material for the interrogators' game? They no doubt experienced reactions of their own when people in there "repented" and were pardoned? Well, of course, but those are the producer's costs, so to speak.

They say that Konstantin Rokossovsky, the future marshal, was twice taken into the forest at night for a supposed execution. The firing squad leveled its rifles at him, and then they dropped them, and he was taken back to prison. And this was also mak- ing use of "the supreme measure" as an interrogator's trick. But it was all right; nothing happened; and he is alive and healthy and doesn't even cherish a grudge about it.

And almost always a person obediently allows himself to be killed. Why is it that the death penalty has such a hypnotic effect? Those pardoned recall hardly anyone in their cell who offered any resistance. But there were such cases. In the Lenin- grad Kresty Prison in 1932, the prisoners sentenced to execution took the jailers' revolvers away and opened fire. Following this, a different approach was adopted: After peering through the peephole to locate the person they wanted to take, they swarmed into the cell—five armed jailers at a time—and rushed to grab their man. There were eight prisoners under sentence of death in the cell, but every one of them, after all, had sent a petition to Kalinin and every one expected a commutation, and therefore: "You today, me tomorrow." They moved away and looked on indifferently while the condemned man was tied up, while he cried out for help, while they shoved a child's rubber ball into his mouth. (Now, looking at that child's ball, could one really guess all its possible uses? What a good example for a lecturer on the dialectical method!)

Does hope lend strength or does it weaken a man? If the con- demned men in every cell had ganged up on the executioners as they came in and choked them, wouldn't this have ended the executions sooner than appeals to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee? When one is already on the edge of the grave, why not resist?

But wasn't everything foredoomed anyway, from the moment of arrest? Yet all the arrested crawled along the path of hope on their knees, as if their legs had been amputated.

Vasily Grigoryevich Vlasov remembers that night after he'd been sentenced when he was being taken through dark Kady, and four pistols were brandished on four sides of him. His main thought was: "What if they shoot right now, as a provocation, claiming I was trying to escape?" Obviously he didn't yet believe in his sentence. He still hoped to live.

They confined him in the police room. He was allowed to lie down on the desk to sleep, and two or three policemen kept continuous guard by the light of a kerosene lamp. They talked among themselves: "I kept listening and listening for four days, and I never could understand what they were being condemned for." "It's not for us to understand."

Vlasov lived in this room for five days: they were waiting for an official confirmation of the verdict in order to execute them right there in Kady; it was not easy to convoy the condemned men to some other point. Someone sent a telegram for Vlasov requesting pardon: "I do not admit my guilt, and I request that my life be spared." There was no reply. During these days Vlasov's hands shook so that he could not lift his spoon to his mouth and, instead, picked up his bowl and drank directly from it. Klyugin visited him to jeer. (Soon after the Kady case, he was transferred from Ivanovo to Moscow. That year saw swift ascendancies and swift declines among those crimson stars of the Gulag heaven. The time was approaching when they, too, would be hurled into that same pit, but they didn't know it. )

Neither confirmation nor commutation of the sentence arrived, so they had to take the four condemned men to Kineshma. They took them in four one-and-a-half-ton trucks, with one condemned man guarded by seven policemen in each truck.

In Kineshma they were put in the crypt of a monastery. (Monastery architecture, liberated from monkish ideology, was very useful for us.) At this point some other condemned prisoners were added to their group, and they were all taken in a prisoners' railroad car to Ivanovo.

In the freight yard in Ivanovo they separated three from the rest—Saburov, Vlasov, and one of the men from the other group —and immediately took the others away—to be shot—so as not to crowd the prison any further. And thus it was that Vlasov said farewell to Smirnov.

The three others were put in the courtyard of Prison No. 1 in the dank and raw October air and held there for four hours while they led out, led in, and searched other groups of prisoners in transit. There still was no actual proof that they wouldn't be shot that very day. During those four hours, they had to sit there on the ground and think about it. At one point Saburov thought they were being taken to be shot, but they were actually taken to a cell instead. He did not cry out, but he gripped his neighbor's arm so hard that the latter yelled with pain. The guards had to drag Saburov and prod him with their bayonets.

There were four death cells in this prison—in the same cor- ridor as the juvenile cells and the hospital cells! The death cells had two doors: the customary wooden door with a peephole and a door made of iron grating; each door had two locks, and the jailer and the block supervisor each had a key to a different one, so the doors could be opened only by the two together. Cell 43 was on the other side of a wall of the interrogator's office, and at night, while the condemned men were waiting to be executed, their ears were tormented by the screams of prisoners being tortured.

Vlasov was put into Cell 61. This was a cell intended for solitary confinement, sixteen feet long and a little more than three feet wide. Two iron cots were anchored to the floor by thick iron bolts, and on each cot two condemned men were lying, their heads at opposite ends. Fourteen other prisoners were lying crosswise on the cement floor.

Though it has long been well known that even a corpse has a right to three arshins of earth (and even that seemed too little to Chekhov), in this cell each of the condemned had been allotted, while waiting for death, a little less than a third of that!

Vlasov asked whether executions were carried out immedi- ately. "See for yourself. We've been here for ages and we're still alive."

The time of waiting began—of the well-known kind: the prisoners didn't sleep all night long; in a state of total depression, they waited to be led out to death; they listened for every rustling in the corridor. (And the worst thing was that endless waiting destroys the will to resist.) Particularly nerve-racking were the nights following a day on which someone received a commutation of sentence. He went off with cries of happiness, and fear thick- ened in the cell. After all, rejections as well as commutation had rolled down from the high mountain that day. And at night they would come for someone.

Sometimes the locks rattled at night and hearts fell: Is it for me? Not me! ! And the turnkey would open the wooden door for some nonsense or other: "Take your things off the window sill." That unlocking of the door probably took a year off the lives of all nineteen inmates; maybe if that door was unlocked a mere fifty times, they wouldn't have to waste bullets! But how grateful to him everyone was because everything was all right: "We'll take them off right away, citizen chief!"

After the morning visit to the toilet, they went to sleep, liberated from their fears. Then the jailer brought in the pail of gruel and said: "Good morning!" According to prison rules, the inner, iron door was supposed to be opened only in the presence of the duty officer for the prison. But, as is well known, human beings are better and lazier than their rules and instruc- tions, and in the morning the jailer came in without the duty officer and greeted them quite humanly—no, it was even more precious than that: "Good morning!"

To whom else on all the earth was that morning as good as it was to them! Grateful for the warmth of that voice and the warmth of that dishwater, they drifted off to sleep until noon. (They ate only in the morning!) Many were unable to eat when they woke during the day. Someone had received a parcel. Rela- tives might or might not know about the death sentence. Once in the cell, these parcels became common property, but they lay and rotted there in the stagnant damp.

By day there was still a little life and activity in the cell. The block supervisor might come around—either gloomy Tarakanov or friendly Makarov—and offer paper on which to write petitions, and ask whether any of them who had some money wanted to buy smokes from the commissary. Their ques- tions seemed either too outrageous or extraordinarily human: the pretense was being made that they weren't condemned men at all, was that it?

The condemned men broke off the bottoms of matchboxes, marked them like dominoes, and played away. Vlasov eased his tension by telling someone about the Consumer Cooperatives, and his narrative always took on a comic touch.

[His stories about the consumer cooperatives are remarkable and deserve to be published.]

Yakov Petrovich Kolpakov, the Chairman of the Sudogda District Executive Com- mittee, a Bolshevik since the spring of 1917 who joined up at the front, sat for dozens of days without changing his position, squeezing his head in his hands, his elbows on his knees, always staring at the same spot on the wall. (It must have been so jolly to recall the spring of 1917.) Vlasov's garrulity irritated him: "How can you?" And Vlasov snapped back at him: "And what are you doing? Preparing yourself for heaven?" Vlasov spoke with round "o's" even in a fast retort. "For myself, I've decided one thing only. I'm going to tell the executioner: 'You alone, not the judges, not the prosecutors, you alone are guilty of my death, and you are going to have to live with it! If it weren't for you willing executioners, there would be no death sen- tences!' So then let him kill me, the rat!"

Kolpakov was shot. Konstantin Sergeyevich Arkadyev, the former Manager of the Aleksandrov District Agricultural De- partment in Vladimir Province, was shot. Somehow, in his case, the farewells were particularly hard. During the night six guards came tramping in for him, making a big rush of it, while he, gentle, well mannered, kept turning around, twisting his cap in his hands, putting off the moment of his leavetaking—from the last people on earth for him. And when he said his final "Fare- well," you could hardly hear his voice.

At the very first moment, when the victim has been pointed out, the rest are relieved (It's not me!). But right after he has been taken away, the ones left behind are in a state that is hardly any easier to bear than his. All the next day, those left behind are destined to silence and they won't want to eat.

However, Geraska, the young fellow who broke up the build- ing of the village soviet, ate well and slept a lot, getting used to things, even here, with typical peasant facility. He somehow couldn't believe they would shoot him. (And they didn't. They commuted his sentence to a tenner.)

Several of the inmates turned gray in three or four days before their cellmates' eyes.

When people wait so long for execution, their hair grows, and orders are given for the whole cell to get haircuts, for the whole cell to get baths. Prison existence goes on, without regard to sentences.

Some individuals lost the ability to speak intelligibly and to understand. But they were left there to await their fate anyway. Anyone who went insane in the death cell was executed insane.

Many sentences were commuted. It was right then, in that fall of 1937, that fifteen- and twenty-year terms were introduced for the first time since the Revolution, and in many cases they replaced the executioners' bullets. There were also commuta- tions to ten-year sentences. And even to five years. In the country of miracles even such miracles as this were possible: yesterday he deserved to be executed, and this morning he gets a juvenile sentence; he is a minor criminal, and in camp he may even be able to move around without convoy.

V. N. Khomenko, a sixty-year-old Cossack captain from the Kuban, was also imprisoned in their cell. He was the "soul of the cell," if a death cell can be said to have a soul: he cracked jokes; he smiled to himself; he didn't act as if things were bad. He had become unfit for military service way back after the Japanese War, had studied horse breeding, and then served in the pro- vincial local self-government council; by the thirties he was at- tached to the Ivanovo Provincial Agricultural Department as "inspector of the horse herd of the Red Army." In other words, he was supposed to see to it that the best horses went to the army. He was arrested and sentenced to be shot for wrecking—for recom- mending that stallions be gelded before the age of three, by which means he allegedly "subverted the fighting capacity of the Red Army." Khomenko appealed the verdict. Fifty-five days later the block supervisor came around and pointed out to him that he had addressed his appeal to the wrong appeals jurisdiction. Right then and there, propping the paper against the wall and using the block supervisor's pencil, Khomenko crossed out one jurisdiction and substituted another, as if it were a request for a pack of cigarettes. Thus clumsily corrected, the appeal made the rounds for another sixty days, so Khomenko had been awaiting death for four months. (As for waiting a year or two, after all, we spend year after year waiting for the angel of death! Isn't our whole world just a death cell? ) And one day complete rehabilitation for Khomenko arrived. (In the interval since his sentence, Voroshilov had given orders that gelding should be done before age three.) Die one minute and dance the next!

Many sentences were commuted, and many prisoners had high hopes. But Vlasov, comparing his case with those of the others, and keeping in mind his conduct at the trial as the principal factor, felt that things were likely to go badly for him. They had to shoot someone. They probably had to shoot at least half of those condemned to death. So he came to believe they would shoot him. And he wanted just one thing—not to bow his head when it happened. That recklessness which was one of his charac- teristics returned to him and increased within him, and he was all set to be bold and brazen to the very end.

And an opportunity came his way. Making the rounds of the prison for some reason—most likely just to give himself a thrill —the Chief of the Investigation Department of Ivanovo State Security, Chinguli, ordered the door of their cell opened and stood on the threshold. He spoke to someone and asked: "Who is here from the Kady case?"

He was dressed in a short-sleeved silk shirt, which had just begun to appear in Russia and therefore still seemed effeminate.

And either he or his shirt was doused in a sweetish perfume that drifted into the cell.

Vlasov swiftly jumped up on the cot and shouted shrilly: "What kind of colonial officer is this? Get out of here, you murderer!" And from that height he spat juicily full into Chinguli's face.

And he hit his mark.

Chinguli wiped his face and retreated. Because he had no right to enter the cell without six guards, and maybe not even with six guards either.

A reasonable rabbit ought not to behave in that fashion. What if Chinguli had been dealing with your case at that moment and was the one to decide whether to commute or not? After all, he must have had a reason for asking: "Who is here from the Kady case?" That was probably why he came.

But there is a limit, and beyond it one is no longer willing, one finds it too repulsive, to be a reasonable little rabbit. And that is the limit beyond which rabbits are enlightened by the common understanding that all rabbits are foredoomed to become only meat and pelts, and that at best, therefore, one can gain only a postponement of death and not life in any case. That is when one wants to shout: "Curse you, hurry up and shoot!"

It was this particular feeling of rage which took hold of Vlasov even more intensely during his forty-one days of waiting for execution. In the Ivanovo Prison they had twice suggested that he write a petition for pardon, but he had refused.

But on the forty-second day they summoned him to a box where they informed him that the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet had commuted the supreme measure of punishment to twenty years of imprisonment in corrective-labor camps with dis- enfranchisement for five additional years.

The pale Vlasov smiled wryly, and even at that point words did not fail him:

"It is strange. I was condemned for lack of faith in the victory of socialism in our country. But can even Kalinin himself believe in it if he thinks camps will still be needed in our country twenty years from now?"

At the time it seemed quite inconceivable: after twenty years. Strangely, they were still needed even after thirty.

Chapter 12
Tyurzak

Oh, that good Russian word "ostróg"—meaning "jail." What a powerful word it is and how well put together. One senses in it the strength of those thick, impenetrable walls from which one cannot escape. And it is all expressed in just six letters. And it has so many interesting connotations deriving from words that are close to it in sound: as, for instance, strógost—meaning "severity"; and ostrogá—meaning "harpoon"; and ostrotá— meaning "sharpness" (the sharpness of the porcupine's quills when they land in your snout, the sharpness of the blizzard lashing your frozen face, the sharpness of the pointed stakes of the camp perimeter, and the sharpness of the barbed wire too); and the word "ostorózhnost"—meaning "caution" (a convict's caution)— is somewhere close too; and then the word "rog"—meaning "horn." Yes, indeed, the horn juts out boldly and is pointed for- ward! It is aimed straight at us.

And if one glances over all Russia's jail customs and conduct, at the entire institution during, say, the last ninety years, then you'll see not just one horn really, but two horns. The Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will") revolutionaries began at the tip of one horn, right where it gores, right where it's too excruciatingly pain- ful to take even on the breastbone. They kept wearing it down gradually until it got rounded off, shrank to a stump, and was hardly a horn any longer, and finally became just a woolly open spot (this was the beginning of the twentieth century). But then, after 1917, the first swelling of a new knob could be felt, and there, there, splaying out and with the slogan "You don't have the right!"—it began to thrust upward again, and to narrow to a point and harden, to acquire a horny surface—until by 1938 it was pinning the human being right in that gap between the collar- bone and the neck: tyurzak!

[Tyurzak=TYURemnoye ZAKlyucheniye = prison confinement. Tyurzak is an official term.]

And once a year, the single stroke of a watchman's bell could be heard in the night in the distance: "TONnnnnn!"

[TON=Tyurma Osobogo Naznacheniya=Special Purpose Prison. TON is likewise an official abbreviation.]

If we pursue this parabola with the help of one of the prisoners in the Schlüsselburg Fortress near St. Petersburg, we find that in- itially things were pretty bad.3 The prisoner had a number, and no one called him by his family name; the gendarmes acted as if they had been trained in the Lubyanka. They didn't speak a word on their own. If you stammered out: "We . . . ," the reply came: "Speak only for yourself!" The silence of the grave. The cell was in eternal shadows, the windows were frosted glass, the floor asphalt. The hinged ventilation pane in the window was open for forty minutes a day. The food consisted of grits and cabbage soup without meat. They would not allow you any scholarly books from the library. You wouldn't see another human being for two years at a stretch. Only after three years would they let you have sheets of paper—numbered.

[According to the account of M. Novorussky, from 1884 to 1906 three prisoners in Schlüsselburg committed suicide and five others went insane.]

And then, little by little, things got to be more lenient as the point of the horn got rounded off; there was white bread; and then the prisoners were allowed tea and sugar; one could have money and could buy things in addition to the rations; smoking was permitted; they put transparent glass in the windows; and the transom could be kept open all the time; they painted the walls a light color; in no time at all you could get books by subscribing to the St. Petersburg library; there were gratings between the garden plots; one could converse through them, and prisoners even delivered lectures to other prisoners. By then the prisoners were urging the prison adminis- tration: "Give us more land to work on, more!" So they planted two large prison courtyards in flowers and vegetables—no fewer than 450 varieties! And then there were scientific collections, a carpentry shop, a smithy, and they could earn money and buy books, even Russian political books, and also magazines from abroad. And they wrote their families and got letters from them. And they could go out to walk the whole day long if they liked.

[P. A. Krasikov, who, as we have seen, later condemned the Metropolitan Veniamin to death, read Marx's Capital in the Peter and Paul Fortress. (But he was there only a year, and then they let him out.)]

And gradually, as Figner recollects, "it was no longer the superintendent who shouted at the prisoners, but we who shouted at him." In 1902, because he refused to forward a protest of hers, she ripped the shoulder boards off his uniform. And the result was that a military investigator came and apologized profusely to Figner for the ignoramus superintendent!

How did that horn come to shrink and broaden? Figner ex- plains it to some extent by the humanitarian attitudes of indi- vidual prison superintendents, and also by the fact that the "gen- darmes became friendly with the prisoners," got used to them. One significant factor certainly was the prisoners' determination and dignity and adroitness in conducting themselves. But nonetheless I myself believe that it was the temper of the times: this moisture and freshness in the air which drove away the thundercloud; this breeze of freedom, which was sweeping through society, it was decisive. Without it one could have given the gendarmes instruc- tions from the Short Course every Monday, and kept tightening things up, kept putting the screws on. And instead of "impressed labor," Vera Nikolayevna Figner, for tearing off an officer's shoulder boards, would have gotten nine grams in the back of her head in a cellar.

The weakening and shaking up of the Tsarist prison system did not come about on its own, of course, but because all society, in concert with the revolutionaries, was shaking it up and ridi- culing it in every possible way. Tsarism lost its chance to survive not in the street skirmishes of February but several decades earlier, when youths from well-to-do families began to consider a prison term an honor; when army officers (even guard officers) began to regard it as dishonorable to shake the hand of a gendarme. And the more the prison system weakened, the more clearly evident were the triumphant ethics of the political prisoners, and the more visibly did the members of the revolutionary parties realize their strength and regard their own laws as superior to those of the state.

And that was how Russia of 1917 arrived, bearing 1918 on its shoulders. The reason we have proceeded immediately to 1918 is that the subject of our investigation does not permit us to dwell on 1917. In February, 1917, all political prisons, both those used for interrogation and those in which sentences were served, and all hard-labor prisons as well were emptied. It is a wonder that all the jailers managed to get through the year. Perhaps to make ends meet they simply set to work raising potatoes in their vegetable gardens. (But from 1918 on, things began to get much better for them, and at Shpalernaya Prison they were still serving the new regime even in 1928, and why not!)

In December, 1917, it had already become clear that it was altogether impossible to do without prisons, that some people simply couldn't be left anywhere except behind bars (see Chap- ter 2, above), because—well, simply because there was no place for them in the new society. And so it was that the new rulers managed to feel their way across the space between the two horns and grope for the budding of the second horn.

Of course, they proclaimed immediately that the horrors of the Tsarist prisons would not be repeated; that fatiguing correction would not be permitted; that there would be no compulsory silence in prison, no solitary confinement, no separating the prisoners from one another during outdoor walks, no marching in step and single file, not even any locked cells. Go ahead, dear guests, get together, and talk as much as you like and complain about the Bolsheviks. And the attention of the new prison authori- ties was directed toward the combat readiness of the prison guards outside the walls and the takeover of the stock of prisons inherited from the Tsar. (This was one particular part of the machinery of state that did not have to be destroyed and rebuilt from its foundations.) Fortunately, it turned out that the Civil War had not resulted in the destruction of all the principal central prisons and jails. What was really necessary, however, was to repudiate all those old, besmirched words. So now they called them political isolators—political detention centers—demonstrat- ing with this phrase their view of the members of once revolution- ary parties as political enemies and stressing not the punitive role of the bars but only the necessity of isolating (and only tempor- arily, it appeared) these old-fashioned revolutionaries from the onward march of the new society. So that was how the arches of the old central prisons (evidently including the one in Suzdal from the very beginning of the Civil War) came to receive SR's, Social Democrats, and Anarchists.

They all returned to prison with a consciousness of their rights as convicts and a long-established tradition of how to stand up for them. They accepted as their legal due a special political ration (conceded by the Tsar and confirmed by the Revolution), which included half a pack of cigarettes a day; purchases from the market (cottage cheese, milk) ; unrestricted walks outdoors during most hours of the day; being addressed with the formal personal pronoun by prison personnel and not having to stand up when addressed by them; confinement of husband and wife in the same cell; the right to have newspapers, magazines, books, writing materials, and personal articles, even including razors and scissors; sending and receiving letters three times a month; visits from rela- tives once a month; windows without bars, of course (at that time the concept of the "muzzle" did not exist) ; unrestricted visits from cell to cell; courtyards with greenery and lilacs for outdoor walks; the freedom to choose companions for outdoor walks and to toss small mailbags from one courtyard to another; and the dispatching of pregnant women from prison into exile two months before they were due to give birth.

[From 1918 on, they did not hesitate to imprison women SR's, even when they were pregnant.]

All this was just the politregime—the prison regimen for po- litical prisoners. But the political prisoners of the twenties re- membered well something even more important: self-government for political prisoners, and hence even in prison the sense of one- self as part of a whole, a member of a community. Self-govern- ment (the free election of spokesmen who represented all the interests of all the prisoners in negotiations with the prison ad- ministration) weakened the pressure on the individual because all shoulders bore it together; and it augmented each protest because all voices spoke as one.

They undertook to defend all this! And the prison authorities undertook to take it all away from them. And a silent battle began in which no artillery shells were fired, and rifle shots only rarely, and the crash of broken glass wasn't audible even half a verst away. A mute struggle went on for vestiges of freedom, for vestiges of the right to have individual opinions, and it went on for almost twenty years—but no large, richly illustrated volumes describing it have ever been published. And all its ups-and-downs, its catalogue of victories and of defeats, are almost lost to us now, because, after all, there is no written language in the Archipelago and oral communication is broken off when people die. And only random particles of that struggle have occasionally come down to us, illuminated by moonlight that is indirect and indistinct.

And since that time we have grown so supercilious! We are familiar with tank battles; we know about nuclear explosions. What kind of struggle is it over the question of whether cells are kept locked and whether prisoners, to exercise their right to com- municate, can openly spell out messages to each other by knock- ing on the walls, shout from window to window, drop notes from floor to floor on threads, and insist that at least the elected spokes- men of the various party fractions be allowed to move freely among the cells? What sort of a struggle is it to us when the chief of the Lubyanka goes into the cell and the Anarchist Anna G------va (in 1926) or the SR Katya Olitskaya (1931) refuses to stand up when he enters? And that savage beast thought up a punishment for Katya: to deprive her of the right to go to the toilet. What kind of struggle was it when two girls, Shura and Vera (in 1925), in protest against the Lubyanka rule—intended to stifle personality—that conversations may be carried on only in whispers, sang loudly in their cell (only about lilacs and the spring), and thereupon the prison chief, the Latvian Dukes, dragged them through the corridor to the toilet by their hair? Or when the students in a Stolypin car en route from Leningrad (1924) sang revolutionary songs and the convoy thereupon de- prived them of water? They yelled out: "A Tsarist convoy wouldn't have done that!" and the convoy beat them. Or when the SR Kozlov, at the transit prison in Kem, loudly called the guards "executioners"—and because of that was dragged off and beaten?

After all, we have gotten used to regarding as valor only valor in war (or the kind that's needed for flying in outer space), the kind which jingle-jangles with medals. We have forgotten another concept of valor—civil valor. And that's all our society needs, just that, just that, just that! That's all we need and that's exactly what we haven't got.

In 1923, in Vyatka Prison, the SR Struzhinsky and his com- rades (how many were there? who were they? what were they protesting against?) barricaded themselves in a cell, poured kero- sene over all the mattresses, and incinerated themselves. Now that was an act altogether in the tradition of Schlüsselburg before the Revolution; and, not to go further, what an uproar such an act provoked then, before the Revolution, and how all Russian society was aroused! But this time around neither Vyatka knew about them, nor Moscow, nor history. And yet the human flesh crackled in the flames in exactly the same way.

That was the initial purpose of imprisonment on the Solovetsky Islands (nicknamed Solovki) : it was such a good place, cut off from communication with the outside world for half a year at a time. You couldn't be heard from there no matter how loud you shouted, and you could even burn yourself up for all anyone would know. In 1923 the imprisoned socialists were transported there from Pertominsk on the Onega Peninsula—and split up among three isolated monasteries.

Take Savvatyevsky Monastery, consisting of the two buildings which had formerly been guest quarters for religious believers on pilgrimage. Part of the lake was included in the prison compound. In the early months everything seemed to be all right: they had their special political regimen, several relatives succeeded in get- ting there for visits, and three spokesmen from the three parties were wholly responsible for negotiating with the prison adminis- tration. And the monastery compound was a free zone. Inside it the prisoners could talk, think, and do as they pleased without hindrance.

But even then, at the dawn of the Archipelago, there were in- sistent unpleasant latrine rumors (not yet so called) to the effect that the special political regimen was going to be liquidated.

And, in reality, having waited until the middle of December, until the White Sea was no longer navigable, with the consequent cutoff in all communication with the outside world, the chief of the Solovetsky Camp, Eichmans, [How like Eichmann, is it not?] announced that new instruc- tions had indeed been received regarding the regimen. They wouldn't, of course, take everything away, not by any means! They would cut down on correspondence, and then on something else, too, and, as the most keenly felt measure of the lot, from that day on, December 20, 1923, the right to go in and out of prison buildings twenty-four hours a day would be curtailed— limited to the daylight hours up to 6 P.M.

The party fractions decided to protest, and the SR's and An- archists called for volunteers: on the first day of the new pro- hibition they would go outside exactly at 6 P.M. But, as it turned out, Nogtyev, the chief of the Savvatyevsky Monastery Prison, had such an itchy trigger finger that even before the appointed hour of 6 (and maybe their watches showed different times; after all, there was no checking it by radio in those days), the guards entered the compound with rifles and opened fire on the prisoners there, who were out of doors quite legally. Three volleys killed six and critically wounded three.

The next day Eichmans himself showed up: there had been an unfortunate misunderstanding. Nogtyev was removed (trans- ferred and promoted). A funeral was held for the victims. They sang in chorus across the Solovetsky wilderness:

You fell a victim in a fateful fray.

(Was not this perhaps the last occasion when that long-drawn-out melody was permitted for newly dead victims?) They pushed a great boulder onto the common grave and carved on it the names of those who had been killed.

[In 1925 the stone was overturned, and the names on it were thus buried too. Any of you who clamber about Solovki—seek it out and gaze upon it!]

One cannot say that the press concealed this event. Pravda, for example, carried a report in small type: the prisoners had attacked the convoy, and six had been killed. The honest news- paper Rote Fahne reported revolt on Solovki.

[One of the SR's in the Savvatyevsky Monastery was Yuri Podbelsky. He collected the medical documents on the Solovetsky massacre—for publica- tion at some future date. But a year later, at the Sverdlovsk Transit Prison, they discovered a false bottom in his suitcase and confiscated the material he'd hidden. And that is how Russian history stumbles and falls.]

Yet the prisoners had defended the regimen successfully! And for a whole year no one spoke of changing it.

For the whole of 1924, yes. But toward the end of the year, insistent rumors circulated again that they were planning to in- troduce a new system in December. The Dragon had grown hungry again. He wanted new victims. So even though the three monasteries in which socialists were confined—Savvatyevsky, Troitsky, and Muksalmsky—were on separate islands, they man- aged, by conspiratorial methods, to reach an agreement that all the party fractions in all three monasteries would on one and the same day deliver an ultimatum to Moscow and to the Solovki ad- ministration: They must either be removed from the Solovetsky Islands before navigation stopped or else the previous political regimen must be left unchanged. The ultimatum stipulated a time limit of two weeks, and then all three prisons would go on a hunger strike.

This kind of unity compelled attention. It wasn't the sort of thing you could allow to go in one ear and out the other. One day before the time limit expired, Eichmans visited each monas- tery and announced that Moscow had refused. And on the ap- pointed day a hunger strike began (not a dry hunger strike— water was allowed) in all three monastery prisons (which were now unable to communicate with each other). In Savvatyevsky, about two hundred people struck. Those who fell ill were ex- empted from striking. A doctor from among the prisoners ex- amined the strikers every day. A collective hunger strike is always more difficult to carry out than an individual one; after all, the weakest rather than the strongest of the strikers can determine its outcome. The only point to a hunger strike is to carry it out with implacable determination and in such a way that everyone knows everyone else involved personally and trusts them fully. Given various party fractions, given several hundred people, both dis- agreements and moral anguish on other people's behalf were in- evitable. After fifteen days, it was necessary to vote by secret ballot in Savvatyevsky—the urn with the ballots was taken from room to room—whether to continue or to lift the hunger strike.

And Moscow and Eichmans waited them out! After all, they were well fed, and there wasn't a peep from the capital news- papers about the hunger strike, and there were no student pro- test meetings at Kazan Cathedral. Silence was already confi- dently shaping our history.

The monasteries lifted the hunger strike. They had not won out, but they hadn't lost either. The political regimen was left intact for the winter, except that cutting firewood in the forests was added, but that was logical enough. And in the spring of 1925 it looked as though the hunger strike had brought victory: the prisoners from all three monastery prisons were removed from Solovki! To the mainland! No more Arctic night and no more half-year cut off from communication!

But both the convoy and their rations en route were very harsh for that time. And soon they were all perfidiously tricked: On the pretext that their spokesmen would be more comfortable in the "staff" car with the stores and equipment, they were deprived of their leaders. The "staff" car was detached at Vyatka, and the spokesmen were taken to the Tobolsk Isolator. Only at that point did it become clear that the hunger strike of the previous fall had failed. The strong and influential spokesmen had been taken away so as to tighten up on the rest. Yagoda and Katanyan personally directed the incarceration of the former Solovetsky Islands pris- oners in the long-standing but until then unused buildings of the Verkhne-Uralsk Isolator, which they thus "opened" in the spring of 1925 (under Chief Dupper). It was destined to be a particular bugbear to prisoners for many decades ahead.

The relocated former Solovki prisoners immediately lost their freedom to move about. The cells were locked. They succeeded in electing spokesmen nonetheless, but the spokesmen didn't have the right to go from cell to cell. The unlimited circulation between cells of money, personal articles, and books, which had existed earlier, was now forbidden. They shouted back and forth from window to window—until the guard fired from his tower into the cells. In reply they organized a protest—they broke windowpanes and destroyed prison equipment. (And, after all, breaking a windowpane is something to think about twice. They might just not replace it all winter, and there would be no big surprise in that. It was under the Tsar that the glaziers used to come on the run.) The struggle continued, but it was now being carried on in desperation and under grave handicaps.

In the year 1928 (according to Pyotr Petrovich Rubin) some event or other precipitated a new joint hunger strike by the entire Verkhne-Uralsk Isolator. But this time the earlier stern and solemn atmosphere was absent, as were the approval of friends and a doctor of their own. On a certain day of the strike, the jailers came bursting into the cells in overwhelming numbers, and simply began to beat the weakened prisoners with clubs and boots. They beat them to within an inch of their lives—and the hunger strike ended.

From our experience of the past and our literature of the past we have derived a naïve faith in the power of a hunger strike. But the hunger strike is a purely moral weapon. It presupposes that the jailer has not entirely lost his conscience. Or that the jailer is afraid of public opinion. Only in such circumstances can it be effective.

The Tsarist jailers were still inexperienced. They got nervous if one of their prisoners went on a hunger strike; they exclaimed over it; they looked after him; they put him in the hospital. There are many examples, but this work is not about them. It is even humorous to note that it was enough for Valentinov to go on a hunger strike for twelve days: as a result, he not only achieved some relaxation in the regimen but was totally released from in- terrogation—whereupon he went to Lenin in Switzerland. Even in the Orel central hard-labor prison the strikers always won. They got the regimen relaxed in 1912 and further relaxed in 1913, to the point of general access to outdoor walks for all political hard-labor prisoners—who were obviously so unre- stricted by their supervisors that they managed to compose and send out to freedom their appeal "to the Russian people." (And this from the hard-labor prisoners of a central prison!) Further- more, it was published. (It's enough to make one's eyes pop out of one's head! Someone has to have been crazy! ) It was published in 1914 in issue No. 1 of the Vestnik Katargi i Ssylki—the Hard- Labor and Exile Herald. (And what about that Herald itself?

Should we, too, perhaps try to publish one like it?) In 1914, after only five days of a hunger strike—admittedly, without water —Dzerzhinsky and four of his comrades obtained all their nu- merous demands (which had to do with living conditions).

In those years, there were no dangers or difficulties for the prisoner beyond the torments of hunger. They could not beat him up for going on a hunger strike, nor sentence him to a second term, nor increase his term, nor shoot him, nor send him off on a prisoner transport. (All this was to come later on.)

In the Revolution of 1905 and the years following it, the prisoners felt themselves to be masters of the prison to such an extent that they did not even go to the trouble of declaring a hunger strike; they simply destroyed prison property (so-called "obstructions" ), or went so far as to declare a strike, although it might seem that for prisoners this would have hardly any mean- ing. Thus in the city of Nikolayev in 1906, 197 prisoners in the local prison declared a "strike" in conjunction with people outside. Outside the prison, leaflets in support of their strike were pub- lished and daily meetings assembled in front of the prison. These meetings (and it goes without saying that the prisoners were at the windows, which had, of course, no "muzzles") forced the administration to accept the demands of the "striking" prisoners. After this, some people on the street and others behind the bars joined in singing revolutionary songs. And things went on that way for eight days. (And nobody stopped them! It was, after all, a year of postrevolutionary repression. ) On the ninth day all the demands of the prisoners were satisfied! Similar incidents oc- curred at the time in Odessa, in Kherson, and in Yelizavetgrad. That's how easily victory was attained then.

It would be interesting, incidentally, to compare the effective- ness of hunger strikes under the Provisional Government, but those few Bolsheviks imprisoned from the July days until the Kornilov episode (Kamenev, Trotsky, and Raskolnikov for a while longer) evidently had no reason to go on a hunger strike.

In the twenties, the lively picture of hunger strikes grows clouded (though that depends, of course, on the point of view . . . ). This widely known weapon, which had justified itself so gloriously, was, of course, taken over not only by recognized "politicals" but also by those who were not recognized as such— the KR's (Article 58—Counter-Revolutionaries) and all other kinds of riffraff. However, those arrows which used to be so piercing had been blunted somehow, or else some iron hand had checked them in midflight. True, written declarations of impend- ing hunger strikes were still accepted, and nothing subversive was seen in them as yet. But unpleasant new rules were trotted out: The hunger striker had to be isolated in a special solitary cell (in the Butyrki it was in the Pugachev Tower). It was essential to keep any knowledge about the hunger strike not only from people outside, who might protest publicly, and from prisoners in cells nearby, but even from those in the cell in which the hunger striker had been imprisoned until that day—for that, too, con- stituted a public, and it was necessary to separate him from it. This measure had as its nominal justification the argument that the prison administration had to make sure that the hunger strike was going on honestly—that others in the cell weren't sneaking food to the hunger striker. (And how had that been verified previously? Through honest, "cross my heart" word of honor?)

Still, it was possible in those years to achieve at least one's personal demands by this means.

From the thirties on, state thinking about hunger strikes took a new turn. What did the state want with even such watered-down, isolated, half-suppressed hunger strikes? Wasn't the ideal picture one of prisoners who had no will of their own, nor the capacity to make their own decisions—and of a prison administration that did their thinking and their deciding for them? These are, if you will, the only prisoners who can exist in the new society. And so from the beginning of the thirties, they stopped accepting declarations of hunger strikes as legal. "The hunger strike as a method of resistance no longer exists," they proclaimed to Yeka- terina Olitskaya in 1932, and they said the same thing to many others. The government has abolished your hunger strikes—and that's that. But Olitskaya refused to obey and began to fast. They let her go on fasting in solitary for fifteen days. Then they took her to the hospital and put milk and dried crusts in front of her to tempt her. But she stood firm, and on the nineteenth day she won her victory: she got an extended outdoor period and news- papers and parcels from the Political Red Cross. (That's how one had to moan and groan in order to receive those legitimate relief parcels!) Overall, however, it was an insignificant victory and paid for too dearly. Olitskaya recalls such foolish hunger strikes on the part of others too: people starved up to twenty days in order to get delivery of a parcel or a change of companions for their outdoor walk. Was it worth it? After all, in the New Type Prison one's strength, once lost, could not be restored. The religious-sect member Koloskov fasted until he died on the twenty-fifth day. Could one in general permit oneself to fast in the New Type Prison? After all, the new prison heads, operating in secrecy and silence, had acquired several powerful methods of combating hunger strikes:

1. Patience on the part of the administration. (We have seen enough of what this meant from preceding examples.)

2. Deception. This, too, can be practiced thanks to total secrecy. When every step is reported by the newspapers, you aren't going to do much deceiving. But in our country, why not? In 1933, in the Khabarovsk Prison, S. A. Chebotaryev, demand- ing that his family be informed of his whereabouts, fasted for seventeen days. (He had come from the Chinese Eastern Railroad in Manchuria and then suddenly disappeared, and he was worried about what his wife might be thinking. ) On the seventeenth day, Zapadny, the Deputy Chief of the Provincial GPU, and the Khabarovsk Province prosecutor (their ranks indicate that lengthy hunger strikes were really not so frequent) came to see him and showed him a telegraph receipt (There, they said, they had in- formed his wife!), and thus persuaded him to take some broth. And the receipt was a fake! (Why had these high-ranking officials gone to this trouble? Not, certainly, for Chebotaryev's life. Evi- dently, in the first half of the thirties there was still some sort of personal responsibility on the part of higher-ups for long-drawn- out hunger strikes.)

3. Forced artificial feeding. This method was adapted, with- out any question, from experience with wild animals in captivity. And it could be employed only in total secrecy. By 1937 arti- ficial feeding was, evidently, already in wide use. For example, in the group hunger strike of socialists in the Yaroslavl Central Prison, artificial feeding was forced on everyone on the fifteenth day.

Artificial feeding has much in common with rape. And that's what it really is: four big men hurl themselves on one weak being and deprive it of its one interdiction—they only need to do it once and what happens to it next is not important. The element of rape inheres in the violation of the victim's will: "It's not going to be the way you want it, but the way I want it; lie down and sub- mit." They pry open the mouth with a flat disc, then broaden the crack between the jaws and insert a tube: "Swallow it." And if you don't swallow it, they shove it farther down anyway and then pour liquefied food right down the esophagus. And then they massage the stomach to prevent the prisoner from resorting to vomiting. The sensation is one of being morally defiled, of sweetness in the mouth, and a jubilant stomach gratified to the point of delight.

Science did not stand still, and other methods were developed for artificial feeding: an enema through the anus, drops through the nose.

4. A new view of the hunger strike: that hunger strikes are a continuation of counterrevolutionary activity in prison, and must be punished with a new prison term. This aspect promised to give rise to a very rich new category in the practices of the New Type Prison, but it remained essentially in the realm of threats. And it was not, of course, any sense of humor that cut it short, but most likely simple laziness: why bother with all that when patience will take care of it? Patience and more patience—the patience of a well-fed person vis-à-vis one who is starving.

Approximately in the middle of 1937, a new directive came: From now on the prison administration will not in any respect be responsible for those dying on hunger strikes! The last vestige of personal responsibility on the part of the jailers had disap- peared! (In these circumstances, the prosecutor of the province would not have come to visit Chebotaryev!) Furthermore, so that the interrogator shouldn't get disturbed, it was also announced that days spent on hunger strike by a prisoner under interroga- tion should be crossed off the official interrogation period. In other words, it should not only be considered that the hunger strike had not taken place, but the prisoner should be regarded as not having been in prison at all during the period of the strike. Thus the interrogator would not be to blame for being behind schedule. Let the only perceptible result of the hunger strike be the prisoner's exhaustion!

And that meant: If you want to kick the bucket, go ahead!

Arnold Rappoport had the misfortune to declare a hunger strike in the Archangel NKVD Internal Prison at the very moment when this directive arrived. It was a particularly severe form of hunger strike, and that ought, it would seem, to have given it more impact. His was a "dry" strike—without fluids— and he kept it up for thirteen days. (Compare the five-day "dry" strike of Dzerzhinsky, who probably wasn't isolated in a separate cell. And who in the end won total victory.) And during those thirteen days in solitary, to which Rappoport had been moved, only a medical assistant looked in now and then. No doctor came. And no one from the administration took the slightest interest in what he was demanding with his hunger strike. They never even asked him. The only attention the administration paid him was to search his cell carefully, and they managed to dig out some hidden makhorka and several matches. What Rappoport wanted was to put an end to the interrogator's humiliation of him. He had prepared for his hunger strike in a thoroughly scientific way. He had received a food parcel earlier, and so he ate only butter and ring-shaped rolls, baranki, and he quit eating black bread a week before his strike. He starved until he could see the light through his hands. He recalls experiencing a sensation of lightheadedness and clarity of thought. At a certain moment, a kindly, compassionate woman jailer named Marusya came to his cell and whispered to him: "Stop your hunger strike; it isn't going to help; you'll just die! You should have done it a week earlier." He listened to her and called off his hunger strike without having gotten anywhere at all. Nevertheless, they gave him hot red wine and a roll, and afterward the jailers took him back to the common cell in a hand-carry. A few days later, his interrogation began again. But the hunger strike had not been entirely useless: the interrogator had come to understand that Rappoport had will power enough and no fear of death, and he eased up on the interrogation. "Well, now, it turns out you are quite a wolf," the interrogator said to him. "A wolf!" Rappoport affirmed. "And I'll certainly never be your dog."

Rappoport declared another hunger strike later on, at the Kotlas Transit Prison, but it turned out somewhat comically. He announced that he was demanding a new interrogation, and that he would not board the prisoner transport. They came to him on the third day: "Get ready for the prisoner transport." "You don't have the right. I'm on a hunger strike!" At that point four young toughs picked him up, carried him off, and tossed him into the bath. After the bath, they carried him to the guardhouse. With nothing else left to do, Rappoport stood up and went to join the column of prisoners boarding the prisoner transport—after all, there were dogs and bayonets at his back.

And that is how the New Type Prison defeated bourgeois hunger strikes.

Even a strong man had no way left him to fight the prison machine, except perhaps suicide. But is suicide really resistance? Isn't it actually submission?

The SR Yekaterina Olitskaya thinks that the Trotskyites, and, subsequently, the Communists who followed them into prison, did a great deal to weaken the hunger strike as a weapon for fighting back: they declared hunger strikes too easily and lifted them too easily. She says that even the Trotskyite leader I. N. Smirnov, after going on a hunger strike four days before their Moscow trial, quickly surrendered and lifted it. They say that up to 1936 the Trotskyites rejected any hunger strike against the Soviet government on principle, and never supported SR's and Social Democrats who were on hunger strikes.

[But they always demanded support for themselves from the SR's and Social Democrats. On a prisoner transport to Karaganda and the Kolyma in 1936, they addressed as traitors and provocateurs all those who refused to sign their telegram to Kalinin protesting "against sending the vanguard of the Revolution [i.e., themselves] to the Kolyma." (The story was told by Mako- tinsky.)]

Let history say how true or untrue that reproach is. However, no one paid for hunger strikes so much and so grievously as the Trotskyites. (We will come to their hunger strikes and their strikes in camps in Part III.)

Excessive haste in declaring and lifting hunger strikes was probably characteristic of impetuous temperaments which reveal their feelings too quickly. But there were, after all, such natures, such characters, among the old Russian revolutionaries, too, and there were similar temperaments in Italy and France, but no- where, either in prerevolutionary Russia, in Italy, or in France, were the authorities so successful in discouraging hunger strikes as in the Soviet Union. There was probably no less physical sacrifice and no less spiritual determination in the hunger strikes in the second quarter of our century than there had been in the first. But there was no public opinion in the Soviet Union. And on that basis the New Type Prison waxed and grew strong. And instead of easy victories, the prisoners suffered hard-earned de- feats.

Decades passed and time produced its own results. The hunger strike—the first and most natural weapon of the prisoner—in the end became alien and incomprehensible to the prisoners themselves. Fewer and fewer desired to undertake them. And to prison administrations the whole thing began to seem either plain stupidity or else a malicious violation.

When, in 1960, Gennady Smelov, a nonpolitical offender, declared a lengthy hunger strike in the Leningrad prison, the prosecutor went to his cell for some reason (perhaps he was making his regular rounds) and asked him: "Why are you tor- turing yourself?"

And Smelov replied: "Justice is more precious to me than life."

This phrase so astonished the prosecutor with its irrelevance that the very next day Smelov was taken to the Leningrad Special Hospital (i.e., the insane asylum) for prisoners. And the doctor there told him:

"We suspect you may be a schizophrenic."

Along the rings of the horn, where it began to narrow to its point, the former central prisons arose, rechristened, by the be- ginning of 1937, the "special isolators." The last little weaknesses were now being squeezed out of the system, the last vestiges of light and air. And the hunger strike of the tired socialists, their numbers sparse by now, in the Yaroslavl Penalty Isolator at the beginning of 1937 was one of their last, desperate efforts.

They were still demanding that everything should be restored to what it once had been. They were demanding both the election of spokesmen and free communication between cells, but it is unlikely that even they had hopes of this any longer. By a fifteen- day hunger strike, even though it ended with their being force- fed through a tube, they had apparently succeeded in defending some portions of their regimen: a one-hour period outdoors, access to the provincial newspaper, notebooks for their writing. These they kept. But the authorities promptly took away their personal belongings and threw at them the common prison cloth- ing of the special isolator. And a little while later, they cut half an hour off their time outdoors. And then they reduced it by another fifteen minutes.

These were the same people who were being dragged through a sequence of prisons and exiles according to the rules of the Big Solitaire. Some hadn't lived an ordinary, decent human life for ten years; some for fifteen; all they had was this meager prison life, with hunger strikes to boot. A few who had gotten used to winning out over the prison administrations before the Revolu- tion were still alive. However, before the Revolution they were marching in step with Time against a weakening enemy. And now Time was against them and allied with an enemy growing steadily stronger. Among them were young people too (how strange that seems to us nowadays)—those who considered them- selves SR's, Social Democrats, or Anarchists even after the parties themselves had been battered out of existence—and the only future these new recruits had to look forward to was life in prison.

The loneliness surrounding the entire prison struggle of the socialists, which became more hopeless with every year that passed, grew more and more acute, approaching a vacuum in the end. That was not how it had been under the Tsar: Throw open the prison doors and the public greeted them with flowers. Now they leafed through the newspapers and saw that they were being drenched in vituperation, with slops even. (For it was the socialists, after all, whom Stalin saw as the most dan- gerous enemies of his socialism.) And the people were silent. And what could give them any reason to dare suppose that the people had any kindly feelings left toward those they had not long before elected to the Constituent Assembly? And finally the newspapers stopped showering profanity on them because Rus- sian socialists had by that time come to seem so unimportant and so impotent and even nonexistent. By this time these socialists were remembered outside in freedom only as something belong- ing to the past—the distant past. And young people hadn't the slightest idea that SR's and Mensheviks were still alive some- where. And in the sequence of Chimkent and Cherdyn exile, and the Verkhne-Uralsk and Vladimir isolators—how could they not tremble in their dark solitary-confinement cells, cells with "muzzles" by this time, and feel that perhaps their program and their leaders had been mistaken, that perhaps their tactics and actions had been mistaken too? And all their actions began to seem nothing but inaction—and their lives, devoted only to suffering, a fatal delusion.

Their lonely prison struggle had been essentially undertaken for all of us, for all future prisoners (even though they themselves might not think so, nor understand this), for how we would exist in imprisonment and how we would be kept there. And if they had won out, then probably nothing of what happened to us would have happened, nothing of what this book is about, all seven of its parts.

But they were beaten. They failed to protect either themselves or us.

In part, too, the canopy of loneliness spread over them because, in the very first postrevolutionary years, having naturally accepted from the GPU the well-merited identification of politicals, they naturally agreed with the GPU that all who were "to the right" [ I do not like these "left" and "right" classifications; they are conditional concepts, they are loosely bandied about, and they do not convey the essence.] of them, beginning with the Cadets, were not politicals but KR's —Counter-Revolutionaries—the manure of history. And they also regarded as KR's those who suffered for their faith in Christ. And whoever didn't know what "right" or "left" meant —and that, in the future, would be all of us—they considered to be KR's also. And thus it was that, in part voluntarily, in part involuntarily, keeping themselves aloof and shunning others, they gave their blessing to the future "Fifty-eight" into whose maw they themselves would disappear.

Objects and actions change their aspect quite decisively de- pending on the position of the observer. In this chapter we have been describing the prison stand of the socialists from their point of view. And, as you see, it is illuminated by a pure and tragic light. But those KR's whom the politicals treated so con- temptuously on Solovki, those KR's recall the politicals in their own way! "The politicals? What a nasty crowd they were: they looked down their noses at everyone else; they stuck to their own group; they demanded their own special rations all the time and their own special privileges. And they kept quarreling among themselves incessantly." And how can one but feel that there is truth here too? All those fruitless and endless arguments which by now are merely comical. And those demands for additional rations for themselves in comparison with the masses of the hungry and impoverished? In the Soviet period, the honorable appellation of politicals turned out to be a poisoned gift. And then another reproach followed immediately: Why was it that the socialists, who used to escape so easily under the Tsar, had become so soft in Soviet prisons? Where are their escapes? In general there were quite a few escapes, but who can remember any socialists among them?

And, in turn, those prisoners "to the left" of the socialists—the Trotskyites and the Communists—shunned the socialists, con- sidering them exactly the same kind of KR's as the rest, and they closed the moat of isolation around them with an encircling ring.

The Trotskyites and the Communists, each considering their own direction more pure and lofty than all the rest, despised and even hated the socialists (and each other) who were imprisoned behind the bars of the same buildings and went outdoors to walk in the same prison courtyards. Yekaterina Olitskaya recalls that in 1937, at the transit prison on Vanino Bay, when the socialists called to each other across the fence between the men's and women's compounds, looking for fellow socialists and report- ing news, the Communists Liza Kotik and Mariya Krutikova were indignant because they might bring down punishment on them all by such irresponsible behavior. They said: "All our mis- fortunes are due to those socialist rats! [A profound explanation, and so dialectical too!] They should be choked!" And those two girls in the Lubyanka in 1925, whom I have already mentioned, sang about spring and lilacs only because one of them was an SR and the second a member of the Communist opposition, and they had no political song in common, and in fact the Com- munist-deviationist girl shouldn't really have joined the SR girl in her protest at all.

And if in a Tsarist prison the different parties often joined forces in a common struggle (let us recall in this connection the escape from the Sevastopol Central Prison), in Soviet prisons each political group tried to ensure its own purity by steering clear of the others. The Trotskyites struggled on their own, apart from the socialists and Communists; the Communists didn't struggle at all, for how could one allow oneself to struggle against one's own government and one's own prison?

It turned out in consequence that the Communists in isolators and in prisons for long-termers were restricted earlier and more cruelly than others. In 1928, in the Yaroslavl Central Prison, the Communist Nadezhda Surovtseva went outdoors for fresh air in a single-file column that was forbidden to engage in con- versation, while the socialists were still chattering in their own groups. She was not permitted to tend the flowers in the courtyard —because they had been left by previous prisoners who had struggled for their rights. And they deprived her of newspapers too. (However, the Secret Political Department of the GPU permitted her to have complete sets of Marx and Engels, Lenin and Hegel in her cell.) Her mother's visit to her took place virtually in the dark, and her downcast mother died soon after- ward. (What must she have thought of her daughter's circum- stances in prison?)

The difference between the treatment of socialist prisoners and that of the Communists persisted many years, went far beyond this, and extended to a difference in rewards: in 1937-1938 the socialists were imprisoned like the rest and they all got their tenners too. But, as a rule, they were not forced to denounce themselves: they had, after all, never hidden their own, special, individual views—which were quite enough to get them sen- tenced. But a Communist had no special, individual views, so what, then, was he to be sentenced for if a self-denunciation wasn't forced out of him?

Even though the enormous Archipelago was already spreading across the land, the prisons for long-termers didn't fall into decay. The old jail tradition was being zealously carried on. Every- thing new and invaluable which the Archipelago had contributed to the indoctrination of the masses was still not enough in itself.

The deficiency was provided for by the complementary existence of the TON's—the Special Purpose Prisons—and prisons for long-termers in general.

Not everyone swallowed up by the Great Machine was allowed to mingle with the natives of the Archipelago. Well-known foreigners, individuals who were too famous or who were being held secretly, purged gaybisty, could not by any means be seen openly in camps; their hauling a barrow did not compensate for the disclosure and the consequent moral-political damage.

[This term actually exists! And it has a sky-blue swampy coloration!]

In the same way, the socialists, who were engaged in a continuous struggle for their prison rights, could not conceivably be permitted to mingle with the masses but had to be kept separately and, in fact, suffocated separately—in view of their special privileges and rights. Much later on, in the fifties, as we shall learn later in this work, the Special Purpose Prisons were also needed to isolate camp rebels. And in the last years of his life, disappointed in the possibilities of "reforming" thieves, Stalin gave orders that various ringleaders of the thieves should also get tyurzak rather than camp. And then, to be sure, it was necessary for the state to support free of charge in prison those prisoners who because of their feebleness would have immediately died off in camp and would thus have shirked their duty to serve out their terms. And others who couldn't possibly be used in camp work—like the blind Kopeikin, a man of seventy who used to sit all day long in the market in Yuryevets on the Volga. His songs and facetious comments won him ten years for KRD—Counter-Revolutionary Activity—but in his case they had to substitute prison for camp.

The inventory of old jails, inherited from the Romanov dynasty, was, of necessity, looked after, remodeled, strengthened, and perfected. Certain central prisons, like the one in Yaroslavl, were so well and suitably appointed (doors plated with iron; table, stool, and cot permanently anchored in each cell) that the only thing required to bring them up to date was the installation of "muzzles" on the windows and the fencing in of the courtyards where the prisoners walked in order to reduce them to the size of a cell (by 1937 all the trees on prison grounds had been cut down, all vegetable gardens plowed under, and all grassy areas paved with asphalt). Others, like the one in Suzdal, required new equipment, and the monastery arrangement had to be remodeled, but, after all, self-incarceration of a body in a monastery and its incarceration in a prison by the state serve physically similar purposes, and therefore the buildings were always easy to adapt. One of the buildings of the Sukhanovka Monastery was adapted for use as a prison for long-termers. Of course, it was also neces- sary to make up for losses from the Tsarist inventory: the con- version of the Peter and Paul Fortress in Leningrad and of Schlüsselburg near Leningrad into museums for tourists. The Vladimir Central Prison was expanded and added to—with a big new building constructed under Yezhov. It was heavily used and garnered many prisoners over those decades. We have already mentioned how the Tobolsk Central Prison was in- augurated, and that Verkhne-Uralsk was opened in 1925 for continuous and abundant use. (To our misfortune, all these isola- tors are still in use and are in operation at the moment these lines are being written.) From Tvardovsky's poem "Distance Beyond Distance" one can draw the conclusion that the Aleksandrovsk Central Prison wasn't empty in Stalin's time either. We have less information about the one in Orel: it is feared that it suffered serious damage during World War II. But not far from it was the well-equipped prison for long-termers in Dmitrovsk-Or- lovsky.

During the twenties the prisoner's food was very decent in the isolators for politicals (still called "politizakrytki"—"political lock-ups"—by the prisoners): the lunches always included some meat; fresh vegetables were served; milk could be bought in the commissary. In 1931-1933 the food deteriorated sharply, but things were no better out in freedom at that time. Both scurvy and dizziness from lack of food were no rarity in the prisons for politicals in those years. Later on the food improved, but it was never the same as before. In 1947, in the Vladimir TON, I. Korneyev was constantly hungry: one pound of bread, two pieces of sugar, two hot dishes which were not at all filling; the only thing available in unlimited quantities was boiling water. (It will, of course, be said once more that this was not a typical year and there was hunger outside in freedom, too, at the time. This was when they generously allowed freedom to feed prison: unlimited parcels were permitted.) The light in cells was always "rationed," so to speak, in both the thirties and the forties: the "muzzles" on the windows and the frosted reinforced glass created a perma- nent twilight in the cells (darkness is an important factor in causing depression). They often stretched netting above the window "muzzle," and in the winter it was covered with snow, which cut off this last access to the light. Reading became no more than a way of ruining one's eyes. In the Vladimir TON, they made up for this lack of light at night: bright electric lights burned all night long, preventing sleep. And in the Dmitrovsk Prison in 1938 (N. A. Kozyrev), there was light in the evenings and at night—a kerosene lamp on a little shelf way up near the ceiling, that burned away and smoked up the last air; in 1939 there were electric lights that glowed red at half-voltage. Air was "rationed" too. The hinged panes for ventilation were kept locked, and opened only during the interval of the prisoners' trip to the toilet, as prisoners recall from both Dmitrovsk and Yaroslavl prisons. (Y. Ginzburg: The bread grew moldy between morning and lunchtime; the sheets were damp, and the walls green.) In Vladimir in 1948 there was no lack of air, because the transom was open permanently. Walks outdoors ranged from fifteen to forty-five minutes at various hours in various prisons.

There was no such thing as the communication with the soil that had existed in Schlüsselburg or Solovki; everything that grew had been torn up by the roots, trampled, covered with concrete and asphalt. They even forbade lifting up one's head to the heavens during the walks: "Look at your feet!" This was the command both Kozyrev and Adamova remember from the Kazan Prison. Visits from relatives were forbidden in 1937 and never renewed. Letters could be sent to close relatives twice a month and could be received from them in most years. (But in Kazan they had to be returned to the administration the day after they had been read.) Access to the commissary to make purchases with the money sent in specifically limited amounts was usually permitted. Furniture was no unimportant part of the prison regimen. Adamova wrote eloquently of her happiness at finding a simple wooden cot with a straw mattress and a simple wooden table in her cell in Suzdal, after having had only cots that folded into the wall and chairs anchored to the floor. In the Vladimir TON, I. Korneyev experienced two different prison regimens:

Under one, in 1947-1948, personal articles were not removed from the cell; one could lie down during the day; and the turnkey very seldom looked through the peephole. But under the other, in 1949-1953, the cell was locked with two locks (the respon- sibility of the turnkey and duty officer respectively); one was for- bidden to lie down, forbidden to talk in a normal voice (in Kazan, only in a whisper) ; personal articles were all taken away; a uniform of striped mattress ticking was issued; correspondence was permitted only twice a year and only on those days announced without warning by the chief of the prison (anyone who missed that day couldn't write), and only a sheet of paper half the size of a postal sheet could be used; violent searches and unscheduled visits were frequent, requiring the complete turning out of one's belongings and undressing down to one's skin. Communication between cells was prohibited to such an extent that the jailers went through the toilets with a portable lantern after each toilet visit and searched in each hole. The entire cell would get punish- ment cells for graffiti in the toilets. The punishment cells were a scourge in the Special Purpose Prisons. One could get into a punishment cell for coughing. ("Cover your head with your blanket. Then you can cough!") Or for walking around the cell (Kozyrev: "It was considered to be rebellious"); for the noise made by one's shoes. (In the Kazan Prison women had been issued men's shoes that were much too large for women's feet— size 10½.) Incidentally, Ginzburg was correct in concluding that periods in a punishment cell were meted out not for any particular misdemeanor but according to a schedule: every pri- soner was required to spend some time there in order to learn what it was like. And the rules included another generally appli- cable point: "In the event of any display of unruliness in a punish- ment cell [?], the chief of the prison has the right to extend the term of incarceration there to twenty days." Just what was meant by unruliness? Here's what happened to Kozyrev. (The descrip- tions of the punishment cell and much else in the prison regimen tally to such an extent among all sources that the stamp of a single system of administrative rules can be detected.) He was given another five days in the punishment cell for pacing back and forth. In the autumn, the building containing the punishment cells was unheated, and it was very cold. They forced prisoners to undress down to their underwear and to take off their shoes. The floor was bare earth and dust (it might be wet dirt; and in the Kazan Prison it might even be covered with water). Kozyrev had a stool in his. (Ginzburg had none in hers.) He immediately concluded that he would perish, that he would freeze to death.

But some kind of mysterious inner warmth gradually made itself felt, and it was his salvation. He learned to sleep sitting on his stool. They gave him a mug of hot water three times a day; it made him drunk. One of the duty officers, in violation of the rules, pressed a piece of sugar into his ten-and-a-half-ounce bread ration. On the basis of the rations issued him, and by observing the light from some faraway, tiny, labyrinthine window, Kozyrev kept count of the days. His five days had come to an end, but he had not been released. His sense of hearing had be- come extremely acute and he heard whispers in the corridor— having to do with either "the sixth" or "six days." This was a provocation: they were waiting for him to say that his five days were over and that it was time to let him out. That would have constituted unruliness, for which his stay in the punishment cell would have been prolonged. But he sat silent and obedient for another day, and then they let him out, just as if everything had been the way it was supposed to be. (Perhaps the chief of the prison used this method for testing all the prisoners in turn for submissiveness? And then he could sentence all those who weren't yet submissive enough to further terms in the punishment cell.) After the punishment cell the ordinary cell seemed like a palace. Kozyrev became deaf for half a year, and he began to get abscesses in his throat. His cellmate went insane from frequent imprisonment in the punishment cell, and Kozyrev was kept locked up with an insane man for more than a year, with just the two of them there. (Nadezhda Surovtseva recalls many cases of insanity in political isolators—she herself recalls as many as Novorussky totaled up in the whole chronicle of Schlüsselburg. )

Does it not at this point seem to the reader that we have gradually, step by step, mounted to the very point, the peak, of the second horn—and that it is probably really higher than the first? And probably sharper too?

But opinions are divided. With one voice the old camp veterans consider the Vladimir TON of the fifties a resort. That is how Vladimir Borisovich Zeldovich, sent there from Abez Station, regarded it, and Anna Petrovna Skripnikova, who was sent there in 1956 from the Kemerovo camps. Skripnikova was particularly astonished at the regular dispatch, every ten days, of petitions and declarations (she even began to write, believe it or not, to the United Nations) and by the excellent library, including books in foreign languages: they used to bring the complete catalogue to the cell and you made out a list for a whole year ahead.

It is also necessary to keep in mind how elastic our law is: thousands of women ("wives") were sentenced to prison, to tyurzak. And then one fine day someone whistled—and they were transferred to camps. (The Kolyma hadn't fulfilled the gold plan.) And so they switched them, without any trial or any court.

In fact, does tyurzak actually exist at all, or is it only the vestibule for the camps?

And only here, right here, is where our chapter ought to have begun. It ought to have examined that glimmering light which, in time, the soul of the lonely prisoner begins to emit, like the halo of a saint. Torn from the hustle-bustle of everyday life in so absolute a degree that even counting the passing minutes puts him intimately in touch with the Universe, the lonely prisoner has to have been purged of every imperfection, of everything that has stirred and troubled him in his former life, that has prevented his muddied waters from settling into transparency. How grate- fully his fingers reach out to feel and crumble the lumps of earth in the vegetable garden (but, alas, it is all asphalt). How his head rises of itself toward the Eternal Heavens (but, alas, this is forbidden). And how much touching attention the little bird on the window sill arouses in him (but, alas, there is that "muzzle" there, and the netting as well, and the hinged ventilation pane is locked). And what clear thoughts, what sometimes surprising conclusions, he writes down on the paper issued him (but, alas, only if you buy it in the commissary, and only if you turn it in to the prison office when you have used it up—for eternal safe- keeping . . .).

But our peevish qualifications somehow interrupt our line of thought. The plan of our chapter creaks and cracks, and we no longer know the answer to the question: Is the soul of a person in the New Type Prison, in the Special Purpose Prison (the TON), purified or does it perish once and for all?

If the first thing you see each and every morning is the eyes of your cellmate who has gone insane, how then shall you save yourself during the coming day? Nikolai Aleksandrovich Kozyrev, whose brilliant career in astronomy was interrupted by his arrest, saved himself only by thinking of the eternal and in- finite: of the order of the Universe—and of its Supreme Spirit; of the stars; of their internal state; and what Time and the pass- ing of Time really are.

And in this way he began to discover a new field in physics. And only in this way did he succeed in surviving in the Dmi- trovsk Prison. But his line of mental exploration was blocked by forgotten figures. He could not build any further—he had to have a lot of figures. Now just where could he get them in his solitary- confinement cell with its overnight kerosene lamp, a cell into which not even a little bird could enter? And the scientist prayed: "Please, God! I have done everything I could. Please help me! Please help me continue!"

At this time he was entitled to receive one book every ten days (by then he was alone in the cell). In the meager prison library were several different editions of Demyan Bedny's Red Concert, which kept coming around to each cell again and again. Half an hour passed after his prayer; they came to ex- change his book; and as usual, without asking anything at all, they pushed a book at him. It was entitled A Course in Astro- physics! Where had it come from? He simply could not imagine such a book in the prison library. Aware of the brief duration of this coincidence, Kozyrev threw himself on it and began to mem- orize everything he needed immediately, and everything he might need later on. In all, just two days had passed, and he had eight days left in which to keep his book, when there was an unscheduled inspection by the chief of the prison. His eagle eye noticed immediately. "But you are an astronomer?" "Yes." "Take this book away from him!" But its mystical arrival had opened the way for his further work, which he then continued in the camp in Norilsk.

And so now we should begin the chapter on the conflict be- tween the soul and the bars.

But what is this? The jailer's key is rattling brazenly in the lock. The gloomy block superintendent is there with a long list. "Last name, first name, patronymic? Date of birth? Article of the Code? Term? End of term? Get your things together. Be quick about it!"

Well, brothers, a prisoner transport! A prisoner transport! We're off to somewhere! Good Lord, bless us! Shall we gather up our bones?

Well, here's what: If we are still alive, then we'll finish this story another time. In Part IV. If we are still alive . . .

END OF PART I

Chapter 1
The Ships
of the Archipelago

Scattered from the Bering Strait almost to the Bosporus are thousands of islands of the spellbound Archipelago. They are invisible, but they exist. And the invisible slaves of the Archipel- ago, who have substance, weight, and volume, have to be trans- ported from island to island just as invisibly and uninterruptedly.

And by what means are they to be transported? On what?

Great ports exist for this purpose—transit prisons; and smaller ports—camp transit points. Sealed steel ships also exist: railroad cars especially christened zak cars ("prisoner cars"). And out at the anchorages, they are met by similarly sealed, versatile Black Marias rather than by sloops and cutters. The zak cars move along on regular schedules. And, whenever necessary, whole caravans—trains of red cattle cars—are sent from port to port along the routes of the Archipelago.

All this is a thoroughly developed system! It was created over dozens of years—not hastily. Well-fed, uniformed, unhurried people created it. The Kineshma convoy waits at the Moscow Northern Station at 1700 hours on odd-numbered days to accept Black Marias from the Butyrki, Krasnaya Presnya, and Taganka prisons. The Ivanovo convoy has to arrive at the station at 0600 hours on even-numbered days to receive and hold in custody transit prisoners for Nerekhta, Bezhetsk, and Bologoye.

All this is happening right next to you, you can almost touch it, but it's invisible (and you can shut your eyes to it too). At the big stations the loading and unloading of the dirty faces takes place far, far from the passenger platform and is seen only by switchmen and roadbed inspectors. At smaller stations a blind alleyway between two warehouses is preferred, into which the Black Marias can back so that their steps are flush with the steps of the zak car. The convict doesn't have time to look at the station, to see you, or to look up and down the train. He gets to look only at the steps. (And sometimes the lower step is waist- high, and he hasn't the strength to climb up on it.) And the con- voy guards, who have blocked off the narrow crossing from the Black Maria to the zak car, growl and snarl: "Quick, quick! Come on, come on!" And maybe even brandish their bayonets.

And you, hurrying along the platform with your children, your suitcases, and your string bags, are too busy to look closely: Why is that second baggage car hitched onto the train? There is no identification on it, and it is very much like a baggage car —and the gratings have diagonal bars, and there is darkness behind them. But then why are soldiers, defenders of the Father- land, riding in it, and why, when the train stops, do two of them march whistling along on either side and peer down under the car?

The train starts—and a hundred crowded prisoner destinies, tormented hearts, are borne along the same snaky rails, behind the same smoke, past the same fields, posts, and haystacks as you, and even a few seconds sooner than you. But outside your window even less trace of the grief which has flashed past is left in the air than fingers leave in water. And in the familiar life of the train, which is always exactly the same—with its slit- openable package of bed linen, and tea served in glasses with metal holders—could you possibly grasp what a dark and sup- pressed horror has been borne through the same sector of Euclidean space just three seconds ahead of you? You are dis- satisfied because there are four of you in your compartment and it is crowded. And could you possibly believe—and will you possibly believe when reading these lines—that in the same size compartment as yours, but up ahead in that zak car, there are fourteen people? And if there are twenty-five? And if there are thirty?

The zak car—what a foul abbreviation it is! As, for that matter, are all the executioners' abbreviations. They meant to indicate that this was a railroad car for prisoners—for zaklyuchennye. But nowhere, except in prison documents, has this term caught on and stuck. The prisoners got used to calling this kind of rail- road car a Stolypin car, or, more simply, just a Stolypin.

As rail travel was introduced more widely in our Fatherland, prisoner transports changed their form. Right up to the nineties of the last century the Siberian prisoner transports moved on foot or by horse cart. As far back as 1896, Lenin traveled to Siberian exile in an ordinary third-class passenger car (with free people all around him) and shouted to the train crew that it was intolerably crowded. The painting by Yaroshenko which everyone knows, Life Is Everywhere, shows a fourth-class pas- senger car re-equipped in very naive fashion for prisoner trans- port: everything has been left just as it was, and the prisoners are traveling just like ordinary people, except that double grat- ings have been installed on the windows. Cars of this type were used on Russian railroads for a very long time. And certain people remember being transported as prisoners in just such cars in 1927, except that the men and women were separated. On the other hand, the SR Trushin recalls that even during Tsarist times he was transported as a prisoner in a "Stolypin" car, except that —once again going back to legendary times—there were six people in a compartment.

Probably this type of railroad car really was first used under Stolypin, in other words before 1911. And in the general Cadet revolutionary embitterment, they christened it with his name. However, it really became the favorite means of prisoner transport only in the twenties; and it became the universal and exclusive means only from 1930 on, when everything in our life became uniform. Therefore it would be more correct to call it a Stalin car rather than a Stolypin car. But we aren't going to argue with the Russian language here.

The Stolypin car is an ordinary passenger car divided into compartments, except that five of the nine compartments are allotted to the prisoners (here, as everywhere in the Archipelago, half of everything goes to the auxiliary personnel, the guards), and compartments are separated from the corridor not by a solid barrier but by a grating which leaves them open for inspection. This grating consists of intersecting diagonal bars, like the kind one sees in station parks. It rises the full height of the car, and because of it there are not the usual baggage racks projecting from the compartments over the corridor. The windows on the cor- ridor sides are ordinary windows, but they have the same diagonal gratings on the outside. There are no windows in the prisoners' compartments—only tiny, barred blinds on the level of the second sleeping shelves. That's why the car has no exterior win- dows and looks like a baggage car. The door into each compart- ment is a sliding door: an iron frame with bars.

From the corridor side all this is very reminiscent of a me- nagerie: pitiful creatures resembling human beings are huddled there in cages, the floors and bunks surrounded on all sides by metal grilles, looking out at you pitifully, begging for something to eat and drink. Except that in menageries they never crowd the wild animals in so tightly.

According to the calculations of nonprisoner engineers, six people can sit on the bottom bunks of a Stolypin compartment, and another three can lie on the middle ones (which are joined in one continuous bunk, except for the space cut out beside the door for climbing up and getting down), and two more can lie on the baggage shelves above. Now if, in addition to these eleven, eleven more are pushed into the compartment (the last of whom are shoved out of the way of the door by the jailers' boots as they shut it), then this will constitute a normal complement for a Stolypin prisoners' compartment. Two huddle, half-sitting, on each of the upper baggage shelves; another five lie on the joined middle level (and they are the lucky ones—these places are won in battle, and if there are any prisoners present from the under- world companionship of thieves—the blatnye—then it is they who are lying there); and this leaves thirteen down below: five sit on each of the bunks and three are in the aisle between their legs. Somewhere, mixed up with the people, on the people and under the people, are their belongings. And that is how they sit, their crossed legs wedged beneath them, day after day.

No, it isn't done especially to torture people. A sentenced prisoner is a laboring soldier of socialism, so why should he be tortured? They need him for construction work. But, after all, you will agree he is not off on a jaunt to visit his mother-in-law, and there is no reason in the world to treat him so well that people out in freedom would envy him. We have problems with our transportation: he'll get there all right, and he won't die on the way either.

Since the fifties, when railroad timetables were actually straightened out, the prisoners haven't had to travel in this fashion for very long at a time—say, a day and a half or two days. During and after the war, things were worse. From Petropavlovsk (in Kazakhstan) to Karaganda, a Stolypin car might be seven days en route (with twenty-five people in a compartment). From Karaganda to Sverdlovsk it could be eight days (with up to twenty- six in a compartment). Even just going from Kuibyshev to Chel- yabinsk in August, 1945, Susi traveled in a Stolypin car for several days, and their compartment held thirty-five people lying on top of one another, floundering, fighting.

[Does this perhaps satisfy those who are astonished and reproachful be- cause people didn't fight?]

And in the autumn of 1946 N. V. Timofeyev-Ressovsky traveled from Petropavlovsk to Moscow in a compartment that had thirty-six people in it! For several days he hung suspended between other human beings and his legs did not touch the floor. Then they started to die off— and the guards hauled the corpses out from under their feet. (Not right away, true; only on the second day.) That way things became less crowded. The whole trip to Moscow continued in this fashion for three weeks.

[When he got to Moscow, a miracle took place in accordance with the laws of the country of miracles. Officers carried Timofeyev-Ressovsky from the prisoner transport in their arms, and he was driven away in an ordinary automobile: he was off to advance science!]

Was thirty-six the upper limit for a Stolypin compartment? I have no evidence available on thirty-seven or higher, and yet, adhering to our one-and-only scientific method, and remembering the necessity to struggle against "the limiters," we are compelled to reply: No, no, no! It is not a limit! Perhaps in some other country it would be an upper limit, but not here! As long as there are any cubic centimeters of unbreathed air left in the compart- ment, even if it be beneath the upper shelves, even if between shoulders, legs, and heads, the compartment is ready to take ad- ditional prisoners. One might, however, conditionally accept as the upper limit the number of unremoved corpses which can be contained in the total volume of the compartment, given the possibility of packing them in at leisure.

V. A. Korneyeva traveled from Moscow in a compartment that held thirty women—most of them withered old women, exiled for their religious beliefs (on arrival all these women, except two, were immediately put in the hospital). Nobody died in the com- partment because several of the prisoners were young, well-devel- oped, good-looking girls, arrested "for going out with foreigners." These girls took it upon themselves to shame the convoy: "You ought to be ashamed to transport them this way! These are your own mothers!" It probably wasn't so much their moral argument as their attractive appearance which produced a reaction in the convoy guards, and they did move several of the old women out —to the punishment cell. But the punishment cell in a Stolypin car is no punishment; it is a blessing. Of five prisoner compart- ments, four are used as general cells, and the fifth is set aside and divided in two halves—two narrow half-compartments with one lower and one upper berth, like those the conductors have. These punishment cells serve to isolate prisoners; three or four travel in them at a time, and this gives both comfort and space.

No, it is not intentionally to torture them with thirst that the exhausted and overcrowded prisoners are fed not soup but salt herring or dry smoked Caspian carp for the whole of their trip in the Stolypin car. (This was exactly how it was in all the years, the thirties and the fifties, winter and summer, in Siberia and the Ukraine, and it isn't even necessary to cite examples.) It was not to torture them with thirst—but just you tell me what these raga- muffins were to be fed anyway while being moved around. They were not supposed to get hot meals in prisoner-transport railroad cars. (True, there was a kitchen in one of the Stolypin car com- partments, but that was only for the convoy.) You couldn't just give the prisoners raw grits, and you couldn't give them raw cod- fish either, nor could you give them canned meat because they might stuff themselves. Herring was just the thing, with a piece of bread—and what else did they need?

Go ahead, take your half a herring while they are handing it out, and be glad you got it. If you're smart, you aren't going to eat that herring; just be patient, wait, hide it in your pocket, and you can eat it at the next transit point where there is water to be had. It's worse when they issue you wet Sea of Azov anchovies, covered with coarse salt. You can't keep them in your pocket; so scoop them up in the flaps of your pea jacket, or in your handker- chief, in the palm of your hand—and eat them. They divide up these Azov anchovies on somebody's pea jacket, whereas the convoy guards dump the dried carp right on the floor of the com- partment, and it is divided up on the benches, on the prisoners' knees.

[P. F. Yakubovich (V Mire Otverzhennykh (In the World of the Outcasts), Vol. 1, Moscow, 1964), writing about the nineties of the last century, recounts that in those terrible years they gave out ten-kopecks-a-day mess money per person in Siberian prisoner transports, when the price of a loaf of wheat bread (weighing ten and a half ounces?) was five kopecks; a pot of milk (two quarts?) three kopecks. "The prisoners were simply in clover," he writes. But then in Irkutsk Province the prices were higher. A pound of meat cost ten kopecks there and the "prisoners were simply famished!" One pound of, meat per day per person—it's not half a herring, is it?]

But once they've given you a fish, they aren't going to hold back on the bread, and maybe they'll even throw in a bit of sugar. Things are much worse when the convoy comes over and announces: "We aren't going to be feeding you today; nothing was issued for you." And it could very well be that nothing was actually issued: someone in one or another prison accounting office made a mistake in the figures. And it could also be that it was issued but that the convoy was short on rations—after all, they aren't exactly overfed either—and so they decided to snag a bit of your bread for themselves; and in that case to hand over half a herring by itself would seem suspicious.

And, of course, it is not for the purpose of intentionally tortur- ing the prisoner that after his herring he is given neither hot water (and he never gets that here in any case) nor even plain, unboiled water. One has to understand the situation: The convoy staff is limited; some of them have to be on watch in the corridor; some are on duty on the platform; at the stations they clamber all over the car, under it, on top of it, to make sure that there aren't any holes in it. Others are kept busy cleaning guns, and then, of course, there has to be time for political indoctrination and their cate- chism on the articles of war. And the third shift is sleeping. They insist on their full eight hours—for, after all, the war is over. And then, to go carry water in pails—it has to be hauled a long way, too, and it's insulting: why should a Soviet soldier have to carry water like a donkey for enemies of the people? And there are also times when they spend half a day hauling the Stolypin cars way out from the station in order to reshuffle or recouple the cars (it will be farther away from prying eyes), and the result is that you can't get water even for your own Red Army mess. True, there is one way out. You can go dip up some water from the locomotive tender. It's yellow and murky, with some lubricat- ing grease mixed in with it. But the zeks will drink it willingly. It doesn't really matter that much anyway, since it isn't as if they could see what they are drinking in the semidarkness of their compartment. They don't have their own window, and there isn't any light bulb there either, and what light they get comes from the corridor. And there's another thing too: it takes a long time to dole out that water. The zeks don't have their own mugs. Who- ever did have one has had it taken away from him—so what it adds up to is that they have to be given the two government issue mugs to drink out of, and while they are drinking up you have to keep standing there and standing, and dipping it out and dipping it out some more and handing it to them. (Yes, and then, too, the prisoners argue about who's to drink first; they want the healthy prisoners to drink first, and only then those with tuberculosis, and last of all those with syphilis! Just as if it wasn't going to begin all over again in the next cell: first the healthy ones . . .)

But the convoy could have borne with all that, hauled the water, and doled it out, if only those pigs, after slurping up the water, didn't ask to go to the toilet. So here's the way it all works out: if you don't give them water for a day, then they don't ask to go to the toilet. Give them water once, and they go to the toilet once; take pity on them and give them water twice—and they go to the toilet twice. So it's pure and simple common sense: just don't give them anything to drink.

And it isn't that one is stingy about taking them to the toilet because one wants to be stingy about the use of the toilet itself, but because taking prisoners to the toilet is a responsible—even, one might say, a combat—operation: it takes a long, long time for one private first class and two privates. Two guards have to be stationed, one next to the toilet door, the other in the corridor on the opposite side (so that no one tries to escape in that direc- tion), while the private first class has to push open and then shut the door to the compartment, first to admit the returning prisoner, and then to allow the next one out. The statutes permit letting out only one at a time, so that they don't try to escape and so that they can't start a rebellion. Therefore, the way it works out is that the one prisoner who has been let out to go to the toilet is holding up 30 others in his own compartment and 120 in the whole car, not to mention the convoy detail! And so the command resounds: "Come on there, come on! Get a move on, get a move on!" The private first class and the soldiers keep hurrying him all the way there and back and he hurries so fast that he stumbles, and it's as though they think he is going to steal that shithole from the state. (In 1949, traveling in a Stolypin car between Moscow and Kuibyshev, the one-legged German Schultz, having understood the Russian hurry-up by this time, jumped to the toilet and back on his one leg while the convoy kept laughing and ordering him to go faster. During one such trip, one of the convoy guards pushed him when he reached the platform at the end of the corridor, and Schultz fell down on the floor in front of the toilet. The convoy guard went into a rage and began to beat him, while Schultz, who couldn't get up because of the blows raining down on him, crawled and crept into the dirty toilet. The rest of the convoy roared with laughter.)

[This, it seems, is what is meant by the phrase "Stalin's cult of person- ality"?]

So that the prisoner shouldn't attempt to escape during the moment he was in the toilet, and also for a faster turnaround, the door to the toilet was not closed, and the convoy guard, watch- ing the process from the platform of the car, could encourage it: "Come on, come on now! That's plenty, that's enough for you!" Sometimes the orders came before you even started: "All right, number one only!" And that meant that from the platform they'd prevent your doing anything else. And then, of course, you couldn't wash your hands. There was never enough water in the tank there, and there wasn't enough time either. If the prisoner even so much as touched the plunger of the washstand, the con- voy guard would roar: "Don't you touch that, move along." (And if someone happened to have soap or a towel among his belong- ings, he wouldn't dare take it out anyway, simply out of shame: that would really be acting like a sucker.) The toilet was filthy. Quicker, quicker! And tracking back the liquid mess on his shoes, the prisoner would be shoved back into the compartment, where he would climb up over somebody's arms and shoulders, and then, from the top row, his dirty shoes would dangle to the middle row and drip.

When women were taken to the toilet, the statutes of the con- voy service, and common sense as well, required that the toilet door be kept open, but not every convoy insisted on this and some allowed the door to be shut: Oh, all right, go ahead and shut it. (Later on one of the women was sent in to wash out the toilet, and the guard again had to stand right there beside her so that she didn't try to escape.)

And even at this fast tempo, visits to the toilet for 120 people would take more than two hours—more than a quarter of the entire shift for three convoy guards! And in spite of that, you still couldn't make them happy. In spite of that, some old sandpiper or other would begin to cry half an hour later and ask to go to the toilet, and, of course, he wouldn't be allowed to go, and then he would soil himself right there in the compartment, and once again that meant trouble for the private first class: the prisoner had to be forced to pick it up in his hands and carry it away.

So that was all there was to it: fewer trips to the toilet! And that meant less water, and less food too—because then they wouldn't complain of loose bowels and stink up the air; after all, how bad could it be? A man couldn't even breathe.

Less water! But they had to hand out the herring anyway, just as the regulations required! No water—that was a reasonable measure. No herring—that was a service crime.

No one, no one at all, ever set out to torture us on purpose! The convoy's actions were quite reasonable! But, like the ancient Christians, we sat there in the cage while they poured salt on our raw and bleeding tongues.

Also the prisoner-transport convoys did not often deliberately (though sometimes they did) mix the thieves—blatari—and non- political offenders in with Article 58 politicals in the same com- partment. But a particular situation existed: There were a great many prisoners and very few railroad cars and compartments, and time was always short, and so when was there time enough to sort them out? One of the four compartments was kept for women, and if the prisoners in the other three were to be sorted out on one basis or another, the most logical basis would be by destination so that it would be easier to unload them.

After all, was it because Pontius Pilate wanted to humiliate him that Christ was crucified between two thieves? It just hap- pened to be crucifixion day that day—and there was only one Golgotha, and time was short. And so he was numbered with the transgressors.

I am afraid even to think what I would have had to suffer if I had been in the position of a common convict. . . . The convoy and the transport officers dealt with me and my comrades with cautious politeness. . . . Being a political, I went to hard labor in relative comfort—on the transports, I had quarters separate from the criminal prisoners, and my pood—my thirty-six pounds —of baggage was moved about on a cart. . . .

... I left out the quotation marks around the above paragraph to enable the reader to understand things a little better. After all, quotation marks are always used either for irony or to set some- thing apart. And without quotation marks the paragraph sounds wild, does it not?

It was written by P. F. Yakubovich about the nineties of the last century. His book was recently republished as a sermon on that dark and dismal age. We learn from it that even on a barge the political prisoners had special quarters and a special section set aside for their walks on deck. (The same thing appears in Tol- stoi's Resurrection, in which, furthermore, an outsider, Prince Nekhlyudov, is allowed to visit the political prisoners in order to interview them.) And it was only because the "magic word 'politi- cal' had been left out by mistake" opposite Yakubovich's name on the list (his own words) that he was met at Ust-Kara "by the hard-labor inspector . . . like an ordinary criminal prisoner— rudely, provocatively, impudently." However, this misunderstand- ing was all happily cleared up.

What an unbelievable time! It was almost a crime to mix politi- cals with criminals! Criminals were teamed up and driven along the streets to the station so as to expose them to public disgrace. And politicals could go there in carriages. (Olminsky, in 1899.) Politicals were not fed from the common pot but were given a food allowance instead and had their meals brought from public eating houses. The Bolshevik Olminsky didn't want even the hospital rations because he found the food too coarse.

[ Because of all of this the ordinary criminal mob christened the profes- sional revolutionaries "mangy swells." (P. F. Yakubovich.)]

The Butyrki Prison superintendent apologized to Olminsky for the jailer's having addressed him too familiarly: You see, we seldom get politicals here, and the jailer didn't know any better!

Seldom get politicals in the Butyrki? What kind of dream is this? Then where were they? The Lubyanka didn't exist as a prison at the time, and neither did Lefortovo!

The writer Radishchev was taken to the prisoner transport in shackles, and when the weather got cold they threw over him a "repulsive, raw sheepskin coat," which they had taken from a watchman. However, the Empress Catherine immediately issued orders that his shackles be removed and that he be provided with everything he required for his journey. But in November, 1927, Anna Skripnikova was sent on a transport from the Butyrki to the Solovetsky Islands in a straw hat and a summer dress. (That was what she had been wearing when she was arrested in the summer, and since that time her room had been sealed and no one was willing to give her permission to get her winter things out of it.)

To draw a distinction between political prisoners and common criminals is the equivalent of showing them respect as equal op- ponents, of recognizing that people may have views of their own. Thus a political prisoner is conscious of political freedom even when under arrest.

But since the time when we all became KR's and the socialists failed to retain their status as politicals, since then any protest that as a political you ought not to be mixed up with ordinary criminals has resulted only in laughter on the prisoners' part and bewilderment on the part of the jailers. "All are criminals here," the jailers reply—sincerely.

This mingling, this first devastating encounter, takes place either in the Black Maria or in the Stolypin car. Up to this moment, no matter how they have oppressed, tortured, and tor- mented you during the interrogation, it has all originated with the bluecaps, and you have never confused them with human beings but have seen in them merely an insolent branch of the service. But at the same time, even if your cellmates have been totally different from you in development and experience, and even if you have quarreled with them, and even if they have squealed on you, they have all belonged to that same ordinary, sinful, every- day humanity among which you have spent your whole life.

When you were jammed into a Stolypin compartment, you expected that here, too, you would encounter only colleagues in misfortune. All your enemies and oppressors remained on the other side of the bars, and you certainly did not expect to find them on this side. And suddenly you lift your eyes to the square recess in the middle bunk, to that one and only heaven above you, and up there you see three or four—oh, no, not faces! They aren't monkey muzzles either, because monkeys' muzzles are much, much decenter and more thoughtful! No, and they aren't simply hideous countenances, since there must be something human even in them. You see cruel, loathsome snouts up there, wearing expressions of greed and mockery. Each of them looks at you like a spider gloating over a fly. Their web is that grating which imprisons you—and you have been had! They squinch up their lips, as if they intend to bite you from one side. They hiss when they speak, enjoying that hissing more than the vowel and consonant sounds of speech—and the only thing about their speech that resembles the Russian language is the endings of verbs and nouns. It is gibberish.

Those strange gorilloids were usually dressed in sleeveless undershirts. After all, it is stuffy in the Stolypin car. Their sinewy purple necks, their swelling shoulder muscles, their swarthy tattooed chests have never suffered prison emaciation. Who are they? Where do they come from? And suddenly you see a small cross dangling from one of those necks. Yes, a little aluminum cross on a string. You are surprised and slightly relieved. That means there are religious believers among them. How touching! So nothing terrible is going to happen. But immediately this "be- liever" belies both his cross and his faith by cursing (and they curse partly in Russian), and he jabs two protruding fingers, spread into the "V" of a slingshot, right in your eyes—not even pausing to threaten you but starting to punch them out then and there. And this gesture of theirs, which says, "I'll gouge out your eyes, crowbait!" covers their entire philosophy and faith! If they are capable of crushing your eyeballs like worms, what is there on you or belonging to you that they'll spare? The little cross dangles there and your still unsquashed eyes watch this wildest of masquerades, and your whole system of reckoning goes awry: Which of you is already crazy? And who is about to go insane?

In one moment, all the customs and habits of human inter- course you have lived with all your life have broken down. In your entire previous life, particularly before your arrest but even to some degree afterward, even to some degree during interroga- tion, too, you spoke words to other people and they answered you in words. And those words produced actions. One might per- suade, or refuse, or come to an agreement. You recall various human relationships—a request, an order, an expression of grati- tude. But what has overtaken you here is beyond all these words and beyond all these relationships. An emissary of the ugly snout descends, most often a vicious boy whose impudence and rude- ness are thrice despicable, and this little demon unties your bag and rifles your pockets—not tentatively, but treating them like his very own. From that moment, nothing that belongs to you is yours any longer. And all you yourself are is a rubber dummy around which superfluous things are wrapped which can easily be taken off. Nor can you explain anything in words, nor deny, nor prohibit, nor plead with that evil little skunk or those foul snouts up above. They are not people. This has become clear to you in one moment. The only thing to be done with them is to beat them, to beat them without wasting any time flapping your tongue. Either that juvenile there or those bigger vermin up above.

But how can you hit those three up top from down below? And the kid there, even though he's a stinking polecat, well, it doesn't seem right to hit him either. Maybe you can push him away soft like? No, you can't even do that, because he'll bite your nose right off, or else they'll break your head from above (and they have knives, too, but they aren't going to bother to pull them out and soil them on you).

You look at your neighbors, your comrades: Let's either resist or protest! But all your comrades, all your fellow Article 58's, who have been plundered one by one even before you got there, sit there submissively, hunched over, and they stare right past you, and it's even worse when they look at you the way they always do look at you, as though no violence were going on at all, no plundering, as though it were a natural phenomenon, as though it were the grass growing and the rain falling.

And the reason why, gentlemen, comrades, and brothers, is that the proper time was allowed to slip by! You ought to have got hold of yourselves and remembered who you were back when Struzhinsky burned himself alive in his Vyatka cell, and even be- fore that, when you were declared "counterrevolutionaries."

And so you allow the thieves to take your overcoat and paw through your jacket and snatch your twenty rubles from where it was sewn in, and your bag has already been tossed up above and checked out, and everything your sentimental wife collected for your long trip after you were sentenced stays up there, and they've thrown the bag back down to you with . . . your tooth- brush.

Although not everyone submitted just like that, 99 percent did in the thirties and forties.

[I have heard of a few cases in which three seasoned, young, and healthy men stood up against the thieves—not to defend justice in general, but to protect, not those who were being plundered right next to them, but themselves only. In other words: armed neutrality.]

And how could that be? Men, officers, soldiers, front-line soldiers!

To strike out boldly, a person has to be ready for that battle, waiting for it, and has to understand its purpose. All these condi- tions were absent here. A person wholly unfamiliar with the thieves'—the blatnoi—milieu didn't anticipate this battle and, most importantly, failed totally to understand its vital necessity. Up to this point he had assumed (incorrectly) that his only enemies were the bluecaps. He needed still more education to arrive at the understanding that the tattooed chests were merely the rear ends of the bluecaps. This was the revelation the bluecaps never utter aloud: "You today, me tomorrow." The new prisoner wanted to consider himself a political—in other words, on the side of the people—while the state was against the people. And at that point he was unexpectedly assaulted from behind and both sides by quick-fingered devils of some kind, and all the categories got mixed up, and clarity was shattered into fragments. (And it would take a long time for the prisoner to put two and two together and figure out that this horde of devils were hand in glove with the jailers.)

To strike out boldly, a person has to feel that his rear is de- fended, that he has support on both his flanks, that there is solid earth beneath his feet. All these conditions were absent for the Article 58's. Having passed through the meat grinder of political interrogation, the human being was physically crushed in body: he had been starved, he hadn't slept, he had frozen in punishment cells, he had lain there a beaten man. But it wasn't only his body. His soul was crushed too. Over and over he had been told and had had demonstrated to him that his views, and his conduct in life, and his relationships with people had all been wrong because they had brought him to ruin. All that was left in that scrunched- up wad the engine room of the law had spewed out into the prisoner transport was a greed for life, and no understanding whatever. To crush him once and for all and to cut him off from all others once and for all—that was the function of interrogation under Article 58. The convicted prisoner had to learn that his worst guilt out in freedom had been his attempt somehow to get together or unite with others by any route but the Party organizer, the trade-union organizer, or the administration. In prison this fear went so far as to become fear of all kinds of collective action: two voices uttering the same complaint or two prisoners signing a complaint on one piece of paper. Gun-shy now and for a good long time to come of any and every kind of collaboration or unification, the pseudo politicals were not prepared to unite even against the thieves. Nor would they even think of bringing along a weapon—a knife or a bludgeon—for the Stolypin car or the transit prison. In the first place, why have one? And against whom? In the second place, if you did use it, then, considering the aggravating circumstance of your malevolent Article 58, you might be shot when you were retried. In the third place, even before that, your punishment for having a knife when they searched you would be very different from the thief's. For him to have a knife was mere misbehavior, tradition, he didn't know any better. But for you to have one was "terrorism."

Finally, many of the people imprisoned under Article 58 were peaceful people (very often elderly, too, and often ill), and they had gotten along all their lives with words and without resorting to fisticuffs, and they weren't any more prepared for them now than they had been before.

Nor had the thieves ever been put through the same kind of interrogation. Their entire interrogation had consisted of two sessions, an easy trial, and an easy sentence, and they wouldn't have to serve it out. They would be released ahead of time: either they would be amnestied or else they would simply escape.

[V. I. Ivanov (now from Ukhta) got Article 162 (thievery) nine times and Article 82 (escape) five times, for a total of thirty-seven years in prison— and he "served out" five to six years for all of them.]

Even during interrogation, no one ever deprived a thief of his legitimate parcels—consisting of abundant packages from the loot kept by his underworld comrades who were still on the loose. He never grew thin, was never weak for a single day, and in transit he ate at the expense of the innocent nonthieves, whom he called, in his own jargon, the frayera—"frayers," or "innocents," or "suckers."

["Prayer" is a blatnoi—underworld—word meaning nonthief—in other words, not a Chelovek ("Human being," with a capital letter). Well, even more simply: the frayera were all nonthief, nonunderworld mankind.]

Not only did the articles of the Code dealing with thieves and bandits not oppress the thief; he was, in fact, proud of his con- victions under them. And he was supported in this pride by all the chiefs in blue shoulder boards and blue piping. "Oh, that's nothing. Even though you're a bandit and a murderer, you are not a traitor of the Motherland, you are one of our own people; you will reform." There was no Section Eleven—for organization— in the thieves' articles in the Code. Organization was not for- bidden the thieves. And why should it be? Let it help develop in them the feelings of collectivism that people in our society need so badly. And disarming them was just a game. They weren't punished for having a weapon. Their thieves' law was respected ("They can't be anything but what they are"). And a new murder in the cell would not increase a murderer's sentence, but instead would bring him new laurels.

And all that went very deep indeed. In works of the last cen- tury, the lumpenproletariat was criticized for little more than a certain lack of discipline, for fickleness of mood. And Stalin was always partial to the thieves—after all, who robbed the banks for him? Back in 1901 his comrades in the Party and in prison ac- cused him of using common criminals against his political enemies. From the twenties on, the obliging term "social ally" came to be widely used. That was Makarenko's contention too: these could be reformed. According to Makarenko, the origin of crime lay solely in the "counterrevolutionary underground." (Those were the ones who couldn't be reformed—engineers, priests, SR's, Mensheviks.)

And why shouldn't they steal, if there was no one to put a stop to it? Three or four brazen thieves working hand in glove could lord it over several dozen frightened and cowed pseudo politicals.

With the approval of the administration. On the basis of the Progressive Doctrine.

But even if they didn't drive off the thieves with their fists, why didn't the victims at least make complaints? After all, every sound could be heard in the corridor, and a convoy guard was marching slowly back and forth right out there.

Yes, that is a question! Every sound and every complaining cry can be heard, and the convoy just keeps marching back and forth—why doesn't he interfere? Just a yard away from him, in the half-dark cave of the compartment, they are plundering a human being—why doesn't the soldier of the government police interfere?

For the very same reason: he, too, has been indoctrinated. Even more than that: after many years of favoring thieves, the convoy has itself slipped in their direction. The convoy has itself become a thief.

From the middle of the thirties until the middle of the forties, during that ten-year period of the thieves' most flagrant debauches and most intense oppression of the politicals, no one at all can recall a case in which a convoy guard intervened in the plunder- ing of a political in a cell, in a railroad car, or in a Black Maria. But they will tell you of innumerable cases in which the convoy accepted stolen goods from the thieves and, in return, bought them vodka, snacks (sweeter than the rations, too), and smokes. The examples are so numerous as to be typical.

The convoy sergeant, after all, hasn't anything either: he has his gun, his greatcoat roll, his mess tin, his soldier's ration. It would be cruel to require him to escort an enemy of the people in an expensive overcoat or chrome-leather boots or with a swag of luxurious city articles—and to reconcile himself to that in- equality. Was not taking these things just one additional form of the class struggle, after all? And what other norms were there?

In 1945-1946, when prisoners streamed in not just from any- where but from Europe, and wore and had in their bags unheard- of European articles, even the convoy officers could not restrain themselves. Their service had kept them from the front, but at the end of the war it also kept them from the harvest of booty—and, I ask you, was that just?

And so, in these circumstances, the convoy guard systemati- cally mixed the thieves and the politicals in each compartment of their Stolypin, not through lack of space for them elsewhere and not through haste, but out of greed. And the thieves did not let them down: they stripped the beavers of everything, and then those possessions migrated into the suitcases of the convoy.

[A beaver in the blatnoi—underworld—jargon was any rich zek who had "trash"—meaning good clothes—and "bacilli"—meaning fats, sugar, and other goodies.]

But what could be done if the beavers had been loaded into the Stolypin cars, and the train was moving, and there simply weren't any thieves at all—they simply hadn't put any aboard? What if they weren't being shipped out on prisoner transports that day, even from one of the stations along the way? This could and did happen—several such cases are known.

In 1947 they were transporting from Moscow to the Vladimir Central Prison a group of foreigners who had opulent possessions —as could be seen the very first time their suitcases were opened. At that point, the convoy itself began a systematic confiscation of their belongings right there in the railroad car. So that nothing should be missed, the prisoners were forced to undress down to their bare skin and to sit on the floor of the car near the toilet while their things were examined and taken away. But the convoy guard failed to take into account that they were taking these prisoners not to a camp but to a genuine prison. On their arrival there, I. A. Korneyev handed in a written complaint, describing exactly what had happened. They found the particular unit of convoy guards and searched them. Some of the things were recovered and returned to their owners, who also received com- pensation in money for those that weren't recovered. They say that the convoy guards got from ten to fifteen years. However, this is something that cannot be checked, and anyway they would have been convicted under an ordinary nonpolitical article of the Code, and they wouldn't have had to spend a long time in prison.

However, that was an exceptional case, and if he had managed to restrain his greed in time, the chief of the convoy would have realized that it was better not to get involved in it. And here is another, less complicated case, which probably means that it happened often. In August, 1945, in the Moscow-Novosibirsk Stolypin car (in which A. Susi was being transported), it turned out that there weren't any thieves. And the trip was a long one, and the Stolypins just crawled along at that time. Without hurry- ing in the least, all in good time, the convoy chief declared a search—one prisoner at a time in the corridor with his things. Those summoned were made to undress in accordance with prison rules, but that wasn't why the search was being conducted, for each prisoner who had been searched was, in fact, put right back into his own crowded compartment, and any knife, anything for- bidden, could simply have been passed from hand to hand. The real purpose of the search was to examine their personal articles —the clothes they were wearing and whatever was in their bags. And right there, beside the bags, not in the least bored by the whole protracted search, the chief of the convoy guard, an officer, stood with a haughty poker face, with his assistant, a sergeant, beside him. Sinful greed kept trying to pop out, but the officer kept it hidden under a pretended indifference. It was the same situation as an old rake looking over little girls but embarrassed by the presence of outsiders—yes, and by that of the girls too— and not knowing exactly how to proceed. How badly he needed just a few thieves! But there were no thieves in the transport.

There were no thieves aboard, but there were individuals among the prisoners who had already been infected by the thief-laden atmosphere of the prison. After all, the example of thieves is instructive and calls forth imitations: it demonstrates that there is an easy way to live in prison. Two recent officers were in one of the compartments—Sanin (from the navy) and Merezhkov. They were both 58's, but their attitudes had already changed. Sanin, with Merezhkov's support, proclaimed himself the monitor of the compartment and, through a convoy guard, requested a meeting with their chief. (He had fathomed that haughtiness and its need of a pimp!) This was unheard of, but Sanin was sum- moned, and they had a chat somewhere. Following Sanin's ex- ample, someone in the second compartment also asked for a meeting. And that person was similarly received.

And the next morning they issued not twenty ounces of bread —the prisoner-transport ration at the time—but no more than nine ounces.

They gave out the ration, and a quiet murmur began. A mur- mur, but in fear of any "collective action," these politicals did not speak up. In the event, only one among them loudly asked the guard distributing the bread: "Citizen chief! How much does this ration weigh?"

"The correct weight," he was told.

"I demand a reweighing; otherwise I will not accept it!" the dissatisfied prisoner declared loudly.

The whole car fell silent. Many waited before beginning to eat their ration; expecting that theirs, too, would be reweighed. And at that moment, in all his spotlessness, the officer appeared. Everyone fell silent, which made his words all the weightier and all the more irresistible.

"Which one here spoke out against the Soviet government?"

All hearts stopped beating. (People will protest that this is a universal approach, that even out in freedom every little chief declares himself to be the Soviet government, and just try to argue with him about it. But for those who are panicky, who have just been sentenced for anti-Soviet propaganda, the threat is more frightening.)

"Who was starting a mutiny over the bread ration?" the officer demanded.

"Citizen lieutenant, I only wanted . . ." The guilty rebel was already trying to explain it all away.

"Aha, you're the bastard? You're the one who doesn't like the Soviet government?"

(And why rebel? Why argue? Wasn't it really easier to eat that little underweight ration, to suffer it in silence? And now he had fallen right in it!)

"You stinking shit! You counterrevolutionary! You ought to be hanged, and you have the nerve to demand that the bread ration be re weighed! You rat—the Soviet government gives you food and drink, and you have the brass to be dissatisfied? Do you know what you're going to get for that?"

Orders to the guard: "Take him out!" The lock rattles. "Come on out, you! Hands behind your back!" They bring out the un- fortunate.

"Now who else is dissatisfied? Who else wants his bread ration reweighed?"

(And it's not as if you could prove anything anyway. It's not as if they'd take your word against the lieutenant's if you were to complain somewhere that there were only nine ounces instead of twenty.)

It's quite enough to show a well-beaten dog the whip. All the rest turned out to be satisfied, and that was how the penalty ration was confirmed for all the days of the long journey. And they began to withhold the sugar too. The convoy had appropriated it.

(And this took place during the summer of our two great vic- tories—over Germany and Japan—victories which embellish the history of our Fatherland and which our grandsons and great- grandsons will learn about in school.)

The prisoners went hungry for a day and then a second day, by which time several of them began to get a bit wiser, and Sanin said to his compartment: "Look, fellows: If we go on this way, we're lost. Come on now, all of you who have some good stuff with you, let me have it, and I'll trade it for something to eat." With great self-assurance he accepted some articles and turned down others. (Not all the prisoners were willing to let their things go—and, you see, no one forced them to either.) And then he and Merezhkov asked to be allowed to leave the compartment, and, strangely enough, the convoy let them out. Taking the things, they went off toward the compartment of the convoy guard, and they returned from there with sliced loaves of bread and with makhorka. These very loaves constituted the eleven ounces miss- ing from the daily rations. Now, however, they were not dis- tributed on an equal basis but went only to those who had handed over their belongings.

And that was quite fair: after all, they had all admitted they were satisfied with the reduced bread ration. It was also fair be- cause the belongings were, after all, worth something, and it was right that they should be paid for. And it was also fair in the long view because those things were simply too good for camp and were destined anyway to be taken away or stolen there.

The makhorka had belonged to the guard. The soldiers shared their precious makhorka with the prisoners. And that was fair, too, since they had eaten the prisoners' bread and drunk up their sugar, which was too good for enemies anyway. And, last, it was only fair, too, that Sanin and Merezhkov took the largest share for themselves even though they'd contributed nothing—because without them all this would not have been arranged.

And so they sat crammed in there, in the semidarkness, and some of them chewed on their neighbors' chunks of bread and their neighbors sat there and watched them. The guard permitted smoking only on a collective basis, every two hours—and the whole car was as filled with smoke as if there'd been a fire. Those who at first had clung to their things now regretted that they hadn't given them to Sanin and asked him to take them, but Sanin said he'd only take them later on.

This whole operation wouldn't have worked so well and so thoroughly had it not been for the slow trains and slow Stolypin cars of the immediate postwar years, when they kept unhitching them from one train and hitching them to another and held them waiting in the stations. And, at the same time, if it hadn't been the immediate postwar period, neither would there have been those greed-inspiring belongings. Their train took a week to get to Kuibyshev—and during that entire week they got only nine ounces of bread a day. (This, to be sure, was twice the ration distributed during the siege of Leningrad.) And they did get dried Caspian carp and water, in addition. They had to ransom their remaining bread ration with their personal possessions. And soon the supply of these articles exceeded the demand, and the convoy guards became very choosy and reluctant to take more things.

They were received at the Kuibyshev Transit Prison, given baths, and returned as a group to that very same Stolypin. The convoy which took them over was new—but, in passing on the relay baton, the previous crew had evidently told them how to put the squeeze on, and the very same system of ransoming their own rations functioned all the way to Novosibirsk. (It is easy to see how this infectious experiment might have spread rapidly through whole units of the convoy guards.)

And when they were unloaded on the ground between the tracks in Novosibirsk, some new officer came up and asked them: "Any complaints against the convoy?" And they were all so con- fused that nobody answered.

The first chief of convoy had calculated accurately—this was Russia!

Another factor which distinguishes Stolypin passengers from the rest of the train is that they do not know where their train is going and at what station they will disembark: after all, they don't have tickets, and they don't read the route signs on the cars. In Moscow, they sometimes load them on so far from the station platform that even the Muscovites among them don't know which of the eight Moscow stations they are at. For several hours the prisoners sit all squeezed together in the stench while they wait for a switch- ing engine. And finally it comes and takes the zak car to the al- ready made-up train. If it is summertime, the station loudspeakers can be heard: "Moscow to Ufa departing from Track 3. Moscow to Tashkent still loading at Platform 1 ..." That means it's the Kazan Station, and those who know the geography of the Archipelago are now explaining to their comrades that Vorkuta and Pechora are out: they leave from the Yaroslavl Station; and the Kirov and Gorky camps are out too.

[Thus it is that weeds get into the harvest of fame. But are they weeds? After all, there are no Pushkin, Gogol, or Tolstoi camps—but there are Gorky camps, and what a nest of them too! Yes, and there is a separate mine "named for Maxim Gorky" (twenty-five miles from Elgen in the Kolyma)! Yes, Aleksei Maximovich Gorky . . . "with your heart and your name, comrade . . ." If the enemy does not surrender . . . You say one reckless little word, and look— you're not in literature any longer.]

They never send people from Moscow to Byelorussia, the Ukraine, or the Caucasus any- way. They have no room there even for their own. Let's listen some more: the Ufa train has left, and ours hasn't moved. The Tashkent train has started, and we're still here. "Moscow to Novosibirsk departing. All those seeing passengers off, disem- bark. . . . All passengers show their tickets. . . ." We have started.

Our train! And what does that prove? Nothing so far. The middle Volga area is still open, and the South Urals. And Kazakhstan with the Dzhezkazgan copper mines. And Taishet, with its factory for creosoting railroad ties (where, they say, creosote penetrates the skin and bones and its vapors fill the lungs—and that is death). All Siberia is still open to us—all the way to Sovetskaya Gavan. The Kolyma too. And Norilsk.

And if it is wintertime, the car is battened down and the loud- speakers are inaudible. If the convoy guards obey their regula- tions, then you'll hear nary a whisper from them about the route either. And thus we set out, and, entangled in other bodies, fall asleep to the clacking of the wheels without knowing whether we will see forest or steppe through the window tomorrow. Through that window in the corridor. From the middle shelf, through the grating, the corridor, the two windowpanes, and still another grat- ing, you can still see some switching tracks and a piece of open space hurtling by the train. If the windowpanes have not frosted over, you can sometimes even read the names of the stations— some Avsyunino or Undol. Where are these stations? No one in the compartment knows. Sometimes you can judge from the sun whether you are being taken north or east. Or at some place called Tufanovo, they might shove some dilapidated nonpolitical offender into your compartment, and he would tell you he was being taken to Danilov to be tried and was scared he'd get a couple of years. In this way you would find out that you'd gone through Yaroslavl that night, which meant that the first transit prison on your route would be Vologda. And some know-it-alls in the compartment would savor gloomily the famous flourish, stressing all the "o's," of the Vologda guards: "The Vologda con- voy guards don't joke!"

But even after figuring out the general direction, you still haven't really found out anything: transit prisons lie in clusters on your route, and you can be shunted off to one side or another from any one of them. You don't fancy Ukhta, nor Inta, nor Vorkuta. But do you think that Construction Project 501—a railroad in the tundra, crossing northern Siberia—is any sweeter? It is worse than any of them.

Five years after the war, when the waves of prisoners had finally settled within the river banks (or perhaps they had merely expanded the MVD staffs?), the Ministry sorted out the millions of piles of cases and started sending along with each sentenced prisoner a sealed envelope that contained his case file and, visible through a slot in the envelope, his route and destination, inserted for the convoy (and the convoy wasn't supposed to know any- thing more than that—because the contents of the file might have a corrupting influence). So then, if you were lying on the middle bunk, and the sergeant stopped right next to you, and you could read upside down, you might be fast enough to read that some- one was being taken to Knyazh-Pogost and that you were being sent to Kargopol.

So now there would be more worries! What was Kargopol Camp? Who had ever heard of it? What kind of general-assign- ment work did they have there? (There did exist general-assign- ment work which was fatal, and some that was not that bad.) Was this a death camp or not?

And then how had you failed to let your family know in the hurry of leaving, and they thought you were still in the Stalino- gorsk Camp near Tula? If you were very nervous about this and very inventive, you might succeed in solving that problem too: you might find someone with a piece of pencil lead half an inch long and a piece of crumpled paper. Making sure the convoy doesn't see you from the corridor (you are forbidden to lie with your feet toward the corridor; your head has to be in that direc- tion), hunched over and facing in the opposite direction, you write to your family, between lurches of the car, that you have suddenly been taken from where you were and are being sent somewhere else, and you might be able to send only one letter a year from your new destination, so let them be prepared for this eventuality. You have to fold your letter into a triangle and carry it to the toilet in the hope of a lucky break: they might just take you there while approaching a station or just after passing a station, and the convoy guard on the car platform might get careless, and you can quickly press down on the flush pedal and, using your body as a shield, throw the letter into the hole. It will get wet and soiled, but it might fall right through and land be- tween the rails. Or it might even get through dry, and the draft beneath the car will catch and whirl it, and it will fall under the wheels or miss them and land on the downward slope of the embankment. Perhaps it will lie there until it rains, until it snows, until it disintegrates, but perhaps a human hand will pick it up. And if this person isn't a stickler for the Party line, he will make the address legible, he will straighten out the letters, or perhaps put it in an envelope, and perhaps the letter will even reach its destination. Sometimes such letters do arrive—postage due, half- blurred, washed out, crumpled, but carrying a clearly defined splash of grief.

But it is better still to stop as soon as possible being a sucker— that ridiculous greenhorn, that prey, that victim. The chances are ninety-five out of a hundred that your letter won't get there. But even if it does, it will bring no happiness to your home. And you won't be measuring your life and breath by hours and days once you have entered this epic country: arrivals and departures here are separated by decades, by a quarter-century. You will never return to your former world. And the sooner you get used to being without your near and dear ones, and the sooner they get used to being without you, the better it will be. And the easier!

And keep as few things as possible, so that you don't have to fear for them. Don't take a suitcase for the convoy guard to crush at the door of the car (when there are twenty-five people in a compartment, what else could he figure out to do with it?). And don't wear new boots, and don't wear fashionable oxfords, and don't wear a woolen suit: these things are going to be stolen, taken away, swept aside, or switched, either in the Stolypin car, or in the Black Maria, or in the transit prison. Give them up without a struggle—because otherwise the humiliation will poison your heart. They will take them away from you in a fight, and trying to hold onto your property will only leave you with a bloodied mouth. All those brazen snouts, those jeering manners, those two- legged dregs, are repulsive to you. But by owning things and trembling about their fate aren't you forfeiting the rare oppor- tunity of observing and understanding? And do you think that the freebooters, the pirates, the great privateers, painted in such lively colors by Kipling and Gumilyev, were not simply these same blatnye, these same thieves? That's just what they were. Fascinat- ing in romantic literary portraits, why are they so repulsive to you here?

Understand them too! To them prison is their native home. No matter how fondly the government treats them, no matter how it softens their punishments, no matter how often it amnesties them, their inner destiny brings them back again and again. Was not the first word in the legislation of the Archipelago for them? In our country, the right to own private property was at one time just as effectively banished out in freedom too. (And then those who had banished it began to enjoy possessing things.) So why should it be tolerated in prison? You were too slow about it; you didn't eat up your fat bacon; you didn't share your sugar and tobacco with your friends. And so now the thieves empty your bindle in order to correct your moral error. Having given you their pitiful worn-out boots in exchange for your fashionable ones, their soiled coveralls in return for your sweater, they won't keep these things for long: your boots were merely something to lose and win back five times at cards, and they'll hawk your sweater the very next day for a liter of vodka and a round of salami. They, too, will have nothing left of them in one day's time —just like you. This is the principle of the second law of thermo- dynamics: all differences tend to level out, to disappear. . . .

Own nothing! Possess nothing! Buddha and Christ taught us this, and the Stoics and the Cynics. Greedy though we are, why can't we seem to grasp that simple teaching? Can't we under- stand that with property we destroy our soul?

So let the herring keep warm in your pocket until you get to the transit prison rather than beg for something to drink here. And did they give us a two-day supply of bread and sugar? In that case, eat it in one sitting. Then no one will steal it from you, and you won't have to worry about it. And you'll be free as a bird in heaven!

Own only what you can always carry with you: know lan- guages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Use your memory! Use your memory! It is those bitter seeds alone which might sprout and grow someday.

Look around you—there are people around you. Maybe you will remember one of them all your life and later eat your heart out because you didn't make use of the opportunity to ask him questions. And the less you talk, the more you'll hear. Thin strands of human lives stretch from island to island of the Archi- pelago. They intertwine, touch one another for one night only in just such a clickety-clacking half-dark car as this and then separate once and for all. Put your ear to their quiet humming and the steady clickety-clack beneath the car. After all, it is the spinning wheel of life that is clicking and clacking away there.

What strange stories you can hear! What things you will laugh at.

Now that fast-moving little Frenchman over there near the grating—why does he keep twisting around, what is he so sur- prised at? Explain things to him! And you can ask him at the same time how he happened to land here. So you've found some- one who knows French, and you learn that he is Max Santerre, a French soldier. And he used to be just as alert and curious out in freedom, in his douce France. They told him politely to stop hanging around the transit point for Russian repatriates, but he kept doing it anyway. And then the Russians invited him to have a drink with them, and from a certain moment after that he remembers nothing. He came to on the floor of an airplane to find himself dressed in a Red Army man's field shirt and britches, with the boots of a convoy guard looming over him. They told him he was sentenced to ten years in camp, but that, of course, as he very clearly understood, was just a nasty joke, wasn't it, and everything would be cleared up? Oh, yes, it will be cleared up, dear fellow; just wait.

[Ahead of him lay another sentence—for twenty-five years—that he was given in camp, and he would not get out of Ozerlag until 1957.]

Well, there was nothing to be surprised at in such cases in 1945-1946.

That particular story was Franco-Russian, and here is one which is Russo-French. But no, really just pure Russian, be- cause no one but a Russian would play this kind of trick! Through- out our history there have been people who just couldn't be con- tained, like Menshikov in Berezovo in Surikov's painting. Now take Ivan Koverchenko, average height, wiry, and yet he couldn't be contained either. Because he was a stalwart fellow with a healthy countenance—but the devil threw in a bit of vodka for good measure. He would talk about himself quite willingly and laugh at himself too. Such stories as his are a treasure. They are meant to be heard. True, it took a long time to figure out why he had been arrested and why he was considered a political. But there's no real need to make a fetish of the category "political" either. Does it matter a damn what rake they haul you in with?

As everyone knows very well, the Germans were preparing for chemical warfare and we weren't. Therefore, it was most un- fortunate that because of some dunderheads in the quartermas- ter's department we left whole stacks of mustard-gas bombs at a certain airdrome when we fled the Kuban—and the Germans could have turned this fact into an international scandal. At that point, Senior Lieutenant Koverchenko, a native of Krasnodar, was assigned twenty parachutists and dropped behind the German lines to bury all those invidious bombs. (Those hearing this story have already guessed how it ends and are yawning: next he was taken prisoner, and he has now become a traitor of the Motherland. Nothing at all like that!) Koverchenko carried out his assignment brilliantly and returned through the front with his entire complement of men, having lost not one, and was nominated to receive the order of Hero of the Soviet Union.

But it takes a month or two for the official nomination to be confirmed—and what if you can't be contained within that Hero of the Soviet Union either? "Heroes" are awarded to quiet boys who are models of military and political preparedness—but what if your soul is afire and you want a drink, and there isn't anything to drink? And why, if you're a Hero of the whole Union, are the rats being so stingy as to refuse you an extra liter of vodka? And Ivan Koverchenko mounted his horse and, even though it's true that he had never heard of Caligula, he rode his horse up- stairs to the second floor to see the city's military commissar— the commandant: Come on now, issue me some vodka. (He figured this would be more imposing, more in the style of a Hero, and harder to turn down.) Did they arrest him for that? No, of course not! But his award was reduced from Hero to the Order of the Red Banner.

Koverchenko had a large thirst, and vodka wasn't always available, and so he had to be inventive. In Poland, he had gone in and prevented the Germans from blowing up a certain bridge —and he got the feeling this bridge really belonged to him and so, for the time being, before our commandant's headquarters arrived, he exacted payment from the Poles for crossing the bridge. After all, without me you wouldn't have this bridge, you pests! He collected tolls for a whole day (for vodka), and then got bored with it, and this wasn't in any case the place for him to stick around. So Captain Koverchenko offered the nearby Poles his equitable solution: that they buy the bridge from him. (Was he arrested for this! Nooo!) He didn't ask very much for it, but the Poles protested and refused. Pan Captain abandoned the bridge: All right then, to hell with you, take your bridge and cross it for nothing.

In 1949 he was chief of staff of a parachute regiment in Po- lotsk. Major Koverchenko was very much disliked by the Political Branch of the division because he had failed the political indoc- trination course. He had once asked them to recommend him for admission to the Military Academy, but when they gave him the recommendation, he took one look at it and threw it back across the table at them: "With that kind of recommendation the place for me to go is not the Academy but to the Banderovtsy [the Ukrainian nationalist rebels]." (Was he arrested for that? He might very well have gotten a tenner for it, but he got away with it.) At that point, on top of all the rest, it turned out that he had given one of his men an unwarranted leave. And then he himself drove a truck at breakneck speed while drunk and wrecked it. And so they gave him ten—ten days in the guardhouse. How- ever, his own men, who loved him with absolute devotion, were the guards, and they let him out of the guardhouse to go and have fun in the village. So he could have been patient through that guardhouse stretch too. But the Political Branch began to threaten him with a trial! Now that threat shocked and insulted Kover- chenko; it meant: for burying bombs—Ivan, we need you; but for a lousy one-and-a-half-ton truck—off to prison with you? He crawled out the window at night, went over to the Dvina River, where a friend's motorboat was hidden, and off he went in it.

And it turned out that he wasn't just one more drunk with a short memory: he wanted to avenge himself for everything the Political Branch had done to him; and in Lithuania he left his boat and went to the Lithuanians, saying: "Brothers, take me to your partisans! Accept me and you won't be sorry; we'll twist their tails." But the Lithuanians decided he was being planted on them.

Ivan had a letter of credit sewn in his clothes. He got a ticket to the Kuban. However, en route to Moscow he got very drunk in a restaurant. Consequently, he squinched up his eyes at Moscow as they were leaving the station, and told the taxi driver: "Take me to an embassy!" "Which one?" "Who the hell cares? Any one." And the driver took him to one: "Which one is that?" "The French." "All right."

Perhaps his thoughts got mixed up, and his original intentions in going to an embassy had changed into something else, but his cleverness and his strength had in no wise lapsed: without alerting the policemen at the embassy entrance, he went quietly down a side street and climbed to the top of a smooth wall double a man's height. In the embassy yard it was easier: no one discovered him or detained him, and he went on inside, walked through one room, then another, and he saw a table set. There were many things on the table, but what astonished him most was the pears. He felt a yen for them, and he stuffed all the pockets in his field jacket and trousers with them. At that moment, the members of the household came in to dine. Koverchenko began to attack them and shout at them before they could begin on him: "You Frenchmen!" According to him, France hadn't done anything good for the last century. "Why don't you start a revolution? Why are you trying to get de Gaulle into power? And you want us to send our Kuban wheat to you? It's no go." "Who are you? Where did you come from?" The French were astounded. Im- mediately adopting the right approach, Koverchenko kept his wits about him: "A major of the MGB." The French were frightened. "But even so, you are not supposed to burst in here. What is your business here?" "—— you in the mouth!" Koverchenko bel- lowed at them straight from the heart. And, after playing the hoodlum for them a while longer, he noticed that in the next room they were already telephoning about him. He was still sober enough to begin his retreat, but the pears started to fall out of his pockets—and he was pursued by mocking laughter.

And in actual fact, he had enough strength left not only to leave the embassy safe and sound but to move on. The next morn- ing he woke up in Kiev Station (was he not planning to go on to the West Ukraine?), and they soon picked him up there.

During his interrogation he was beaten by Abakumov person- ally. And the scars on his back swelled up to a hand's breadth.

The Minister beat him, of course, not because of the pears and not because of his valid rebuke to the French, but to find out by whom and when he had been recruited. And, of course, the prison term they handed him was twenty-five years.

There are many such stories, but like every railroad car, the Stolypin falls silent at night. At night there won't be any fish, nor water, nor going to the toilet.

And the car is filled then with the steady noise of the wheels, which doesn't in the least break the silence. And if, in addition, the convoy guard has left the corridor, one can talk quietly from the third compartment for men with the fourth, or women's, com- partment.

A conversation with a woman in prison is quite special. There is something noble about it, even if one talks only about articles of the Code and prison terms.

One such conversation went on all night long, and here are the circumstances in which it took place. It was in July, 1950. There were no passengers in the women's compartment except for one young girl, the daughter of a Moscow doctor, sentenced under Article 58-10. And there was a big to-do in the men's compart- ment. The convoy guards began to drive all the zeks out of three compartments into two (and don't even ask how many they piled up in there). And they brought in some offender who was not at all like a convict. In the first place, he hadn't had his head shaved and his wavy blond locks, real curls, lay seductively on his big, thoroughbred head. He was young, dignified, and dressed in a British military uniform. He was escorted through the corridor with an air of deference (the convoy itself had been a little awed by the instructions on the envelope containing his case file). And the girl had managed to catch a glimpse of the whole episode. But he himself had not seen her. (And how much he regretted that later!)

From the noise and the commotion she realized that the com- partment next to hers had been emptied for him. It was obvious that he was not supposed to communicate with anyone—all the more reason for her to want to talk with him. It wasn't possible in a Stolypin to see from one compartment into another, but when everything was still, you could hear between them. Late at night, when things had begun to quiet down, the girl sat on the edge of her bunk, right up against the grating, and called to him quietly. (And perhaps she first sang softly. The convoy guard was supposed to punish her for all this, but the guard itself had settled down for the night, and there was no one in the corridor.) The stranger heard her and, following her instructions, sat in the same position. They were now sitting with their backs to each other, braced against the same one-inch partition, and speaking quietly through the grating at the outer edge of the partition. Their heads were as close as if their lips were kissing, but they could neither touch one another nor see each other.

Erik Arvid Andersen understood Russian tolerably well by this time, made many mistakes when he spoke it, but, in the end, could succeed in communicating his thoughts. He told the girl his astonishing story (and we, too, will hear about it at the transit prison center). She, in turn, told him the simple story of a Moscow student who had gotten 58-10. But Arvid was fascinated. He asked her about Soviet youth and about Soviet life, and what he heard was not at all what he had learned earlier in leftist Western newspapers and from his own official visit here.

They talked all night long. And that night everything came together for Arvid: the strange prisoners' car in an alien country; the rhythmic nighttime clicking of the wheels, which always finds an echo in our hearts; and the girl's melodic voice, her whispers, her breath reaching his ear—his very ear, yet he couldn't even look at her. (And for a year and a half he hadn't heard a woman's voice.)

And for the first time, through that invisible (and probably, and, of course, necessarily beautiful) girl, he began to see the real Russia, and the voice of Russia told him the truth all night long. One can learn about a country for the first time this way too. (And in the morning he would glimpse Russia's dark straw-thatched roofs through the window—to the sad whispering of his hidden guide.)

Yes, indeed, all this is Russia: the prisoners on the tracks refusing to voice their complaints, the girl on the other side of the Stolypin partition, the convoy going off to sleep, pears falling out of pockets, buried bombs, and a horse climbing to the second floor.

"The gendarmes! The gendarmes!" the prisoners cried out hap- pily. They were happy that they would be escorted the rest of the way by the attentive gendarmes and not by the convoy.

Once again I have forgotten to insert quotation marks. That was Korolenko who was telling us this.13 We, it is true, were not happy to see the bluecaps. But anyone who ever got caught in what the prisoners christened the pendulum would have been glad to see even them.

An ordinary passenger might have a difficult time boarding a train at a small way station—but not getting off. Toss your things out and jump off. This was not the case with a prisoner, however. If the local prison guard or police didn't come for him or was late by even two minutes, toot-toot, the whistle would blow, and the train would get under way, and they would take the poor sinner of a prisoner all the way to the next transit point. And it was all right if it was actually a transit point that they took you to, because they would begin to feed you again there. But sometimes it was all the way to the end of the Stolypin's route, and then they would keep you for eighteen hours in an empty car and take you back with a whole new group of prisoners, and then once again, maybe, they wouldn't come for you—and once again you'd be in a blind alley, and once again you'd wait there and during all that time they wouldn't feed you. Your rations, after all, were issued only until your first stop, and the accounting office isn't to blame that the prison messed things up, for you are, after all, listed for Tulun. And the con- voy isn't responsible for feeding you out of its own rations. So they swing you back and forth six times (it has actually happened!): Irkutsk to Krasnoyarsk, Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk, Irkutsk to Krasnoyarsk, etc., etc., etc., and when you do see a blue visor on the Tulun platform, you are ready to throw your arms around him: Thank you, beloved, for saving me.

You get so worn down, so choked, so shattered in a Stolypin, even in two days' time, that before you get to a big city you yourself don't know whether you would rather keep going in torment just to get there sooner, or whether you'd rather be put in a transit prison to recover a little.

But the convoy guards begin to hustle and bustle. They come out with their overcoats on and knock their gunstocks on the floor. That means they are going to unload the whole car.

First the convoy forms up in a circle at the car steps, and no sooner have you dropped, fallen, tumbled down them, than the guards shout at you deafeningly in unison from all sides (as they have been taught): "Sit down, sit down, sit down!" This is very effective when several voices are shouting it at once and they don't let you raise your eyes. It's like being under shellfire, and involuntarily you squirm, hurry (and where is there for you to hurry to?), crouch close to the ground, and sit down, having caught up with those who disembarked earlier.

"Sit down!" is a very clear command, but if you are a new prisoner, you don't yet understand it. When I heard this com- mand on the switching tracks in Ivanovo, I ran, clutching my suitcase in my arms (if a suitcase has been manufactured out in freedom and not in camp, its handle always breaks off and al- ways at a difficult moment), and set it down on end on the ground and without looking around to see how the first prisoners were sitting, sat down on the suitcase. After all, to sit down right on the ties, on the dark oily sand, in my officer's coat, which was not yet so very dirty and which still had uncut flaps! The chief of the convoy—a ruddy mug, a good Russian face—broke into a run, and I hadn't managed to grasp what he wanted and why until I saw that he meant, clearly, to plant his sacred boot in my cursed back but something restrained him. However, he didn't spare his polished toe and kicked the suitcase and smashed in the top. "Sit down!" he gritted by way of explanation. Only at that point did it dawn on me that I towered over the surround- ing zeks, and without even having the chance to ask: "How am I supposed to sit down?" I already understood how, and sat down in my precious coat, like everybody else, just as dogs sit at gates and cats at doors.

(I still have that suitcase, and even now when I chance to come upon it, I run my fingers around the hole torn in it. It is a wound which cannot heal as wounds heal on bodies or on hearts. Things have longer memories than people.)

And forcing prisoners to sit down was also a calculated maneuver. If you are sitting on your rear end on the ground, so that your knees tower in front of you, then your center of gravity is well back of your legs, and it is difficult to get up and im- possible to jump up. And more than that, they would make us sit as tightly massed together as possible so that we'd be in each other's way. And if all of us wanted to attack the convoy to- gether, they would have mowed us down before we got moving.

They had us sitting there to wait for the Black Maria (it trans- ports the prisoners in batches, you couldn't get them all in at once), or else to be herded off on foot. They would try to sit us down someplace hidden so that fewer free people would see us, but at times they did make the prisoners sit right there awkwardly on the platform or in an open square. (That is how it was in Kuibyshev.) And it is a difficult experience for the free people: we stare at them quite freely and openly with a totally sincere gaze, but how are they supposed to look at us? With hatred? Their consciences don't permit it. (After all, only the Yermilovs believe that people were imprisoned "for cause.") With sym- pathy? With pity? Be careful, someone will take down your name and they'll set you up for a prison term too; it's that simple. And our proud free citizens (as in Mayakovsky: "Read it, envy me, I am a citizen") drop their guilty heads and try not to see us at all, as if the place were empty. The old women are bolder than the rest. You couldn't turn them bad. They believe in God. And they would break off a piece of bread from their meager loaf and throw it to us. And old camp hands—nonpolitical offenders, of course—weren't afraid either. All camp veterans knew the say- ing: "Whoever hasn't been there yet will get there, and whoever was there won't forget it." And look, they'd toss over a pack of cigarettes, hoping that someone might do the same for them during their next term. And the old woman's bread wouldn't quite carry far enough, what with her weak arm, and it would fall short, whereas the pack of cigarettes would arch through the air right into our midst, and the convoy guards would im- mediately work the bolts of their rifles—pointing them at the old woman, at kindness, at the bread: "Come on, old woman, run along."

And the holy bread, broken in two, was left to lie in the dust while we were driven off.

In general, those minutes of sitting on the ground there at the station were among our very best. I remember that in Omsk we were made to sit down on the railroad ties between two long freight trains. No one from outside entered this alleyway. (In all probability, they had stationed a soldier at either end: "You can't go in there." And even in freedom our people are taught to take orders from anyone in a uniform.) It began to grow dark. It was August. The oily station gravel hadn't yet completely cooled off from the sun and warmed us where we sat. We couldn't see the station, but it was very close by, somewhere behind the trains. A phonograph blared dance music, and the crowd buzzed in unison. And for some reason it didn't seem humiliating to sit on the ground in a crowded dirty mass in some kind of pen; and it wasn't a mockery to hear the dances of young strangers, dances we would never dance; to picture someone on the station platform meeting someone or seeing someone off—maybe even with flowers. It was twenty minutes of near-freedom: the twilight deepened, the first stars began to shine, there were red and green lights along the tracks, and the music kept playing. Life was going on without us—and we didn't even mind any more.

Cherish such moments, and prison will become easier to bear. Otherwise you will explode from rage.

And if it was dangerous to herd the zeks along to the Black Maria because there were streets and people right next to them, then the convoy statutes provided another good command: "Link arms!" There was nothing humiliating in this—link arms! Old men and boys, girls and old women, healthy people and cripples. If one of your hands is hanging onto your belongings, your neighbor puts his arm under that arm and you in turn link your other arm with your other neighbor's. So you have now been compressed twice as tightly as in ordinary formation, and you have immediately become heavier and are hampered by being thrown out of balance by your belongings and by your awkward- ness with them, and you sway steadily as you limp. Dirty, gray, clumsy creatures, you move ahead like blind men with an ostensible tenderness for one another—a caricature of humanity.

It may well be that no Black Maria at all is there to fetch you. And the chief of convoy is perhaps a coward. He is afraid he will fail to deliver you safely—and in this state, weighed down, jouncing as you go, knocking into things, you trudge all the way through the city to the prison itself.

There is one more command which is a caricature of geese: "Take hold of your heels!" This meant that anyone whose hands were free had to grab both his legs at about ankle height. And now: "Forward march." (Well, now, reader, put this book aside, try going around the room that way! How does it work? And at what speed? How much looking around could you do? And what about escaping?) Picture the way three or four dozen such geese look from the side. (Kiev, 1940.)

And it is not necessarily August out; it might be December, 1946, and, there being no Black Maria, you are being herded at 40 degrees below zero to the Petropavlovsk Transit Prison. And it is easy to guess that during the last hours before arriv- ing the Stolypin convoy refused to go to the trouble of taking you to the toilet, so as to avoid getting it dirty. Weakened from interrogation, gripped by the cold, you have a very hard time holding it—women especially. Well, and so what! It's for horses to stand stock-still and loose the floodgates! It's for dogs to go lift a leg against a fence. But as for people, you can do it right there, while you keep moving. No need to be shy in your own fatherland. It will dry at the transit prison. . . . Vera Korneyeva stooped down to adjust her shoe and fell one step behind, and the convoy immediately set the police dog on her and the dog bit her in the buttocks through all her winter clothing. Don't fall behind! And an Uzbek fell down, and they beat him with their gunstocks and jackboots.

Well, that's no tragedy: it won't be photographed for the Daily Express. And the chief of convoy will live to a ripe old age and never be tried by anyone.

And the Black Marias, too, came down to us from history. In what respect does the prison carriage described by Balzac differ from a Black Maria? Only that the prison carriage was drawn along more slowly, and prisoners weren't packed so tightly.

True, in the twenties columns of prisoners were still being driven afoot through our cities, even Leningrad. They brought traffic to a halt at intersections. ("So you got caught stealing?" came the reproaches from the sidewalks. No one had yet grasped the great plan for sewage disposal.)

But, always alert to technological trends, the Archipelago lost no time in adopting the black ravens, more familiarly known simply as ravens—Black Marias. These first Black Marias ap- peared at the same time as the very first trucks on our still cob- blestoned streets. Their suspension was poor, and it was very rough riding in them, but then the prisoners weren't made of crystal either. On the other hand, they were very tightly corked even at that time, in 1927: there wasn't one little crack; and there wasn't one little electric light bulb, and there wasn't any air to breathe, and it was impossible to see out. And even in those days they stood so tightly packed inside that there wasn't any room left at all. And it wasn't that all this was intentionally planned; there simply weren't enough wheels to go around.

For many years the Black Marias were steel-gray and had, so to speak, prison written all over them. But in the biggest cities after the war they had second thoughts and decided to paint them bright colors and to write on the outside, "Bread" (the prisoners were the bread of construction), or "Meat" (it would have been more accurate to write "bones"), or even, simply, "Drink Soviet Champagne!"

Inside, the Black Marias might consist of a simple armored body or shell, an empty enclosure. Or perhaps there were benches against the walls all the way around. This was in no sense a con- venience, but the reverse: they would push in just as many prisoners as could be inserted standing up, but in this case they would be piled on top of each other like baggage, one bale on another. The Black Maria might also have a box in the rear— a narrow steel closet for one prisoner. Or it might be boxed throughout: single closets that locked like cells along the right- and left-hand walls, with a corridor in the middle for the turnkey.

One was hardly likely to imagine that interior like a honey- comb when looking at that laughing maiden on the outside: "Drink Soviet Champagne!"

They drive you into the Black Marias to the tune of the same shouts coming from the convoy from all sides at once: "Come on there, get a move on, quick!" And so that you shouldn't have time to look around and figure out how to escape, you are shoved and pushed so that you and your bag get stuck in the narrow little door and you knock your head against the lintel. The steel rear door slams shut with a bang—and off you go.

It was rare, of course, to spend hours in a Black Maria; twenty to thirty minutes were more likely. But you got flung around, it was a bone-breaker, it crushed all your insides during those half- hours, your head stooped if you were tall, and you remembered the cozy Stolypin with longing.

And the Black Maria means one thing further—it is a re- shuffling of the deck, new encounters, and among them those which stand out most clearly are, of course, your encounters with the thieves. You may never happen to be in the same compart- ment with them, and maybe they won't put you in the same cell with them even at the transit prison, but here in the Black Maria you are in their hands.

Sometimes it is so crowded that even the thieves, the urki, find it awkward to filch. Your legs and your arms are clamped between your neighbors' bodies and bags as tightly as if they were in stocks. Only when all of you are tossed up and down and all your insides are shaken up by ruts and bumps can you change the position of your legs and arms.

Sometimes, in less crowded circumstances, the thieves can check out the contents of all the bags in just half an hour and appropriate all the "bacilli"—the fats and goodies—and the best of the "trash"—the clothing. Cowardly and sensible considera- tions most likely restrain you from putting up a fight against them. (And crumb by crumb you are already beginning to lose your immortal soul, still supposing that the main enemies and the main issues lie somewhere ahead and that you must save yourself for them.) And you might just throw a punch at them once and get a knife in the ribs then and there. (There would be no in- vestigation, and even if there should be one, it wouldn't threaten the thieves in any way: they would only be delayed at the transit prison instead of going to the far-off camp. You must concede that in a fight between a socially friendly prisoner and a socially hostile prisoner the state simply could not be on the side of the latter.)

In 1946, retired Colonel Lunin, a high-ranking official in Osoaviakhim—the Society for Assistance to Defense and to Aviation-Chemical Construction of the U.S.S.R.—recounted in a Butyrki cell how the thieves in a Moscow Black Maria, on March 8, International Women's Day, during their transit from the City Court to Taganka Prison, gang-raped a young bride in his presence (and amid the silent passivity of everyone else in the van). That very morning the girl had come to her trial a free person, as attractively dressed as she could manage (she was on trial for leaving her work without official permission—which in itself was a repulsive fabrication worked up by her chief in revenge for her refusal to live with him). A half-hour before the Black Maria, the girl had been sentenced to five years under the decree and had then been shoved into this Black Maria, and right there in broad daylight, somewhere on the Park Ring ("Drink Soviet Champagne!"), had been turned into a camp prostitute. And are we really to say that it was the thieves who did this to her and not the jailers? And not her chief?

And thief tenderness too! Having raped her, they robbed her. They took the fashionable shoes with which she had hoped to charm the judges, and her blouse—which they shoved through to the convoy guards, who stopped the van and went off to get some vodka and handed it in so the thieves could drink at her expense too.

And when they got to the Taganka Prison, the girl sobbed out her complaint. And the officer listened to her, yawned, and said: "The government can't provide each of you with individual transportation. We don't have such facilities."

Yes, the Black Marias are a "bottleneck" of the Archipelago. If there is no possibility of separating the politicals from the criminals in the Stolypins, then it isn't possible to keep women separate from men in the Black Marias. And just how could one expect the thieves not to live it up en route from one jail to another?

Well, and if it weren't for the thieves, we would have to be grateful to the Black Marias for our brief encounters with women! Where, if not here, is one to see them, hear them, and touch them in a prison existence?

Once in 1950 they were transporting us from the Butyrki to the station in a not at all crowded van—-fourteen people in a Black Maria with benches. Everyone sat down, and suddenly they pushed in one more—a woman, alone. She sat down beside the rear door, fearfully at first. After all, she was totally defense- less against fourteen men in a dark cell. But it became clear after a few words that all those present were comrades. Fifty-eights.

She gave us her name—Repina, a colonel's wife, and she had been arrested right after he had. And suddenly a silent military man, so young and thin that it seemed he had to be a lieutenant, said to her: "Tell me, weren't you arrested with Antonina I.?" "What? Are you her husband? Oleg?" "Yes!" "Lieutenant Colonel L? From the Frunze Academy?" "Yes!"

What a yes that was! It emerged from a trembling throat, and in it there was more fear of finding out something bad than there was happiness. He sat down next to her. Twilight shafts of summer daylight, diffused through two microscopic gratings in the two rear doors, flickered around the interior as the van moved along and across the faces of the woman and the lieutenant colonel. "She and I were imprisoned in the same cell for four months while she was undergoing interrogation." "Where is she now?" "All that time she lived only for you! Her fears weren't for herself but were all for you. First that they shouldn't arrest you. And then later that you should get a lighter sentence." "But what has happened to her now?" "She blamed herself for your arrest. Things were so hard for her!" "Where is she now?" "Just don't be frightened"—and Repina put her hands on his chest as if he were her own kin. "She simply couldn't endure the strain. They took her away from us. She, you know, became—well, a little confused. You understand?"

And that tiny storm boxed in sheets of steel rolled along so peacefully in the six-lane automobile traffic, stopped at traffic lights, and signaled for a turn.

I had met Oleg I. in the Butyrki just a few moments before— and here is how it happened. They had herded us into the station "box" and had brought us our things from the storage room. They called him and me to the door at the same moment. Through the opened door into the corridor we could see a woman jailer rifling the contents of his suitcase, and she flung out of it and onto the floor a golden shoulder board with the stars of a lieutenant colonel that had survived until then all by itself, heaven only knows how; she herself hadn't noticed it, and she had ac- cidentally stepped on its big stars with her foot.

She had trampled it with her shoe—exactly as in a film shot.

I said to him: "Direct your attention to that, Comrade Lieutenant Colonel!"

And he glowered. After all, he still had his ideas about the spotlessness of the service.

And now here was the next thing—about his wife.

And he had had only one hour to fit all this in.

Chapter 2
The Ports
of the Archipelago

Spread out on a large table the enormous map of our Mother- land. Indicate with fat black dots all provincial capitals, all railroad junctions, all transfer points where the railroad line ends in a river route, and where rivers bend and trails begin. What is this? Has the entire map been speckled by infectious flies? What it is, in fact, is precisely the majestic map of the ports of the Archipelago. These are not, to be sure, the enchanted ports to which Aleksandr Grin enticed us, where rum is drunk in taverns and men pay court to beautiful women.

It is a rare zek who has not known from three to five transit prisons and camps; many remember a dozen or so, and the sons of Gulag can count up to fifty of them without the slightest dif- ficulty. However, in memory they get all mixed up together be- cause they are so similar: in the illiteracy of their convoys, in their inept roll calls based on case files; the long waiting under the beating sun or autumn drizzle; the still longer body searches that involve undressing completely; their haircuts with unsanitary clippers; their cold, slippery baths; their foul-smelling toilets; their damp and moldy corridors; their perpetually crowded, nearly always dark, wet cells; the warmth of human flesh flanking you on the floor or on the board bunks; the bumpy ridges of bunk heads knocked together from boards; the wet, almost liquid, bread; the gruel cooked from what seems to be silage.

And whoever has a good sharp memory and can recollect precisely what distinguishes one from another has no need to travel about the country because he knows its geography full well on the basis of transit prisons. Novosibirsk? I know it. I was there. Very strong barracks there, made from thick beams. Irkutsk? That was where the windows had been bricked over in several stages, you could see how they had been in Tsarist times, and each course had been laid separately, and only small slits had been left between them. Vologda? Yes, an ancient build- ing with towers. The toilets right on top of one another, the wooden partitions rotten, and the ones above leaking down into the ones underneath. Usman? Of course. A lice-ridden stinking hole of a jail, an ancient vaulted structure. And they used to pack it so full that whenever they took prisoners out for a transport you couldn't imagine where they'd put them all—a line strung out halfway through the city.

You had better not tell such a connoisseur that you know some city without a transit prison. He will prove to you conclusively that there are no such cities, and he will be right. Salsk? Well, there they keep transit prisoners in the KPZ—cells for prelim- inary detention—along with prisoners under interrogation. And what do you mean, no transit prison in every district center too? In Sol-Iletsk? Of course there's one. In Rybinsk? What about Prison No. 2, a former monastery? It's a quiet one, too, with empty courtyards paved with old, mossy flagstones and clean wooden tubs in the bath. In Chita? Prison No. 1. In Naushki? Not a prison but a transit camp, which is the same thing. In Torzhok? Up the hill, also in a monastery.

You must realize, dear sir, that every town has to have its own transit prison. After all, the courts operate everywhere. And how are prisoners to be delivered to camp? By air?

Of course, no transit prison is the equal of another. But which is better and which worse is something that can't be settled in an argument. If three or four zeks get together, each of them feels bound to praise his "own." Let us listen for a while to such a discussion:

"Well, even if the Ivanovo Transit Prison isn't one of the more famous, my friends, just ask anybody imprisoned there in the winter of 1937-1938. The prison was unheated—and the prison- ers not only didn't freeze to death, but on the upper bunks they lay there undressed. And they knocked out all the windowpanes so as not to suffocate. Instead of the twenty men Cell 21 was supposed to contain, there were three hundred and twenty-three! There was water underneath the bunks, and boards were laid in the water and people lay on those boards. That was right where the frost poured in from the broken windows. It was like Arctic night down under the bunks. There was no light down there either because it was cut off by the people lying on the bunks above and standing in the aisle. It was impossible to walk through the aisle to the latrine tank, and people crawled along the edges of the bunks. They didn't distribute rations to individuals but to units of ten. If one of the ten died, the others shoved his corpse under the bunks and kept it there until it started to stink. They got the corpse's ration. And all that could have been endured, but the turnkeys seemed to have been oiled with turpentine—and they kept driving the prisoners endlessly from cell to cell, on and on. You'd just get yourself settled when 'Come on, get a move on! You're being moved!' And you'd have to start in again trying to find a place! And the reason for such overcrowding was that they hadn't taken anyone to the bath for three months, the lice had multiplied, and people had abscesses from the lice on their feet and legs—and typhus too. And because of the typhus the prison was quarantined and no prisoner transports could leave it for four months."

"Well, fellows, the problem there wasn't Ivanovo, but the year. In 1937-1938, of course, not just the zeks but the very stones of the transit prisons were screaming in agony. Irkutsk was no special transit prison either, but in 1938 the doctors didn't even dare look into the cells but would walk down the corridor while the turnkey shouted through the door: 'Anyone unconscious, come out.' "

"In 1937, fellows, it was that way all across Siberia to the Kolyma, and the big bottleneck was in the Sea of Okhotsk, and in Vladivostok. The steamships could transport only thirty thou- sand a month, and they kept driving them on and on from Moscow without taking that into account. Well, and so a hundred thousand of them piled up. Understand?"

"Who counted them?"

"Whoever was supposed to, counted."

"If you're talking about the Vladivostok Transit Prison, then in February, 1937, there weren't more than forty thousand there."

"People were stuck there for several months at a time. The bedbugs infested the board bunks like locusts. Half a mug of water a day; there wasn't any more!—no one to haul it. There was one whole compound of Koreans, and they all died from dysentery, every last one of them. They took a hundred corpses out of our own compound every morning. They were building a morgue, so they hitched the zeks to the carts and hauled the stone that way. Today you do the hauling, and tomorrow they haul you there yourself. And in autumn the typhus arrived. And we did the same thing: we didn't hand over the corpses till they stank—and took the extra rations. No medication whatever. We crawled to the fence and begged: 'Give us medicine.' And the guards fired a volley from the watchtowers. Then they as- sembled those with typhus in a separate barracks. Some didn't make it there, and only a few came back. The bunks there had two stories. And anyone on an upper who was sick and running a fever wasn't able to clamber down to go to the toilet—and so it would all pour down on the people underneath. There were fifteen hundred sick there. And all the orderlies were thieves. They'd pull out the gold teeth from the corpses. And not only from the corpses."

"Why do you keep going on and on about 1937? What about 1949 on Vanino Bay, in the fifth compound? What about that? There were 35,000! And for several months too! There was an- other bottleneck in transport to the Kolyma. And every night for some reason they kept driving people from one barracks to an- other and from one compound to another. Just as it was with the Fascists: Whistles! Screams! 'Come on out there without the last. one!'

["Without the last one!"—a menacing command to be understood literally. It meant: "I will kill the last man" (literally or at least warm his hide with a club). And so all piled out so as not to be last.]

And everyone went on the run! Always on the run! They'd drive a hundred to get bread—on the run! For gruel—on the run! No bowls to eat from. Take the gruel in whatever you could—the flap of your coat, your hands! They brought water in big tanks and there was nothing to distribute it in, so they shot it out in sprays. And whoever could get his mouth in front of one got some. Prisoners began to fight in front of the tanks—and the guards fired on them from the towers. Exactly like under the Fascists! Major General Derevyanko, the Chief of Administration of the Northeast [i.e., Kolyma] Corrective Labor Camps, came, and while he was there an air force aviator stepped out in front of the crowd and ripped his field shirt down the front: 1 have seven battle decorations! Who gave you the right to shoot into the compound?' And Derevyanko replied: 'We shot and we will go on shooting until you learn how to behave.' "

[Say there, Bertrand Russell's "War Crimes Tribunal"! Why don't you use this bit of material? Or doesn't it suit you?]

"No, boys, none of those are real transit prisons. Now take Kirov! That was a real one! Let's not take any special year, but, say, 1947. Even then in Kirov two turnkeys had to work together with their boots to jam people into a cell, that being the only way they could get the door shut. In September (and Kirov—formerly Vyatka—isn't on the Black Sea either) everyone was sitting naked on the three-story bunks because of the heat. They were sitting because there was no place to lie down: one row sat at the heads of the bunks and one row at the feet. And two rows sat on the floor in the aisle, and others stood between them, and they took turns. They kept their knapsacks in their hands or on their knees because there was nowhere to put them down. Only the thieves were in their lawful places, the second-story bunks next to the windows, and they spread out as they pleased. There were so many bedbugs that they went right on biting in the daytime, and they dive-bombed straight from the ceiling. And people had to suffer through that for a week or even a month."

I myself would like to interrupt in order to tell about Krasnaya Presnya in August, 1945, in the Victory summer, but I am shy: after all, in Krasnaya Presnya we could somehow stretch out our legs at night, and the bedbugs were moderate, and flies bit us all night long as we lay naked and sweaty under the bright lights, but of course that's nothing at all, and I would be ashamed to boast about it.

[This transit prison with its glorious revolutionary name is little known to Muscovites. There are no excursions to it, and how could there be when it is still in operation? But to get a close look at it, you don't have to travel any distance at all. It's a mere stone's throw from the Novokhoroshevo High- way on the circle line.]

We streamed with sweat every time we moved, and it simply poured out of us after we ate. There were a hundred of us in a cell a little larger than the average room in an apart- ment, and we were packed in, and you couldn't find a place on the floor for your feet. And two little windows on the south side were blocked with "muzzles" made of steel sheets. They not only kept the air from circulating, but they got very hot from the sun and radiated heat into the cell.

Just as all transit prisons are pointless, talk about transit prisons is pointless, and, in all probability, this chapter, too, will turn out to be the same: one doesn't know what to take hold of first, what particular thing to talk about, what to lead off with. And the more people that are crowded into transit prisons, the more pointless it all becomes. It is unbearable for a human being, and it is inexpedient for Gulag—but people sit there month after month. And the transit prison becomes a straight factory: bread rations are lugged in, stacked up in hand barrows like those in which bricks are hauled. And the steaming gruel is brought in six-bucket wooden casks that have holes knocked in them with a crowbar.

The transit prison at Kotlas was tenser and more aboveboard than many. Tenser because it opened the way to the whole North- east of European Russia, and more aboveboard because it was already deep in the Archipelago, and there was no need to pre- tend to anybody. It was simply a piece of land divided into cages by fencing and the cages were all kept locked. Although it had been thickly settled by peasants when they were exiled in 1930 (one must realize that they had no roofs over their heads, but nobody is left to tell about it), even in 1938 there simply wasn't room for everyone in the frail one-story wooden barracks made of discarded end-pieces of lumber and covered with ... tarpaulin. Under the wet autumn snow and in freezing tempera- tures people simply lived there on the ground, beneath the heavens. True, they weren't allowed to grow numb from in- activity. They were being counted endlessly; they were in- vigorated by check-ups (twenty thousand people were there at a time) or by sudden night searches. Later on tents were pitched in these cages, and log houses two stories high were built in some of them, but to reduce the construction costs sensibly, no floor was laid between the stories—six-story bunks with stepladders were simply built into the sides, up and down which prisoners on their last legs, on the verge of dying, had to clamber like sailors (a structure which would have adorned a ship more appropriately than a port). In the winter of 1944-1945, when everyone had a roof over his head, there was room for only 7,500 prisoners, and fifty of them died every day, and the stretchers on which they were carried to the morgue were never idle. (People will object that this was quite acceptable—a death rate of less than one percent per day—and that, given that sort of turnover, a person might manage to last five months. Yes, but the main killer was camp labor, and that hadn't even begun yet for transit prisoners. This loss of two-thirds of one percent per day repre- sents sheer shrinkage, and it would be intolerably high even in some vegetable warehouses.)

The deeper into the Archipelago one got, the more obviously did the concrete docks of the Archipelago become transformed into wharves made of wooden pilings.

In the course of several years, half a million people passed through Karabas, the transit camp near Karaganda, whose name became a byword in the language. (Yuri Karbe was there in 1942 and was already registered in the 433rd thousand.) The transit prison consisted of low rammed-earth barracks with earthen floors. Daily recreation there consisted in driving all the prisoners out with their things and putting artists to work white- washing the floor and even painting carpets on it, and then in the evening the zeks would lie down on it, and their bodies would rub out both the whitewash and the carpets.

[Of all the transit prisons Karabas was worthiest of becoming a museum. But, alas, it no longer exists: in its place there is a factory for reinforced- concrete products.]

The Knyazh-Pogost transit point (latitude 63 degrees north) consisted of shacks built on a swamp. Their pole frames were covered with torn tarpaulin tenting that didn't quite reach the ground. The double bunks inside them were also made of poles (from which, incidentally, the branches had been only partially removed), and the aisle was floored with poles also. During the day, the wet mud squelched through the flooring, and at night it froze. In various parts of the area, the walkways were laid on frail and shaky poles and here and there people whom weakness had made clumsy fell into the water and ooze. In 1938 they fed the prisoners in Knyazh-Pogost the same thing every day: a mash made of crushed grits and fish bones. This was convenient be- cause there were no bowls, spoons, or forks at the transit prison and the prisoners had none of their own either. They were herded to the boiler by the dozens and the mash was ladled into their caps or the flaps of their jackets.

And in the transit prison of Vogvozdino (several miles from Ust-Vym), where five thousand prisoners were kept at a time (now who ever heard of Vogvozdino before this sentence? how many such unknown transit prisons were there? and then multiply that by 5,000), the food was liquid, but they had no bowls either. However, they managed without them (what is there that our Russian ingenuity cannot overcome?) by distributing the gruel in washbasins for ten people at a time, leaving them to race each other gulping it down.

[Galina Serebryakova! Boris Dyakov! Aldan-Semyonov! Did you ever gulp from a washbasin, ten at a time? And if you had, you would never, of course, have descended to the "animal needs" of Ivan Denisovich, would you? And in the midst of the mob scene at the washbasin you would have continued to think only about your dear Party?]

True, no one was imprisoned in Vogvozdino longer than a year. (The kind of prisoner who would have been imprisoned there that long was a prisoner on his last legs whom all the camps had refused to accept.)

The imagination of writers is poverty-stricken in regard to the native life and customs of the Archipelago. When they want to write about the most reprehensible and disgraceful aspect of prison, they always accuse the latrine bucket. In literature the latrine bucket has become the symbol of prison, a symbol of humiliation, of stink. Oh, how frivolous can you be? Now was the latrine bucket really an evil for the prisoner? On the contrary, it was the most merciful device of the prison administration. The actual horror began the moment there was no latrine bucket in the cell.

In 1937 there were no latrine buckets in certain Siberian prisons, or there weren't enough. Not enough of them had been made ahead of time—Siberian industry hadn't caught up with the full scope of arrests. There were no latrine barrels in the warehouses for the newly created cells. There were old latrine buckets in the cells, but they were antiquated and small, and the only reasonable thing to do at that point was to remove them, since they amounted to nothing at all for the new reinforcements of prisoners. So if long ago the Minusinsk Prison had been built for five hundred people (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was never inside it; he moved about freely), and there were now ten thousand in it, it meant that each latrine bucket ought to have become twenty times bigger. But it had not.

Our Russian pens write only in large letters. We have lived through so very much, and almost none of it has been described and called by its right name. But, for Western authors, peering through a microscope at the living cells of everyday life, shaking a test tube in the beam of a strong light, this is after all a whole epic, another ten volumes of Remembrance of Things Past: to describe the perturbation of a human soul placed in a cell filled to twenty times its capacity and with no latrine bucket, where prisoners are taken out to the toilet only once a day! Of course, much of the texture of this life is bound to be quite unknown to Western writers; they wouldn't realize that in this situation one solution was to urinate in your canvas hood, nor would they at all understand one prisoner's advice to another to urinate in his boot! And yet that advice was the fruit of wisdom derived from vast experience, and it didn't involve spoiling the boot and it didn't reduce the boot to the status of a pail. It meant that the boot had to be taken off, turned upside down, the boot tops turned inside out and up—-and thus a cylindrical vessel was formed that constituted the much-needed container. But, at the same time, with what psychological twists and turns Western writers could enrich their literature (without in the least risking any banal repe- tition of the famous masters) if they only knew about the scheme of things in that same Minusinsk Prison: there was only one food bowl for every four prisoners; and one mug of drinking water per day was issued to each (there were enough mugs to go around). And it could happen that one of the four contrived to use the bowl allotted to him and three others to relieve his internal pres- sure and then refuse to hand over his daily water ration to wash it out before lunch. What a conflict! What a clash of four per- sonalities! What nuances! (And I am not joking. That is when the rock bottom of a human being is revealed. It is only that Russian pens are too busy to write about it, and Russian eyes don't have time to read about it. I am not joking—because only doctors can tell us how months in such a cell will ruin a human being's health for his entire life, even if he wasn't shot under Yezhov and was rehabilitated under Khrushchev.)

And just to think that we had dreamed of resting and loosening up a bit in port! After being squashed and doubled up for sev- eral days in the Stolypin, how we had dreamed of the transit prison! That we could stretch out a bit there and straighten up. That we would be able to go to the toilet there without hurrying! That we would drink as much water there as we wanted, and get as much hot water for tea. That there we wouldn't be forced to ransom our own bread rations from the convoy with our own belongings. That we would be fed hot food there. And that at last we would be taken to the bath, that we could drench our- selves in hot water and stop itching. We had had elbows stuck into our sides and been tossed from side to side in the Black Maria; and they had shouted at us: "Link arms!" "Take hold of your heels!" But we were in good spirits anyway: it was all right, all right, soon we would be at the transit prison! And now we were there.

And even if some part of our dreams came true in the transit prison, something else would foul it all up anyway.

What awaits us in the bath? You can never be sure. They begin suddenly to shave all the women's hair off. (In Krasnaya Presnya, in November, 1950.) Or a line of us naked men is clipped by women barbers only. In the Vologda steam room, portly Aunt Motya used to shout: "Stand up, men!" And she'd let the whole line have it from the steam pipe. And the Irkutsk Transit Prison argued differently: it's more natural for the entire service staff in the bath to be male and for a man to smear on the medicinal tar ointment between the women's legs. Or during the winter, in the cold soaping-up room of the Novosibirsk Transit Prison only cold water comes from the faucets; the prisoners make up their minds to ask higher-ups, and a captain comes, puts his own hand unfastidiously under a faucet: "I say this water is hot, get it?" I have already wearied of reporting that there are baths which have no water at all, that they scorch clothes in the roaster, that after the bath they compel people to run naked and barefoot through the snow to get their things (the counterintelligence of the Second Byelorussian Front in Brodnica in 1945).

From your very first steps in the transit prison you realize that here you are not in the hands of the jailers or the officers of the prison administration, who at least adhere some of the time to some kind of written law. Here you are in the hands of the trusties. That surly bath attendant who comes to meet your prisoner transport: "Well, go wash, gentlemen Fascists!" And that work-assignment clerk with a plywood writing board who looks over your forma- tion searchingly and hurries you up. And that instructor, clean- shaven except for a prominent forelock, who slaps his leg with that rolled-up newspaper and at the same time gives your bags a once-over. And then other transit-prison trusties, whom you don't recognize, penetrate your suitcases with X-ray eyes—oh, how alike they all are! And where in your brief prisoner-transport journey have you seen them all before? Not so clean-looking, not so well washed, but the same kind of ugly-mug swine with pitiless, bare-toothed grins?

Baaaah! These are the same blatnye, the thieves, again. Those same urki crooks, whom Leonid Utyosov glorifies in his songs. Here again are Zhenka Zhogol, Seryoga-Zver, and Dimka Kish- kenya, but not behind bars this time; they have been cleaned up, dressed up as representatives of the state. And putting on airs of great importance, they see to it that discipline is observed—by us. And if one peers into those snouts, one can even, with imagina- tion, picture that they sprang from the same Russian roots as the rest of us—that once upon a time they were village boys whose fathers bore such names as Klim, Prokhor, Guri, and that their general structure is even similar to our own: two nostrils, two irises in the eyes, a rosy tongue with which to swallow food and utter certain Russian sounds, which, however, shape totally new words.

Every chief of a transit prison has enough presence of mind to realize that he can send his relatives back home the wages for all staff positions or else he can divvy them up with the other prison officers. And all you have to do is whistle to get as many vol- unteers as you want from among the socially friendly prison ele- ments to carry out all that work just in return for being allowed to cast anchor at the transit prison and not have to go on to a mine or to the taiga. All these work-assignment clerks, office clerks, bookkeepers, instructors, bath attendants, barbers, stockroom clerks, cooks, dishwashers, laundresses, tailors who repair under- wear and linens—are permanent transit-prison residents. They receive prison rations and are registered in cells, and they swipe the rest of their soup and chow on their own out of the common food pot or out of the bundles of the transit zeks. All these transit- prison trusties regard it as certain that they will never be better off in any camp. We arrive in their hands still not completely plucked, and they bamboozle us to their hearts' content. It is they and not the jailers who search us and our belongings here, and before the search they suggest we turn in our money for safekeep- ing, and they seriously write down a list—we never see the list or the money again. "We turned in our money." "Who to?" the officer who has arrived on the scene asks in surprise. "Well, it was one of them." "Who exactly?" The trusties hadn't noticed which one. "Why did you turn it over to him?" "We thought . . ." "That's what the turkey thought! Think less and you'll be better off." And that's that. They suggest we leave our things in the vestibule to the bath: "No one's going to take them. Who needs them?" We leave them, for after all we can't take them into the bath with us anyway. We return and there are no sweaters left and no fur-lined mittens. "What kind of a sweater was it?" "Grayish." "Well, that means it went to the laundry." They also take things from us honestly: in return for taking a suitcase into the storage room for safekeeping; for putting us in a cell without the thieves; for sending us off on prisoner transports as soon as possible; for not sending us off as long as possible. The only thing they don't do is rob us by main force out in the open.

"But those aren't thieves!" the connoisseurs among us explain. "These are the bitches—the ones who work for the prison. They are enemies of the honest thieves. And the honest thieves are the ones imprisoned in cells." But somehow this is hard for our rab- bity brains to grasp. Their ways are the same; they have the same kind of tattoos. Maybe they really are enemies of those others, but after all they are not our friends either, that's how it is. ...

And by this time they have forced us to sit down in the yard right underneath the cell windows. The windows all have "muz- zles" on them and you can't look in, but from inside, hoarse, friendly voices advise: "Hey, fellows! You know what they do here? When they search you, they take away everything loose like tea and tobacco. If you have any, toss it in here, through our window. We'll give it back later." So what do you know? We are suckers and rabbits. Maybe they do take tea and tobacco away. We have read about universal prisoner solidarity in all our great literature, that one prisoner won't deceive another. The way they spoke to us was friendly. "Hey, fellows!" And so we toss them our tobacco pouches. And the genuine pure-bred thieves on the other side catch them and guffaw: "You Fascist stupes."

And here are the slogans with which the whole transit prison welcomes us even though they don't actually hang them on the walls: "Don't look for justice here!" "You're going to have to hand over everything you've got to us." "You'll have to give it all up." This is repeated to you by the jailers, the convoy, and the thieves. You are overwhelmed by your unbearable prison term, and you are trying to figure out how to catch your breath, while everyone around you is figuring out how to plunder you. Every- thing works out so as to oppress the political prisoner, who is already depressed and abandoned without all that. "You will have to give it all up." The jailer at the Gorky Transit Prison shakes his head hopelessly; and with a sense of relief, Ans Bern- shtein gives him his officer's greatcoat—not free, but in exchange for two onions. And why should you complain about the thieves if you see all the jailers at Krasnaya Presnya wearing chrome- leather boots they were never issued? They were all lifted by the thieves in the cells and then pushed to the jailers. Why complain about the thieves if the instructor of the Cultural and Educational Department of the camp administration is a blatnoi, a thief, him- self and writes reports on the politicals? (The Kem Transit Prison.) And how are you ever going to get justice against the thieves in the Rostov Transit Prison when this is their ancient native tribal den?

They say that in 1942 at the Gorky Transit Prison some officer prisoners (including Gavrilov, the military engineer Shchebetin, and others) nonetheless rebelled, beat up the thieves, and forced them to stay in line. But this is always regarded as a legend; did the thieves capitulate in just one of the cells? For long? And how was it that the bluecaps allowed the socially hostile elements to beat up the socially friendly ones? And when they say that at the Kotlas Transit Prison in 1940 the thieves started to grab money right out of the hands of the politicals lined up at the commissary, and the politicals began to beat them up so badly that they couldn't be stopped, and the perimeter guards entered the compound with machine guns to defend the thieves—now there's something that rings true. That's the way it really was.

Foolish relatives! They dash about in freedom, borrow money (because they never have that kind of money at home), and send you foodstuffs and things—the widow's last mite, but also a poisoned gift, because it transforms you from a free though hungry person into one who is anxious and cowardly, and it deprives you of that newly dawning enlightenment, that toughen- ing resolve, which are all you need for your descent into the abyss. Oh, wise Gospel saying about the camel and the eye of the needle! These material things will keep you from entering the heavenly kingdom of the liberated spirit. And you see that others in the police van have the same kind of bags as you. "Ragbag bastards!" the thieves have already snarled at you in the Black Maria—but there were only two of them and there were fifty of you and so far they haven't touched you. And now they were holding us for the second day at the Krasnaya Presnya station with our legs tucked beneath us on the dirty floor because we were so crowded. However, none of us was observing the life going on around us, because we were all too concerned with how to turn in our suitcases for safekeeping. Even though we were supposed to have the right to turn in our things for safekeeping, nonetheless the only reason the work-assignment clerks permitted us to do it was because the prison was a Moscow prison and we ourselves hadn't yet lost our Moscow look.

What a relief—our things had been checked. (And that meant we would have to give them up not at this transit prison but later on.) The only things left dangling from our hands were our bundles with our ill-fated foodstuffs. Too many of us beavers had been assembled in one place. They began to distribute us among different cells. I was shoved into a cell with that same Valentin whom I had been with the day I signed for my OSO sentence, and who had proposed with touching sentiment that we begin a new life in camp. It was not yet packed full. The aisle was free. There was plenty of space under the bunks. According to the traditional arrangement, the thieves occupied the second tier of bunks: their senior members were beside the windows, their juniors farther back. A neutral gray mass was on the lower bunks. No one attacked us. Without looking around and without thinking ahead, inexperienced as we were, we sat down on the asphalt floor and crawled under the bunks. We would even be cozy there.

The bunks were low for big men to get under, and we had to slide in on our bellies, inching along the asphalt floor. We did. And we were going to lie there quietly and talk quietly. Not a chance! In the semidarkness, with a wordless rustling, from all sides juveniles crept up on us on all fours, like big rats. They were still boys, some twelve-year-olds even, but the Criminal Code accepted them too. They had already been processed through a thieves' trial, and they were continuing their apprenticeship with the thieves here. They had been unleashed on us. They jumped us from all sides and six pairs of hands stripped from us and wrenched from under us all our wealth. And all this took place in total silence, with only the sound of sinister sniffing. And we were trapped: we couldn't get up, we couldn't move. It took no more than a minute for them to seize the bundles with the fat bacon, sugar, and bread. They were gone. We lay there feeling stupid. We had given up our food without a fight. And we could go on lying there now, but that was utterly impossible. Creeping out awkwardly, rear ends first, we got up from under the bunks.

Am I a coward? I had thought I wasn't one. I had pushed my way into the heat of a bombing in the open steppe, I hadn't been afraid to drive over a trail obviously mined with antitank mines. I had remained coolheaded when I led my battery out of encircle- ment and went back in for a damaged command car. Why, then, at that moment didn't I grab one of those human rats and grate his rosy face on the black asphalt? Was he too small? Well then, go for their leaders. But no. At the front we are strengthened by some kind of supplementary awareness (and quite false, too, perhaps): is it a sense of our military unity? The sense of being in the right place at the right time? Of duty? But in this new situ- ation nothing is clear, there are no rules, and everything has to be learned by feel.

Getting to my feet, I turned to their senior, the pakhan, the ringleader of the thieves. All the stolen victuals were there in front of him beside the window on the second tier of bunks: the juvenile rats hadn't eaten a thing themselves. They were disciplined. Nature had sculpted the front part of the ringleader's head, in bipeds usually called a face, with nausea and hate. Or perhaps it had come to be what it was from living the life of a beast of prey. It sagged crookedly and loosely, with a low forehead, a savage scar, and modern steel crowns on the front teeth. His little eyes were exactly large enough to see all familiar objects and yet not take delight in the beauties of the world. He looked at me as a boar looks at a deer, knowing he could always knock me off my feet.

He was waiting. And what did I do? Leap forward to smash my fist in that ugly mug at least once and then go down in the aisle? Alas, I did not.

Am I a scoundrel? Until that moment I had always thought that I wasn't. But now, plundered and humiliated, I found it offensive to get down flat on my stomach again and crawl back beneath the bunks. And so I addressed the ringleader of the thieves indignantly and told him that since he had taken our food away from us he might at least give us a place on the bunks. (Now just tell me, wasn't that a natural complaint for a city dweller and an officer?)

And what happened then? The ringleader of the thieves agreed. After all, I was thereby surrendering any claim to the fat bacon; and I was thereby recognizing his superior authority; and I was revealing a point of view in common with his—he, too, would have driven off the weakest. And he gave orders for two of the gray neutrals to get off the lower bunks beside the window and free a space for us. They obeyed submissively. And we lay down in the best places. For a while we still grieved over our loss. (The thieves paid no attention to my military breeches. They weren't their kind of uniform. But one of the thieves was already fingering Valentin's woolen trousers. He liked them.) And it was only at night that the reproachful whisper of our neighbors reached us: how could we ask the thieves to help us by driving two of our own people under the bunks in our place? And only then did aware- ness of my own meanness prick my conscience and make me blush. (And for many years thereafter I blushed every time I remembered it.) The gray prisoners on the lower bunks were my own brothers, 58-lb, the POW's. Had I not just a short while ago sworn to assume the burden of their fate? And then I had shunted them off under the bunks. True, they hadn't done anything to defend us against the thieves. But why should they have fought for our fat bacon if we ourselves didn't? They had had enough cruel rights back in POW camps to destroy their faith in decency. But they hadn't done me any harm, and I had them.

And thus it is that we have to keep getting banged on flank and snout again and again so as to become, in time at least, human beings, yes, human beings. . . .

But even for the newcomer whom the transit prison cracks open and shucks, it is very, very necessary. It gives him some gradual preparation for camp life. Such a change all in one step would be more than the heart could bear. His consciousness would be un- able to orient itself in that murk all at once. It has to happen gradually.

Then, too, the transit prison gave the prisoner the semblance of communicating with home. It was there he wrote the first letter he was permitted to: reporting that he hadn't been shot and, sometimes, the direction of his prisoner transport, and these were always the first unfamiliar words home of a man who had been plowed over by interrogation. At home they continued to re- member him as he had been, but he would never be that person again. And that could suddenly, like a stroke of lightning, become apparent in one or another clumsily written line. Clumsily written because, even though letters could be sent from transit prisons, and there was a mailbox in the yard, it was impossible to get either paper or pencils—or anything to sharpen a pencil with. However, a makhorka wrapper or one from a sugar packet could turn up and be smoothed out, and someone in the cell would have a pencil—and so lines would be written in an undecipherable scrawl which would determine the family's future peace or dis- cord.

Women driven out of their minds by receiving such a letter would sometimes precipitately rush off and try to get to their husbands at the transit prison—even though visits were never allowed and they would have succeeded only in burdening him with things. One such woman provided, in my opinion, the theme for a monument to all wives—and even indicated the place for it.

This was in the Kuibyshev Transit Prison in 1950. The prison was situated in a low-lying area (from which, however, the Zhiguli Gates of the Volga River could be seen). And right above the prison, bordering it on the east, rose a high, long, grassy hill. It was outside the camp compound and above it; and from the in- side and down below we couldn't see the approach to it. Very rarely did anyone ever appear up there, although sometimes goats were pastured there or children played. And one cloudy summer day a city woman appeared on its ridge. Shading her eyes with her hand and barely moving, she began to scan our compound from above. At the time, three heavily populated cells were taking their outdoor walk in three separate exercise yards—and there in the abyss among those three hundred depersonalized ants she hoped to catch sight of her man! Did she hope that her heart would tell her which one he was? In all probability they had re- fused to allow her a visit with him and so she had climbed that hill. Everyone noticed her from the courtyards and everyone stared at her. Down below in the hollow there was no wind, but it was blowing hard up above. It made her long dress, her jacket, and her long hair stream out and billow, expressing all that love and anxiety which possessed her.

I think that a statue of such a woman, right there on that spot, on the hill overlooking the transit prison, with her face to the Zhiguli Gates, just as she actually stood, might explain at least a little something to our grandchildren.

[After all, someday the hidden and all but lost story of our Archipelago will be portrayed in monuments too! And I visualize, for example, one more such project: somewhere on a high point in the Kolyma, a most enormous Stalin, just such a size as he himself dreamed of, with mustaches many feet long and the bared fangs of a camp commandant, one hand holding the reins and the other wielding a knout with which to beat his team of hundreds of people harnessed in fives and all pulling hard. This would also be a fine sight on the edge of the Chukchi Peninsula next to the Bering Strait. (I had written this before I read "The Bas-Relief on the Cliff." And that means there is something to the idea. They say that on Mogutova Hill at the Zhiguli Gates on the Volga, a mile from the camp, there used to be an enormous oil portrait of Stalin which had been painted on the cliff for the benefit of passing steamers.)]

She was there for a long time and they didn't drive her off, probably because the guards were too lazy to climb the hill. But finally a soldier climbed up and began to shout and wave his hands at her—and chased her away.

The transit prison also gives the prisoner some kind of over-all view, some breadth of outlook. As they say: even though there's nothing to eat, still it's a gay life. In the incessant traffic here, in the comings and goings of dozens and hundreds of people, in the frankness of the stories and conversations (in camp they don't talk so freely because they are always afraid there of stepping into the trap of the Oper, the Security officer), you are refreshed, you are aired out, you become more lucid, and you begin to un- derstand better what is happening to you, to your people, even to the world. Even one single eccentric who turns up in your cell can tell you things you'll never in your life read about.

All of a sudden they introduce into the cell some kind of miracle: a tall young military man with a Roman profile, curly and undipped flaxen locks, in a British uniform—just as if he had come straight from the Normandy landing, an officer of the invading army. He enters as proudly as if he expected everyone to rise to their feet in his presence. And it turns out that he had simply not expected to be among friends at this point: he had already been imprisoned for two years, but he had never yet been in a cell and he had been brought secretly, right to the transit prison itself, in an individual Stolypin compartment. And then, unexpectedly, either by mistake or else with special intent, he had been admitted to our common stable. He looked around the cell, saw a Wehrmacht officer there in German uniform, and started to argue with him in German; and there they were arguing heatedly, ready, it seemed, to resort to weapons if they'd had any. Five years had passed since the war, and it had been drummed into us that in the West the war had been waged only for the sake of appearances, and to us it was strange to observe their mutual outrage: the German had been with us for a long time, and we Russians hadn't argued with him; for the most part we had laughed with him.

No one would have believed the story of Erik Arvid Andersen had it not been for his unshorn locks—a miracle unique in all Gulag. And that foreign bearing of his. And his fluent English, German, and Swedish speech. According to him he was the son of a rich Swede—not merely a millionaire but a billionaire. (Well, let's assume he embellished a little.) On his mother's side he was a nephew of the British General Robertson, who commanded the British Zone in occupied Germany. A Swedish subject, he had served as a volunteer in the British Army and had actually landed in Normandy, and after the war he had become a Swedish career officer. However, the investigation of social systems remained one of his principal interests. His thirst for socialism was stronger than his attachment to his father's capital. He looked upon Soviet socialism with feelings of profound sympathy, and he had even had the chance to become convinced of its flourishing state with his own eyes when he had come to Moscow as a member of a Swedish military delegation. They had been given banquets and taken to country homes and there they had encountered no obstacles at all to establishing contact with ordinary Soviet citizens—with pretty actresses who for some reason never had to rush off to work and who willingly spent time with them, even tête-à-tête. And thus convinced once and for all of the triumph of our social system, Erik on his return to the West wrote articles in the press defending and praising Soviet socialism. And this proved to be his undoing. In those very years, in 1947 and 1948, they were roping in from all sorts of nooks and crannies progres- sive young Westerners prepared to renounce the West publicly (and it appeared that if they could only have collected another dozen or so the West would shudder and collapse). Erik's news- paper articles caused him to be regarded as suitable for this category. At the time he was serving in West Berlin, and he had left his wife in Sweden. And out of pardonable male weakness he used to visit an unmarried German girl in East Berlin. And it was there that he was bound and gagged one night (and is not this the significance of the proverb which says: "He went to see his cousin, and he ended up in prison"? This had probably been going on for a long time, and he wasn't the first). They took him to Moscow, where Gromyko, who had once dined at his father's home in Stockholm and who knew the son also, not only returned the hospitality but proposed to the young man that he renounce publicly both capitalism and his own father. And in return he was promised full and complete capitalist maintenance to the end of his days here in our country. But to Gromyko's surprise, although Erik would not have suffered any material loss, he became in- dignant and uttered some very insulting words. Since they didn't believe in his strength of mind, they locked him up in a dacha outside Moscow, fed him like a prince in a fairy tale (sometimes they used "awful methods of repression" on him: they refused to accept his orders for the following day's menu and instead of the spring chicken he ordered they simply brought him a steak, just like that), surrounded him with the works of Marx-Engels-Lenin- Stalin, and waited a year for him to be re-educated. To their sur- prise it didn't happen. At that point they quartered with him a former lieutenant general who had already served two years in Norilsk. They probably calculated that by relating the horrors of camp the lieutenant general would persuade Erik to surrender.

But either he carried out that assignment badly or else he didn't want to carry it out. After ten months of their being imprisoned together, the only thing he had taught Erik was broken Russian, and he had bolstered Erik's growing repugnance for the bluecaps. In the summer of 1950 they once more summoned Erik to Vyshin- sky and he once more refused (in so doing, he made existence contingent on consciousness, thereby violating all the Marxist- Leninist rules!). And then Abakumov himself read Erik the decree: twenty years in prison (what for???). They themselves already regretted having gotten mixed up with this ignoramus, but at the same time they couldn't release him and let him go back to the West. And so they transported him in a separate compart- ment, and it was there that he had heard the story of the Moscow girl through the partition and seen through the train window in the dawn light the rotting straw-thatched roofs of the age-old Russia of Ryazan.

Those two years had very strongly confirmed him in his loyalty to the West. He believed blindly in the West. He did not want to recognize its weaknesses. He considered Western armies unbeatable and Western political leaders faultless. He refused to believe us when we told him that during the period of his im- prisonment Stalin had begun a blockade of Berlin and had gotten away with it perfectly well. Erik's milky neck and creamy cheeks blushed with indignation whenever we ridiculed Churchill and Roosevelt. And he was also certain that the West would not countenance his, Erik's, imprisonment; that on the basis of in- formation from the Kuibyshev Transit Prison the Western intel- ligence services would immediately learn that Erik had not drowned in the Spree River but had been imprisoned in the Soviet Union—and either he would be ransomed or someone would be exchanged for him. (This faith of his in the individual importance of his own fate among other prisoners' fates was reminiscent of our own well-intentioned orthodox Soviet Communists.) Not- withstanding our heated arguments, he invited my friend and me to Stockholm whenever we could come. ("Everyone knows us there," he said with a tired smile. "My father virtually maintains the Swedish King's whole court.") For the time being, however, the son of the billionaire had nothing to dry himself with, and I presented him with an extra tattered towel as a gift. And soon they took him away on a prisoner transport.

[Since that time I have asked Swedes I have met or travelers going to Sweden how to find his family. Have they heard anything about such a missing person? The only reply I have received is a smile. The name Andersen in Sweden is like Ivanov in Russia—and there is no such billionaire. And it is only now, twenty-two years later, rereading this book for the last time, that I have suddenly realized: of course, they must have forbidden him to give his real name! He must have been warned by Abakumov, of course, that he would be destroyed if he did. And so he traveled through the transit prisons in the guise of a Swedish Ivanov. And it was only through unforbidden, sec- ondary details of his biography that he was able to leave behind in the memories of those he encountered by chance some trace of his ruined life. More likely he still thought it could be saved—which was only human—like millions of other rabbits in this book. He thought he would be imprisoned for a while and that thereupon the indignant West would free him. He did not understand the strength of the East. And he did not understand that such a witness as himself, who had displayed such firmness of will, unheard of in the soft West, could never be released.

Yet perhaps he is still alive even today. (Author's note, 1972.)]

And the movement of people was endless. Prisoners were brought in and taken away, singly and in groups, and driven off in prisoner transports. Appearing so businesslike on the surface, so planned, this movement was marked by such stupidity that one can hardly believe it.

In 1949 the Special Camps were created. And then and there, on the basis of some summit decision, masses of women were driven from camps in the European North and the Trans-Volga area, through the Sverdlovsk Transit Prison, to Siberia, to Taishet, to Ozerlag. But in 1950 someone found it convenient to assemble all the women not in Ozerlag, but in Dubrovlag—in Temnikov, in Mordvinia. And so all those same women, enjoying all the conveniences of Gulag travel, were dragged through this same Sverdlovsk Transit Prison—to the west. In 1951 new Special Camps were set up in Kemerovo Province (Kamyshlag)—and that turned out to be where the women's labor was required. And those ill-fated women were again put to the torment of being sent to the Kemerovo camps through that same accursed Sverdlovsk Transit Prison. The time came for liberation—but not for all of them. All those women who were left to drag out their terms in the midst of the general Khrushchev relaxation were once again swung out of Siberia through the Sverdlovsk Transit Prison—into Mordvinia: it was thought better to have them all together.

Well, after all, we have our own self-contained economy. The isles are all our own. And the distances aren't so very great for a Russian.

And the same sort of thing happened to individual zeks, the more unfortunate ones. Shendrik was a big, merry, open-faced fellow, and he labored honestly, as they say, in one of the Kuibyshev camps and had no intimation of the evil fate over- taking him. But this evil fate struck nonetheless. An urgent order arrived at the camp—not just from anybody but from the Minister of Internal Affairs himself! (And how could the Minister know of Shendrik's existence?) The order was to deliver this Shendrik to Prison No. 18 in Moscow immediately. They grabbed him, dragged him off to the Kuibyshev Transit Prison, and from there to Moscow with no delay. But not to some Prison No. 18; instead, with all the rest, he went to the widely known Krasnaya Presnya Prison. (Shendrik didn't know about any Prison No. 18. No one had told him.) But his misfortune did not drowse. No more than two days had passed before they jerked him onto a prisoner trans- port again and this time took him all the way to Pechora. The landscape outside the train window grew ever sparser and grim- mer. Shendrik was alarmed: he knew there was an order from the Minister, and here they were rapidly hauling him off to the North, and that meant that the Minister had some awful evidence against him. In addition to all the other torments of the trip, they stole three days of bread rations from him while he was en route. And by the time he got to Pechora he was staggering. Pechora greeted him inhospitably. They drove him out to work in the wet snow, hungry and unsettled. In two days he never had a chance to dry out his shirts nor even a chance to stuff his mattress with pine needles. And right then they ordered him to turn in everything he had that was government issue and once again they scooped him up and whisked him still farther—to Vorkuta. It seemed quite evident from everything that had happened that the Minister was determined to destroy Shendrik, and not him alone but the entire group in his prisoner transport. At Vorkuta they didn't touch Shendrik for a whole month. He went out to general-assignment work, even though he had not yet recovered from his travels, but he had begun to reconcile himself to his Arctic fate. And then suddenly one day they called him out of the mine, and chased him off breathless to the camp to turn in everything he had that was government issue, and in one hour's time he was being carried off to the south. Now by this time it had already begun to smell of personal vengeance! They took him to Moscow Prison No. 18. They held him in the cell there for one month. And then he was summoned to some lieutenant colonel who asked him: "Where the hell have you been? Are you really a mechanical engineer?" And Shendrik confessed that he was. And then they took him off to none other than, yes, the Paradise Islands! (Yes, there are such islands in the Archipelago!)

This coming and going of people, these destinies, and these stories greatly enliven the transit prisons. And the old camp veterans advise newcomers: Lie down and take it easy. They feed you the guaranteed minimum here, and you don't have to tire your back.

[The rations guaranteed by Gulag when no work is being done.]

And when it's not crowded you can sleep as much as you want to. So just stretch out and lie there from one handout of gruel to the next. The food is sparse, but the sleeping is good. Only those who know what general-assignment work is in the camps will understand that a transit prison is a rest home, a hap- piness on our path. And one more advantage too: when you sleep in the daytime the hours pass more quickly. If you can just kill off the day, the night will go away on its own.

True, recalling that labor created the human being and that only labor can reform the criminal, and sometimes having aux- iliary projects, and sometimes acting as subcontractors in order to keep up their financial end, the bosses of transit prisons might sometimes even drive their loafing transit manpower out to labor.

The work at that same Kotlas Transit Prison before the war was not the least bit easier than in a regular camp. In the course of a winter day six or seven weakened prisoners were harnessed to a tractor (!) sledge and had to drag it seven miles along the Dvina River to the mouth of the Vychegda. They got stuck in snow and fell down, and the sledges got stuck. And it would seem that any work more wearing and debilitating could hardly have been thought up! But it turned out that this wasn't the actual work, but merely the warm-up. There at the mouth of the Vychegda, they had to load thirteen cubic yards of firewood on the sledges—and the same people harnessed in the same way (Repin is no longer with us, and this is no subject for our new artists; it is merely a crude reproduction from nature) had to haul the sledges back to their transit-prison home. Now what does a camp have to offer after that! You wouldn't even survive to get there. (The work-brigade leader for that task was Kolupayev, and the work horses were electrical engineer Dmitriyev, quartermaster corps Lieutenant Colonel Belyayev, and Vasily Vlasov, who is already familiar to us; but not all the other names can be col- lected at this date.)

During the war the Arzamas Transit Prison fed its prisoners beet tops and at the same time put them to work on a permanent basis. There were garment shops, a footgear-felting shop (where woolen fibers were fulled in hot water and acids).

In the summer of 1945 we went out of the stiflingly stagnant cells of Krasnaya Presnya to work as volunteers: for the right to breathe air the whole day long; for the right to sit unhurried and unhindered in a quiet plank latrine (an incentive that is often overlooked!) heated by the August sun (and these were the days of Potsdam and Hiroshima), listening to the peaceful buzzing of a lonely bee; and, last, for the right to get an extra quarter-pound of bread at night. They took us to the wharves of the Moscow River, where timber was being unloaded. It was our job to roll the logs off some of the piles, carry them over and stack them in other piles. We spent a good deal more strength than we received extra food in compensation. Nonetheless we enjoyed going out to work there.

I often have to blush at my recollections of my younger years (and that's where my younger years were spent!). But whatever casts you down also teaches you a lot. And it turned out that as a residue of the officer's shoulder boards, which had trembled and fluttered on my shoulders for two years in all, some kind of poisonous golden dust had settled in the empty space between my ribs. On that river wharf, which was a camplet too, there was also a compound with watchtowers surrounding it. We were merely transient, temporary work sloggers, and there had been no talk at all, no rumor, that we might be allowed to stay and serve out our terms there. But when they formed us up for the first time, and the work-assignment foreman looked down the line to pick out temporary work-brigade leaders, my worthless heart was bursting under my woolen field shirt: Me, me, pick me!

I was not chosen. But why did I want it? I would only have made further shameful mistakes.

Oh, how hard it is to part with power! This one has to under- stand.

There was a time when Krasnaya Presnya became the virtual capital of Gulag—in the sense that no matter where you went, you couldn't bypass it, just like Moscow. Just as when one travels in the Soviet Union it is more convenient to proceed from Tash- kent to Sochi and from Chernigov to Minsk via Moscow, they dragged the prisoners there from all over and sent them off all over via Presnya. And that was the way it was when I was there. Presnya was at the point of breakdown from overcrowding. They built a supplementary building. Only the through trains of cattle cars carrying those who had been sentenced right at counterintel- ligence bypassed Moscow on the circle line around it, which, as it happened, went right past Presnya, perhaps even saluting it with a whistle on the way.

But we do have a ticket when we come to Moscow as free passengers in transit, and we hope sooner or later to proceed in the desired direction. At Presnya at the end of the war and just after, not only the prisoners who arrived there but even the very highest-ranking officials and even the heads of Gulag itself were unable to predict who would proceed where. At that time the prison system had not yet crystallized as it had by the fifties, and there were no routes and no destinations were indicated for any- body—except perhaps for service instructions: "Keep under strict guard"; "To be employed only on general-assignment work." The convoy sergeants carried the bundles of prison cases, torn folders tied somehow with twine or ersatz cotton string made of paper, into a separate wooden building that housed the prison offices, and tossed them onto shelves, on tables, under tables, under chairs, and simply on the floor in the aisle (just as their subject prisoners lay in the cells). They became untied and got scattered and mixed up. One room, a second, and a third got filled with those mixed-up cases. Secretaries from the prison office, well-fed, lazy, free women in bright-colored dresses, sweated in the heat, fanned themselves and flirted with prison and convoy officers. None of them wanted to or had the strength to pick a way through that chaos. And yet the trainloads had to be dispatched in the red trains—several times a week. And every day a hundred people had to be sent out on trucks to nearby camps. The case of every zek had to be sent with him. So just who was going to work on all that long-drawn-out mess? Who was there to sort out the cases and select the prisoners for the transports?

It was entrusted to several work-assignment supervisors from among the transit-prison trusties—who were either "bitches" or "half-breeds."

["Half-breeds" or "mulattoes" (polutsvetnye in Russian) were prisoners who had grown spiritually close to the thieves and tried to imitate them, but who had nonetheless not been accepted by the thieves' law.]

They moved freely through the prison corridors, entered the prison office, and were the ones who decided whether your case would be put in a bad prisoner transport or whether they would really exert themselves, search long and hard, and put it in a good one. (The newcomers were not mistaken in thinking that there were whole camps which were death camps, and they were right about that, but their idea that there were some that were "good" was simply a delusion. There were no good camps, but only certain easier duties within them—and they could only be sorted out on the spot.) The fact that the prisoner's whole future depended on such another prisoner, with whom one ought perhaps to find the chance to talk (even if via the bath attendant), and whose hand one ought perhaps to grease (even if via the storage room keeper), was worse than if his fortunes had simply been determined blindly by a roll of the dice. This invisible and unrealized opportunity—to go south to Nalchik instead of north to Norilsk in return for a leather jacket, to go to Serebryanny Bor outside Moscow instead of Taishet in Siberia for a couple of pounds of fat bacon (and perhaps to lose both the leather jacket and the fat bacon for nothing at all)—only aggravated and fatigued tired souls. Maybe someone did manage to arrange it, maybe someone got himself fixed up that way, but most blessed of all were those who had nothing to give or who spared themselves all that anxiety.

Submissiveness to fate, the total abdication of your own will in the shaping of your life, the recognition that it was impossible to guess the best and the worst ahead of time but that it was easy to take a step you would reproach yourself for—all this freed the prisoner from any bondage, made him calmer, and even ennobled him.

And thus it was that the prisoners lay in rows in the cells, and their fates lay in undisturbed piles in the rooms of the prison office. And the assignment supervisors took the files from the par- ticular corner where it was easiest to get at them. And some zeks had to spend two or three months gasping in this accursed Presnya while others would whiz through it with the speed of a shooting star. As a result of all that congestion, haste, and disorder with the cases, sometimes sentences got switched at Presnya (and at other transit prisons as well). This didn't affect the 58's, because their prison terms, in Maxim Gorky's phrase, were "Terms" with a capital letter, were intended to be long, and even when they seemed to be nearing their end they just never got there anyway.

But it made sense for big thieves and murderers to switch with some stupid nonpolitical offender. And so they or their accom- plices would inch up to such an individual and question him with interest and concern. And he, not knowing that a short-termer at a transit prison isn't supposed to disclose anything about him- self, would innocently tell them that his name was, for example, Vasily Parfenych Yevrashkin, that he was born in 1913, that he lived in Semidubye and had been born there. And his term was one year, Article 109, "Negligence." And then Yevrashkin was asleep or maybe not even asleep, but there was such a racket in the cell and there was such a crowd at the swill trough in the door that he couldn't make his way there and listen, while on the other side of it in the corridor they were rapidly muttering a list of names for a prisoner transport. Some of the names were shouted from the door into the cell, but not Yevrashkin's because hardly had the name been read out in the corridor than an urka, a thief, had obsequiously (and they can be obsequious when it's neces- sary) shoved up his snout and answered quickly and quietly: "Vasily Parfenych, born 1913, village of Semidubye, 109, one year," and ran off to get his things. The real Yevrashkin yawned, lay back on his bunk, and patiently waited to be called the next day, and the next week, and the next month, and then he made so bold as to bother the prison superintendent: why hadn't he been taken in a prisoner transport? (And every day in all the cells they kept calling out the name of some Zvyaga.) And when a month later or a half-year later they got around to combing through all the cases by calling the roll, what they had left was just one file—belonging to Zvyaga, a multiple offender, sentenced for a double murder and robbing a store, ten years—and one shy prisoner who was trying to tell everybody that he was Yevrashkin, although you couldn't make anything out from the photo, and so he damn well was Zvyaga and he had to be tucked away in a penalty camp, Ivdellag—because otherwise it would have been necessary to confess that the transit prison had made a mistake.

(And as for that other Yevrashkin who had been sent off on a prisoner transport, you wouldn't even be able to find where he had gone—because none of the lists were left. And anyway he had only had a one-year term and had been sent to do farm work with- out being under guard and got three days off his sentence for every day he worked, or else he had simply run away, and was long since home or, more likely, was already imprisoned again on a new sentence.) There were also eccentrics who sold their short terms for a kilo or two of fat bacon. They figured that in any case the authorities would check up and establish their correct identities. And sometimes they did.

[And, as P. Yakubovich writes in reference to the so-called "cadgers," the sale of prison terms took place in the last century too. It is an ancient prison trick.]

During the years when the prisoners' cases didn't carry any indication of their final destination, the transit prisons turned into slave markets. The most desired guests at the transit prisons were the buyers. This word was heard more and more often in the corridors and cells and was used without any shadow of irony. Just as it became intolerable everywhere in industry simply to sit and wait until things were sent from the center on the basis of allocations, and it was more satisfactory to send one's own "pushers" and "pullers" to get things done—the same thing hap- pened in Gulag: the natives on the islands kept dying off; and even though they cost not one ruble, a count was kept of them, and one had to worry about getting more of them for oneself so there wouldn't be any failure in fulfilling the plan. The buyers had to be sharp, have good eyes, and look carefully to see what they were taking so that last-leggers and invalids didn't get shoved off on them. The buyers who picked a transport on the basis of case files were poor buyers. The conscientious merchants de- manded that the merchandise be displayed alive and bare-skinned for them to inspect. And that was just what they used to say— without smiling—merchandise. "Well, what merchandise have you brought?" asked a buyer at the Butyrki station, observing and inspecting the female attributes of seventeen-year-old Ira Kalina.

Human nature, if it changes at all, changes not much faster than the geological face of the earth. And the very same sensa- tions of curiosity, relish, and sizing up which slave-traders felt at the slave-girl markets twenty-five centuries ago of course pos- sessed the Gulag bigwigs in the Usman Prison in 1947, when they, a couple of dozen men in MVD uniform, sat at several desks covered with sheets (this was for their self-importance, since it would have seemed awkward otherwise), and all the women prisoners were made to undress in the box next door and to walk in front of them bare-footed and bare-skinned, turn around, stop, and answer questions. "Drop your hands," they ordered those who had adopted the defensive pose of classic sculpture. (After all, these officers were very seriously selecting bedmates for them- selves and their colleagues.)

And so it was that for the new prisoner various manifestations foreshadowed the camp battle of the morrow and cast their pall over the innocent spiritual joys of the transit prison.

For just two nights they put a special-assignment prisoner in our cell in Krasnaya Presnya. And he was next to me in the bunk. He traveled about with special-assignment orders, which meant that an invoice had been filled out in Central Administration in- dicating that he was a construction technician and could be used only in that capacity in his new location, and this went with him from camp to camp. The special-assignment prisoner was travel- ing in the common Stolypin cars and was kept in the common cells of the transit prisons, but he wasn't nervous; he was pro- tected by his personal document, and he wouldn't be driven out to fell timber. A cruel and determined expression was the prin- cipal trait of this camp veteran's face. He had already served out the greater part of his term. (And I did not yet realize that this exact expression would in time etch itself on all our faces, because a cruel and determined expression is the national hallmark of the Gulag islanders. People with soft, conciliatory expressions die out quickly on the islands.) He observed our naive floundering with an ironic smile, just as people look at two-week-old puppies.

What should we expect in camp? Taking pity on us, he taught us:

"From your very first step in camp everyone will try to deceive and plunder you. Trust no one but yourself. Look around quickly: someone may be sneaking up on you to bite you. Eight years ago I arrived at Kargopollag just as innocent and just as naive as you are now. They unloaded us from two trains, and the convoy pre- pared to lead us the six miles to the camp through the deep, crumbly snow. Three sleds came up beside us. Some hefty chap whom the convoy didn't interfere with came over to us and said: 'Brothers, put your things on the sleds and we will carry them there for you.' We remembered reading in books that prisoners' belongings were carried on carts. And we thought: It isn't going to be all that inhuman in camp; they are concerned about us. And we loaded our things on the sleds. They left. And we never saw them again, not even an empty wrapper."

"But how can that happen? Isn't there any law there?"

"Don't ask idiotic questions. There is a law there. The law of the taiga, of the jungle. But as for justice—there never has been any in Gulag and there never will be. That Kargopol incident was simply a symbol of Gulag. And you have to get used to some- thing else too: in camp no one ever does anything for nothing, no one ever does anything out of the generosity of his heart. You have to pay for everything. If someone proposes something to you that is unselfish, disinterested, you can be sure it's a dirty trick, a provocation. The main thing is: avoid general-assignment work. Avoid it from the day you arrive. If you land in general- assignment work that first day, then you are lost, and this time for keeps."

"General-assignment work?"

"General-assignment work—that is the main and basic work performed in any given camp. Eighty percent of the prisoners work at it, and they all die off. All. And then they bring new ones in to take their places and they again are sent to general-assign- ment work. Doing this work, you expend the last of your strength. And you are always hungry. And always wet. And shoeless. And you are given short rations and short everything else. And put in the worst barracks. And they won't give you any treatment when you're ill. The only ones who survive in camps are those who try at any price not to be put on general-assignment work. From the first day."

"At any price?"

"At any price!"

At Krasnaya Presnya I assimilated and accepted this alto- gether unexaggerated advice of the cruel special-assignment pris- oner, forgetting only to ask him one thing: How do you measure that price? How high do you go?

Chapter 3
The Slave Caravans

It was painful to travel in a Stolypin, unbearable in a Black Maria, and the transit prison would soon wear you down—and it might just be better to skip the whole lot and go straight to camp in the red cattle cars.

As always, the interests of the state and the interests of the individual coincided here. It was also to the state's advantage to dispatch sentenced prisoners straight to the camps by direct routing and thus avoid overloading the city trunk-line railroads, automotive transport, and transit-camp personnel. They had long since grasped this fact in Gulag, and it had been taken to heart: witness the caravans of red cows (red cattle cars), the caravans of barges, and, where there were no rails and no water, the cara- vans on foot (after all, prisoners could not be allowed to exploit the labor of horses and camels).

The red trains were always a help when the courts in some particular place were working swiftly or the transit facilities were overcrowded. It was possible in this way to dispatch a large number of prisoners in one batch. That is how the millions of peasants were transported in 1929-1931. That is how they exiled Leningrad from Leningrad. That is how they populated the Kolyma in the thirties: every day Moscow, the capital of our country, belched out one such train to Sovetskaya Gavan, to Vanino Port. And each provincial capital also sent oft' red train- loads, but not on a daily schedule. That is how they removed the Volga German Republic to Kazakhstan in 1941, and later all the rest of the exiled nations were sent off in the same way. In 1945 Russia's prodigal sons and daughters were sent from Ger- many, from Czechoslovakia, from Austria, and simply from west- ern border areas—whoever had gotten there on his own—in such trains as these. In 1949 that is how they collected the 58's in Special Camps.

The Stolypins follow routine railroad schedules. And the red trains travel on imposing waybills, signed by important Gulag generals. The Stolypins cannot go to an empty site, to "nowhere"; their destination must always be a station, even if it's in some nasty little two-bit town with some preliminary detention cells in an attic. But the red trains can go into emptiness: and wherever one does go, there immediately rises right next to it, out of the sea of the steppe or the sea of the taiga, a new island of the Archi- pelago.

Not every red cattle car is ready as is to transport prisoners. First it has to be prepared. But not in the sense some of our readers might expect: that the coal or lime it carried before it was assigned to carry people has to be swept out and the car cleaned—that isn't always done. Nor in the sense that it needs to be calked and have a stove installed if it is winter. (When the section of the railroad from Knyazh-Pogost to Ropcha was being built and wasn't yet part of the general railroad network, they immediately began to transport prisoners on it—in freight cars without either stoves or bunks. In winter the zeks lay on the icy, snowy floor and weren't even given any hot food, because the train could make it all the way through this section in less than a day. Whoever can in imagination lie there like them and survive those eighteen to twenty hours shall indeed survive!) Here is what was involved in preparing a red cattle car for prisoners: The floors, walls, and ceilings had to be tested for strength and checked for holes or faults. Their small windows had to be barred. A hole had to be cut in the floor to serve as a drain, and specially protected by sheet iron firmly nailed down all around it. The necessary number of platforms on which convoy guards would stand with machine guns had to be evenly distributed throughout the train, and if there were too few, more had to be built. Access to the roofs of the cars had to be provided. Sites for searchlights had to be selected and supplied with uninterrupted electric power. Long-handled wooden mallets had to be procured. A passenger car had to be hooked on for the staff, and if there wasn't one, then instead heated freight cars had to be prepared for the chief of convoy, the Security officer, and the convoy. Kitchens had to be built—for the convoy and for the prisoners. And only after all this had been done was it all right to walk along the cattle cars and chalk on the sides: "Special Equipment" or "Perishable Goods." (In her chapter, "The Seventh Car," Yevgeniya Ginz- burg described a transport of red cars very vividly, and her de- scription largely obviates the necessity of presenting details here.)

The preparation of the train has been completed—and ahead lies the complicated combat operation of loading the prisoners into the cars. At this point there are two important and obligatory objectives:

• to conceal the loading from ordinary citizens
• to terrorize the prisoners

To conceal the loading from the local population was necessary because approximately a thousand people were being loaded on the train simultaneously (at least twenty-five cars)," and this wasn't your little group from a Stolypin that could be led right past the townspeople. Everyone knew, of course, that arrests were being made every day and every hour, but no one was to be horrified by the sight of large numbers of them together. In Orel in 1938 you could hardly hide the fact that there was no home in the city where there hadn't been arrests, and weeping women in their peasant carts blocked the square in front of the Orel Prison just as in Surikov's painting The Execution of the Streltsy. (Oh, who one day will paint this latter-day tragedy for us? But no one will. It's not fashionable, not fashionable. . . .) But you don't need to show our Soviet people an entire trainload of them col- lected in one day. (And in Orel that year there were.) And young people mustn't see it either—for young people are our future. Therefore it was done only at night—and every night, too, each and every night, and that was the way it went for several months. The black line of prisoners to be transported was driven from the prison to the station on foot. (Meanwhile the Black Marias were busy making new arrests.) True, the women realized, the women somehow found out, and at night they came to the station from all over the city and kept watch over the trains on the siding. They ran along the cars, tripping over the ties and rails, and shouting at every car: "Is So-and-so in there?" "Is So-and-so in there?" And they ran on to the next one, and others ran up to this one: "Is So-and-so in there?" And suddenly an answer would come from the sealed car: "I'm in here. I'm here!" Or else: "Keep looking for him. He's in another car." Or else: "Women! Listen! My wife is somewhere out there, near the station. Run and tell her."

These scenes, unworthy of our contemporary world, testify only to the then inept organization of train embarkations. The mistakes were noted, and after a certain night the trains were surrounded in depth by cordons of snarling and barking police dogs.

And in Moscow, the loading into red cattle cars from the old Sretenka Transit Prison (which prisoners no longer remember) or from Krasnaya Presnya took place only at night; that was the rule.

However, although the convoy had no use for the superfluous light of the sun by day, on the other hand they made use of suns by night—the searchlights. They were more efficient since they could be concentrated on the necessary area, where the prisoners were seated on the earth in a frightened pack awaiting the com- mand: "Next unit of five—stand up! To the car—on the run!" (Only on the run, so as not to have time to look around, to think things over, to run as though chased by the dogs, afraid of noth- ing so much as falling down.) On that uneven path. Up the load- ing ramp, scrambling. And clear, hostile searchlight beams not only provided light but were an important theatrical element in terrorizing the prisoners, along with yells, threats, gunstock blows, on those who fell behind, and the order: "Sit down." (And some- times, as in the station square of that same Orel: "Down on your knees." And like some new breed of believers at prayer, the whole thousand would get down on their knees.) Along with that running to the car, quite unnecessary except for intimidation— for which it was very important. Along with the enraged barking of the dogs. Along with the leveled gun barrels (rifles or auto- matic pistols, depending on the decade). And the main thing was to undermine, to crush the prisoner's will power so he wouldn't think of trying to escape, so that for a long time he wouldn't notice his new advantage: the fact that he had exchanged a stone- walled prison for a railroad car with thin plank walls.

But in order to load one thousand prisoners into railroad cars at night so precisely, the prison had to start jerking them out of their cells and processing them for transport the morning before, and the convoy had to spend the entire day on a long-drawn-out and strict procedure of checking them in while still in prison and then holding those who'd been checked in for long hours, not, of course, in the cells by now, but in the courtyard, on the ground, so as not to mix them up with the prisoners still belonging in the prison. Thus for the prisoner the loading at night was only a relief after a whole day of torment.

Besides the ordinary counts, verifications, hair clipping, cloth- ing roasting, and baths, the core of the preparation for the pri- soner transport was general frisking. This search was carried out not by the prison but by the convoy receiving the prisoners. The convoy was expected, in accordance with the directives re- garding the red transports and in accordance with their own operational requirements, to carry out this search so that the prisoners would not be left in possession of anything that might help them to escape; to take away: everything that could saw or cut; all powders (tooth powder, sugar, salt, tobacco, tea) so they could not be used to blind the convoy; all string, cord, twine, belts, and straps because they could all be used in escaping (and that meant all kinds of straps! and so they cut off the straps which held up the artificial limb of a one-legged man—and the cripple had to carry his artificial leg on his shoulder and hop with the help of those on either side of him). The rest of the things—all "valuables" and suitcases too—were, according to instructions, supposed to be checked and carried in a special baggage car and returned to their owners at the end of the journey.

Yet the power of the Moscow directive was weak and might be ignored by the Vologda or the Kuibyshev convoy, while the power of the convoy over the prisoners was very corporeal, very real. And this fact was crucial to the third objective of the load- ing operation:

• in simple justice to take all the good things they possess from enemies of the people for the use of its sons

"Sit down." "On your knees!" "Strip!" In these statutory orders of the convoy lay the basic power one could not argue with. After all, a naked person loses his self-assurance. He cannot straighten up proudly and speak as an equal to people who are still clothed. A search begins. (Kuibyshev, summer of 1949.) Naked prisoners approach, carrying their possessions and the clothes they've taken off. A mass of armed soldiers surrounds them. It doesn't look as though they are going to be led to a prisoner transport but as though they are going to be shot immediately or put to death in a gas chamber—and in that mood a human being ceases to concern himself with his possessions. The convoy does every- thing with intentional brusqueness, rudely, sharply, not speaking one word in an ordinary human voice. After all, the purpose is to terrify and dishearten. Suitcases are shaken apart, and things fall all over the floor and are then stacked up in separate piles. Ciga- rette cases, billfolds, and other pitiful "valuables" are all taken away and thrown without any identifying marks into a barrel that is standing nearby. (And, for some reason, the fact that this particular receptacle isn't a safe, or a trunk, or a box, but a barrel particularly depresses the naked prisoners there, and it seems so terribly futile to protest.) The naked prisoner has all he can do simply to snatch up his well-searched rags from the floor and knot them together or tie them up in a blanket. Felt boots? You can check them, throw them over there, sign for them on the list! (You aren't the one who gets the receipt, but you are the one who signs for having surrendered them, certifying that you threw them onto the pile!) And when at dusk the last truck leaves the prison yard with the prisoners, they see the convoy guards rushing to grab the best leather suitcases from the pile and select the best cigarette cases from the barrel. And after them, the jailers scurry for their booty, too, and last of all the transit prison trusties.

That is what it cost to spend one day to get to the cattle car. And now the prisoners have clambered with relief up onto the splintered planks of the bunks. But what kind of relief is this, what kind of heated cattle car is this? Once again they are squeezed in a nutcracker between cold and starvation, between the thieves and the convoy.

If there are thieves in a cattle car (and they are, of course, not kept separate in the red trains either) they take the best places, as is traditional—on the upper bunks by the window. That's in summer. So we can guess where their places are in winter. Next to the stove, of course, in a tight ring around the stove. As the former thief Minayev recalls: in 1949, during a severe cold wave, they were issued only three pails of coal for their car for the entire journey from Voronezh to Kotlas, lasting several days.

[In a letter to me in the Literaturnaya Gazeta, November 29, 1963.]

And in this crisis, the thieves not only occupied the places around the stove, and not only took all the suckers' warm things away from them and put them on, but didn't even hesitate to take their footcloths out of their shoes and wind them around their own feet. You today, me tomorrow. It was somewhat worse with food —the thieves took charge of the whole ration for the car and then kept the best for themselves along with whatever else they needed. Loshchilin recalls a three-day prisoner transport from Moscow to Perebory in 1937. They didn't cook anything hot on the train for such a short journey and handed out only dry ra- tions. The thieves took the best for themselves but gave the others permission to divide up the bread and the herring; and that meant they weren't hungry. When the ration was hot and the thieves were in charge of distributing it, they divided up the gruel among themselves. (A three-week transport from Kishinev to Pechora in 1945.) With all this, the thieves didn't scruple to engage also in plain and simple robbery en route: they noticed an Estonian's gold teeth and they pushed him down and knocked out the teeth with a poker.

The zeks considered the hot food the real advantage of the red trains: at remote stations (again where people couldn't see them) the trains stopped and gruel and porridge were doled out to the cars. But they even managed to give out the hot food in such a way that things went wrong. They might (as on that same Kishinev train) pour out the gruel in the same pails in which they issued coal—there being nothing to wash them out with. Because drinking water was also rationed on the train and was in even shorter supply than gruel. And so you gulped down the gruel, your teeth gritting on pieces of coal. Or they brought the gruel and the hot cereal to the car and didn't issue enough bowls —twenty-five instead of forty—and promptly ordered: "Come on, come on, faster, faster. We have other cars to feed too, not just you." How then could you eat, how could you divide it up? You couldn't dish it out equitably on the basis of bowls, and that meant you had to estimate each portion so as not to give out too much. And those to be served first would shout: "Stir it! Stir it!" And the last kept silent: there would be more on the bottom. The first were eating and the last waiting. They would have liked the others to eat faster, because they were hungry, and meanwhile the gruel would be getting cold in the barrel and they were also being hurried from outside: "Well, have you finished? Come on now, get a move on!" And then they served the second contingent —not more and not less and not thicker and not thinner than the first. And then came estimating the leftovers correctly and pour- ing them out two portions to a bowl. And all this time forty people don't so much eat as watch the sharing out and suffer.

They don't heat the car, they don't protect the other prisoners from the thieves, they don't give you enough to drink, and they don't give you enough to eat—but on the other hand they don't let you sleep either. During the day the convoy can see the whole train very clearly and the tracks behind them, and can be sure that no one has jumped out the side or slipped down on the rails. But at night vigilance possesses them. With long-handled wooden mallets (the standard Gulag equipment) they knock resoundingly on every board of the car at every stop: maybe someone has sawed through it. And at certain stops the door of the car is thrown open. The light of the lantern or the beam of the search- light: "Checkup!" And this means: Get on your feet and be ready to go where they tell you—everyone run to the left or to the right. The convoy guards jump inside with their mallets (others have ranged themselves in a semicircle outside with auto- matic pistols), and they point: to the left! That means that those on the left are in place and those on the right must get over there on the jump like fleas hopping over each other and landing where they can. And whoever isn't nimble, whoever gets caught day- dreaming, gets whacked on the ribs and back with the mallets to give him more energy. And by this time the convoy jackboots are already trampling your pauper's pallet and all your lousy duds are being thrown in every direction and everywhere there are lights and hammering: Have you sawed through any place? No. Then the convoy guards stand in the middle and begin to shift you from left to right, counting: "First . . . second . . . third." It would be quite enough to count simply with a wave of the finger, but if that were done, it wouldn't be terrifying, and so it is more vivid, less subject to error, more energetic and faster, to beat out that count with the same mallet on your ribs, shoulders, heads, wherever it happens to land. They have counted up to forty. So now they will go about their tossing, lighting up, and hammering at the other end of the car. It's all over finally and the car is locked up. You can go back to sleep till the next stop. (And one can't really say that the anxiety of the convoy guard is entirely un- founded—because those who know how can escape from the red cattle cars. For instance, they knock on a board to test it and find it has been partially sawed through. Or suddenly in the morning, when the gruel is being distributed, they see that there are several shaved faces among the unshaven ones. And they surround the car with their automatic pistols: "Hand over your knives!" And this is really just petty bravado on the part of the thieves and their allies: they got tired of being unshaven, and now they are going to have to turn in their razor.)

The red train differs from other long-distance trains in that those who have embarked on it do not know whether or not they will disembark. When they unloaded a trainload from the Lenin- grad prisons (1942) in Solikamsk, the entire embankment was covered with corpses, and only a few got there alive. In the winters of 1944-1945 and 1945-1946 in the village of Zhelez- nodorozhny (Knyazh-Pogost), as in all the main rail junctions in the North, the prisoner trains from liberated territories (the Baltic states, Poland, Germany) arrived with one or two car- loads of corpses tacked on behind. That meant that en route they had carefully taken the corpses out of the cars that contained the living passengers and put them in the dead cars. But not always. There were many occasions when they found out who was still alive and who was dead only when they opened up the car after arriving at the Sukhobezvodnaya (Unzhlag) Station. Those who didn't come out were dead.

It was terrifying and deadly to travel this way in winter be- cause the convoy, with all its bother about security, wasn't able to haul coal for twenty-five stoves. But it wasn't so cushy to travel this way in hot weather either. Two of the four tiny windows were tightly sealed and the car roof would overheat and the convoy wasn't about to exert itself in hauling water for a thousand prison- ers—after all, they couldn't even manage to give just one Stolypin car enough to drink. The prisoners considered April and Sep- tember the best months for transports. But even the best of sea- sons was too short if the train was en route for three months. (Leningrad to Vladivostok in 1935.) And if such a long trip is in prospect, then arrangements have been made for both political indoctrination of the convoy soldiers and spiritual care of the imprisoned souls: in a separate railroad car attached to such a train travels a "godfather"—a Security officer. He has made his preparations for the prisoner-transport train back in prison, and prisoners are assigned to cars not simply at random but accord- ing to lists he has validated. He is the one who appoints the monitor in each car and who has instructed and assigned a stool pigeon to each. At long stops he finds some pretext for sum- moning both from the car and asks what the people are talking about in there. And any such Security chief would be ashamed to finish the journey without signed and sealed results. And so right there en route he puts someone under interrogation, and lo and behold! by the time they reach their destination, the prisoner has been handed a new prison term.

No, damn that red cattle car train too, even though it did carry the prisoners straight to their destination without changing trains. Anyone who has ever been in one will never forget it. Just as well get to camp sooner! Just as well arrive sooner.

A human being is all hope and impatience. As if the Security officer in camp will be any more humane or the stoolies any less unscrupulous. It's just the other way around. As if they won't force us to the ground with those same threats and those same police dogs when we arrive: "Sit down!" As if there will be less snow on the ground in camp than what has sifted through into the cattle cars. As if it means that we've already gotten to where we're going when they begin to unload us and won't be carried farther in open flatcars on a narrow-gauge track. (And how can they carry us in open flatcars? How can we be kept under guard? That's a problem for the convoy. And here is how they do it: They order us to lie down all huddled together and they cover us with one big tarpaulin, like the sailors in the motion picture Potemkin before they're to be executed. And say thank you for the tarpaulin too. In the North, in October, Olenyev and his comrades had the luck to have to sit in open flatcars all day long. They had already embarked, but no locomotive had come. First it rained. Then it froze. And the zeks' rags froze on them.) The tiny train will jerk and toss as it moves, and the sides of the flatcar will begin to crack and break, and the bouncing will hurl someone off the car and under the wheels. And here is a riddle: If one is traveling sixty miles from Dudinka through Arctic frost in open flatcars on the narrow-gauge track, then where are the thieves going to be? Answer: In the middle of each flatcar, so the livestock around them will keep them warm and keep them from falling under the train themselves. Right answer! Question: What will the zeks see at the end of this narrow-gauge track (1939)? Will there be any buildings there? No, not a one. Any dugouts? Yes, but already occupied, not for them. And does that mean that the first thing they do will be to dig themselves dugouts? No, because how can they dig in the Arctic winter? Instead, they will be sent out to mine metal. And where will they live? What—live? Oh, yes, live . . . They will live in tents.

But will there always be a narrow-gauge track? No, of course not. The train arrived: Yertsovo Station, February, 1938. The railroad cars were opened up at night. Bonfires were lit along- side the train and disembarkation took place by their light; then a count-off, forming up, and a count-off again. The temperature was 32 degrees below zero Centigrade. The prisoners' transport train had come from the Donbas, and all the prisoners had been arrested back in the summer and were wearing low shoes, ox- fords, even sandals. They tried to warm themselves at the fires, but the guards chased them away: that's not what the fires were there for; they were there to give light. Fingers grew numb almost instantly. The snow filled the thin shoes and didn't even melt. There was no mercy and the order was given: "Fall in! Form up! One step to the right or left and we'll fire without warning. Forward march!" The dogs on their chains howled at their favor- ite command, at the excitement of the moment. The convoy guards marched ahead in their sheepskin coats—and the doomed prisoners in their summer clothes marched through deep snow on a totally untraveled road somewhere into the dark taiga, nary a light ahead. The northern lights gleamed—for them it was their first and probably their last view of them. The fir trees crackled in the frost. The ill-shod prisoners paced and trod down the snow, their feet and legs growing numb from the cold.

Or, as another example, here is a January, 1945, arrival at Pechora. ("Our armies have captured Warsaw! Our armies have cut off East Prussia!") An empty snowy field. The prisoners were tossed out of the cars, made to sit down in the snow by sixes, painstakingly counted off, miscounted, and counted again. They were ordered to stand up and then were harried through a snowy virgin waste for four miles. This prisoner transport was also from the south—from Moldavia. And everyone was wearing leather shoes. The police dogs were right on their heels, and the dogs pushed the zeks in the last row with their paws on their backs, breathing on the backs of their heads. (Two priests were in that row—old gray-haired Father Fyodor Florya and young Father Viktor Shipovalnikov, who was helping to hold him up.) What a use for police dogs? No, what self-restraint it showed on the dogs' part! After all, they wanted to bite so badly!

Finally they arrived. There was a camp reception bath; they had to undress in one cabin, run across the yard naked, and wash in another. But all this was bearable now: the worst was over. They had arrived. Twilight fell. And all of a sudden it was learned there was no room for them; the camp wasn't ready to receive the prisoner transport. And after the bath, the prisoners were again formed up, counted, surrounded by dogs, and were marched back to their prisoner-transport train all those four miles, but this time in the dark. And the car doors had been left open all those hours, and had lost even their earlier, pitiful measure of warmth, and then all the coal had been burned up by the end of the journey and there was nowhere to get any more now. And in these circumstances, they froze all night and in the morning were given dried carp (and anyone who wanted to drink could chew snow), and then marched back along the same road again.

And this, after all, was an episode with a happy ending. In this case, the camp at least existed. If it couldn't accept them today, it would tomorrow. But it was not at all unusual for the red trains to arrive nowhere, and the end of the journey often marked the opening day of a new camp. They might simply stop somewhere in the taiga under the northern lights and nail to a fir tree a sign reading: "FIRST OLP."

[OLP = Otdetny Lagerny Punkt = Separate Camp Site.]

And there they would chew on dried fish for a week and try to mix their flour with snow.

But if a camp had been set up there even two weeks earlier, that already spelled comfort; hot food would have been cooked; and even if there were no bowls, the first and second courses would nonetheless be mixed together in washbasins for six prison- ers to eat from at the same time; and this group of six would form a circle (there were no tables or chairs yet), and two of them would hold onto the handles of the washbasin with their left hands and would eat with their right hands, taking turns. Am I repeating myself? No, this was Perebory in 1937, as reported by Loshchilin. It is not I who am repeating myself, but Gulag.

Next they would assign the newcomers brigade leaders from among the camp veterans, who would quickly teach them to live, to make do, to submit to discipline, and to cheat. And from their very first morning, they would march off to work because the chimes of the clock of the great Epoch were striking and could not wait. The Soviet Union is not, after all, some Tsarist hard- labor Akatui for you, where prisoners got three days' rest after they arrived.

Gradually the economy of the Archipelago prospered. New rail- road branch lines were built. And soon they were transporting prisoners by train to many places that had been reached only by water not long before. But there are natives of the Archipelago still alive who can tell you how they went down the Izhma River in genuine ancient Russian river galleys, one hundred to a boat, and the prisoners themselves did the rowing. They can tell you how they traveled in fishing smacks down the northern rivers of Ukhta, Usa, and Pechora to their native camp. Zeks were shipped to Vorkuta in barges: on large barges to Adzvavom, where there was a transshipping point for Vorkutlag, and from there only a stone's throw, let's say, to Ust-Usa, on a flat-bottomed barge for ten days. The whole barge was alive with lice, and the convoy allowed the prisoners to go up on deck one by one and brush the parasites off into the water. The river transports did not proceed directly to their destination either, but were sometimes interrupted to transfer for transshipment, or for portage, or for stretches covered on foot.

And they had their own transit prisons in this area—built out of poles or tents—Ust-Usa, Pomozdino, Shchelya-Yur, where they had their own special system of regulations. They had their own convoy rules, and of course, their own special commands, and their own special convoy tricks, and their own special methods of tormenting the zeks. But it's already clear that it is not our task to describe those particular exotica, so we won't even begin.

The Northern Dvina, the Ob, and the Yenisei know when they began to haul prisoners in barges—during the liquidation of the "kulaks." These rivers flowed straight north, and their barges were potbellied and capacious—and it was the only way they could cope with the task of carting all this gray mass from living Russia to the dead North. People were thrown into the trough- like holds and lay there in piles or crawled around like crabs in a basket. And high up on the deck, as though atop a cliff, stood guards. Sometimes they transported this mass out in the open without any cover, and sometimes they covered it with a big tarpaulin—in order not to look at it, or to guard it better, but certainly not to keep off the rain. The journey in such a barge was no longer prisoner transport, but simply death on the installment plan. Anyway, they gave them hardly anything to eat. Then they tossed them out in the tundra—and there they didn't give them anything at all to eat. They just left them there to die, alone with nature.

Prisoner transport by barge on the Northern Dvina (and on the Vychegda) had not died out even by 1940. That was how A. Y. Olenyev was transported. Prisoners in the hold stood tightly jammed against each other, and not just for a day either. They urinated in glass jars which were passed from hand to hand and emptied through the porthole. And anything more substantial went right in their pants.

Barge transport on the Yenisei came to be a regular and permanent feature for whole decades. In Krasnoyarsk in the thirties, open-sided sheds were built on the bank, and in the cold Siberian winters the prisoners would shiver there for a day or two while they waited for transportation.

[And V. I. Lenin in 1897 boarded the St. Nicholas in the passenger port like a free person.]

The Yenisei prisoner- transport barges were permanently equipped with dark holds three decks deep. The only light was what filtered in through the companionway for the ship's ladder. The convoy lived in a little cabin on deck. Sentries kept watch over the exits from the hold and over the river to make sure that no one escaped by swimming. They didn't go down into the hold, no matter what groans and howls for help might come from there. And the prisoners were never taken up on deck for fresh air. In the prisoner transports of 1937 and 1938, and 1944 and 1945 (and we can guess it must have been the same in the interval), no medical assistance what- ever was provided in the hold. The prisoners lay there lined up in two rows, one with their heads toward the side of the barge and the heads of the other row at their feet. The only way to get to the latrine barrels was to walk over them. The latrine barrels were not always emptied in time (imagine lugging that barrel full of sewage up the steep ship's ladder to the deck). They overflowed, and the contents spilled along the deck and seeped down on those below. And people lay there. They were fed gruel from casks hauled along the deck. The servers were prison- ers too, and there, in the eternal darkness (today, perhaps, there is electricity), by the light of a portable "Bat" kerosene lamp, they ladled out the food. Such a prisoner transport to Dudinka sometimes took a month. (Nowadays, of course, they can do it in a week.) It sometimes happened that the trip dragged out much longer because of sand bars and other hazards of river travel, and they wouldn't have enough food with them, in which case they just stopped giving out the food for several days at a time. (And later on, of course, they never made up for the days they missed.)

At this point the alert reader can without the author's help add that the thieves were on the upper level inside the hold and closer to the ship's ladder—in other words, to light and air. They had what access they required to the distribution of the bread ration, and if the trip in question was a hard one, they didn't hesitate to whip away the holy crutch (in other words, they took the gray cattle's rations from them). The thieves whiled away the long journey playing cards, and they made their own decks.

[V. Shalamov tells about this in detail in his Ocherki prestupnogo mira (Sketches of the Criminal World).]

They got the stakes for their card games by frisking the suckers, search- ing everyone lying in a particular section of the barge. For a certain length of time they won and lost and rewon and relost their loot, and then it floated up to the convoy. Yes, the reader has now guessed everything: the thieves had the convoy on the hook; the convoy either kept the stolen things for themselves or sold them at the wharves and brought the thieves something to eat in exchange.

And what about resistance? It happened—but only rarely. One case has been preserved. In 1950 on such a barge as I have described, except that it was larger—a seagoing barge en route from Vladivostok to Sakhalin—seven unarmed 58's resisted the thieves (in this case bitches), who numbered about eighty in all (some with knives, as usual). These bitches had searched the whole transport back at Vladivostok transit point three-ten, and they had searched it very thoroughly, in no way less efficiently than the jailers; they knew all the hiding places, but no search can ever turn up everything. Aware of this, when they were al- ready in the hold they treacherously announced: "Whoever has money can buy makhorka." And Misha Grachev got out three rubles he had hidden in his quilted jacket. And the bitch Volodka Tatarin shouted at him: "You crowbait, why don't you pay your taxes?" And he rushed in to take it away. But Master Sergeant Pavel (whose last name has not been recorded) pushed him away. Volodka Tatarin aimed a slingshot—a "V" fork—at Pavel's eyes, and Pavel knocked him off his feet. Immediately twenty to thirty bitches moved in on him. And around Grachev and Pavel gathered Volodya Shpakov, a former army captain, Seryezha Potapov, Volodya Reunov, a former army sergeant, Volodya Tretyukin, another former sergeant, and Vasa Krav- tsov. And what happened? The whole thing ended after only a few blows had been exchanged. This may have been a matter of the age-old and very real cowardice of the thieves (always concealed behind feigned toughness and devil-may-care insolence); or else the proximity of the guard held them back (this being right beneath the hatchway). Or it may have been that on this trip they were saving themselves for a more important social task—to seize control of the Aleksandrovsk Transit Prison (the one Chekhov described) and a Sakhalin construction project (seizing control of it, of course, not in order to construct) before the honest thieves could; at any rate they pulled back, restricting themselves to the threat: "On dry land we'll make garbage out of you!" (The battle never took place, and no one made "garbage" out of the boys. And at the Aleksandrovsk transit point the bitches met with misfortune: it was already firmly held by the honest thieves.)

In steamships to the Kolyma everything was the same as on the barges except that everything was on a larger scale. Strange as it seems, some of the prisoners sent to the Kolyma in several over- age old tubs on the famous expedition led by the ice-breaker Krasin in the spring of 1938 are still alive today. On the steamers Dzhurma, Kulu, Nevostroi, Dneprostroi, for which the Krasin was breaking the way through the spring ice, there were also three decks in the cold, dirty holds, and on these decks, in addi- tion, there were two-story bunks made out of poles. It was not completely dark: there were some kerosene lanterns and lamps. The prisoners were allowed up on deck in batches for fresh air and walks. Three to four thousand prisoners were in each steamer. The voyage took more than a week, and before it was over all the bread brought aboard in Vladivostok got moldy and the ration was reduced from twenty-one to fourteen ounces a day. They also gave out fish, and as for drinking water . . . Well, there's no reason to gloat here, because there were temporary difficulties with the water. Here, in contrast to the river transports, there were heavy seas, storms, seasickness. The exhausted, en- feebled people vomited, and didn't have the strength to get up out of their vomit, and all the floors were covered with the nauseating mess.

There was one political incident on the voyage. The steamers had to pass through La Pérouse Strait, very close to the Japanese islands. And at that point the machine guns disappeared from the watchtowers and the convoy guards changed to civilian clothes, the hatches were battened down, and access to the decks was forbidden. According to the ships' papers, foresightedly prepared back in Vladivostok, they were transporting, God save us, not prisoners but volunteers for work in the Kolyma. A multitude of Japanese small craft and boats hovered about the ships without suspecting. (And on another occasion, in 1938, there was an incident involving the Dzhurma: The thieves aboard got out of the hold and into the storage room, plundered it, and set it afire. The ship was very close to Japan when this occurred. Smoke was pouring from it, and the Japanese offered help, but the cap- tain refused to accept it and even refused to open the hatches. When Japan had been left behind, the corpses of those suffocated by smoke were thrown overboard, and the half-burned, half- spoiled food aboard was sent on to camp as rations for the prisoners.)

[Decades have passed since then, but how many times Soviet citizens have met with misfortune on the world's oceans—and in circumstances where it seems that zeks were not being transported—yet because of that same secretiveness disguised as national pride they have refused help! Let the sharks devour us, so long as we don't have to accept your helping hand! Secretiveness —that is our cancer.]

Short of Magadan the ship caravan got caught in the ice and not even the Krasin could help (it was too early for navigation, but they had been in a hurry to deliver laborers). On May 2 they disembarked the prisoners on the ice, some distance from the shore. The newly arrived prisoners got a look at the cheerless panorama of the Magadan of that time: dead hillocks, neither trees, nor bushes, nor birds, just a few wooden houses and the two-story building of "Dalstroi." Nonetheless, continuing to play out the farce of correction, in other words, pretending they had brought not simply bones with which to pave the gold-bearing Kolyma but temporarily isolated Soviet citizens who would yet return to creative life, they were greeted by the Dalstroi orchestra. The orchestra played marches and waltzes, and the tormented, half-dead people strung along the ice in a gray line, dragging their Moscow belongings with them (and this enormous prisoner trans- port consisted almost entirely of politicals who had hardly en- countered a single thief yet) and carrying on their shoulders other half-dead people—arthritis sufferers or prisoners without legs. (And the legless, too, got prison terms.)

But here I note that I am again beginning to repeat myself. And this will be boring to write, and boring to read, because the reader already knows everything that is going to happen ahead of time: The prisoners would be trucked hundreds of miles, and driven dozens of miles more on foot. And on arriving they would occupy new camp sites and immediately be sent out to work. And they would eat fish and flour, chased down with snow. And sleep in tents.

Yes, it was like that. But first the authorities would put them up in Magadan, also in Arctic tents, and would commission them there too—in other words, examine them naked to determine their fitness for labor from the condition of their buttocks (and all of them would turn out to be fit). In addition, of course, they would be taken to a bath and in the bath vestibule they would be ordered to leave their leather coats, their Romanov sheepskin coats, their woolen sweaters, their suits of fine wool, their felt cloaks, their leather boots, their felt boots (for, after all, these were no illiterate peasants this time, but the Party elite—editors of newspapers, directors of trusts and factories, responsible offi- cials in the provincial Party committees, professors of political economy, and, by the beginning of the thirties, all of them under- stood what good merchandise was). "And who is going to guard them?" the newcomers asked skeptically. "Oh, come on now, who needs your things?" The bath personnel acted offended. "Go on in and don't worry." And they did go in. And the exit was through a different door, and after passing through it, they received black cotton breeches, field shirts, camp quilted jackets without pockets, and pigskin shoes. (Oh, this was no small thing! This was farewell to your former life—to your titles, your posi- tions, and your arrogance!) "Where are our things?" they cried. "Your things you left at home!" some chief or other bellowed at them. "In camp nothing belongs to you. Here in camp we have communism! Forward march, leader!"

And if it was "communism," then what was there for them to object to? That is what they had dedicated their lives to.

And there are also prisoner transports in carts and simply on foot. Do you remember in Tolstoi's Resurrection how on a sunny day they drove them on foot from the prison to the railroad sta- tion? Well, in Minusinsk in 194-, after the prisoners hadn't been taken into the fresh air for a whole year, they had forgotten how to walk, to breathe, to look at the light. And then they took them out, put them in formation, and drove them the fifteen miles to Abakan on foot. About a dozen of them died along the way. And no one is ever going to write a great novel about it, not even one chapter: if you live in a graveyard, you can't weep for everyone.

A prisoner transport on foot—that was the grandfather of prisoner transport by rail, of the Stolypin car, and of the red cattle cars too. In our time it is used less and less, and only where mechanical transportation is still impossible. Thus in one sector of Lake Ladoga, the prisoners were sent on foot from besieged Leningrad to the red cars, nicknamed "red cows." They led the women together with the German POW's, and used bayonets to keep our men away from them so they couldn't take their bread. Those who fell by the wayside were immediately tossed up into a truck alive or dead, after their shoes were removed. And in the thirties, each day they sent off on foot from the Kotlas Transit Prison to Ust-Vym (about 185 miles) and sometimes to Chibyu (more than 300 miles) a transport of a hundred prisoners. Once in 1938 they sent off a women's prisoner transport the same way. These transports covered 15 miles a day. The convoy marched along with one or two dogs, and those who fell behind were urged on with gunstocks. True, the prisoners' possessions as well as the cooking pot and the food brought up the rear in carts, and this transport thus recalled the classic prisoner trans- ports of the past century. There were also prisoner-transport huts —the ruined houses of liquidated kulaks, with windows broken and doors ripped off. The accounting office of the Kotlas Transit Prison had issued provisions to the transport based on a theoreti- cal estimate of the time the journey would take, provided nothing went wrong on the way, without allowing for even one extra day. (The basic principle of all our accounting.) Whenever delays occurred en route, they had to stretch out the provisions, and fed the prisoners a mash of rye flour without salt and sometimes nothing at all. In this respect they departed from the classic model.

In 1940 Olenyev's prisoner transport, after disembarking from the barge, was herded on foot through the taiga (from Knyazh- Pogost to Chibyu) without anything to eat at all. They drank swamp water and very quickly got dysentery. Some fell by the wayside out of weakness, and the dogs tore the clothes off those who had fallen. In Izhma they caught fish by using their trousers as nets and ate them alive. (And in a certain meadow they were told: Right here is where you are going to build a railroad from Kotlas to Vorkuta.)

And in other areas of our European North, prisoner transports on foot were standard until the time when, on those same routes and roadbeds built by those earlier zeks, the jolly red cattle cars rolled along carrying later prisoners.

A particular technique for prisoner transports on foot was worked out where such transports were frequent and abundant. When a transport is being taken through the taiga from Knyazh- Pogost to Veslyana, and suddenly some prisoner falls by the wayside and can go no farther, what is to be done with him? Just be reasonable and think about it: what? You aren't going to stop the whole transport. And you aren't going to leave one soldier behind for everyone who falls. There are many prisoners and only a few soldiers. And what does that mean? The soldier stays behind for a little while with the fallen prisoner and then hurries on to catch up with the rest—alone.

Regular transports on foot from Karabas to Spassk were retained for a long time. It was only twenty to twenty-five miles, but it had to be covered in one day, with one thousand prisoners in each transport, many of them very weak. It was expected in cases like these that many would simply either drop in their tracks or else fall behind through the indifference and apathy of dying men—you may shoot at them but they still can't go on. They are not afraid of death, but what about clubs, the indefatigable beating of the clubs wherever they hit? They are afraid of clubs, and they will keep going. This is a tested method—that's how it works. And so in these cases the transport column is surrounded not only by the ordinary chain of machine gunners at a distance of fifty yards, but also by an inner chain of soldiers armed only with clubs. Those who have fallen behind get beaten. (As, in fact, Comrade Stalin prophesied.) They are beaten again and again. And even when they have no strength at all with which to go farther, they keep going. And many do miraculously get to the destination. They don't know that this is a testing by clubs, and that those who lie down and stay lying down and don't go on despite the clubs are picked up by carts following behind. That's organizational experience for you! (And one can ask: Why, then, didn't they take them all on carts in the first place? But where could enough carts be found? And horses? After all, we have tractors. What about the price of oats nowadays?) Such transports as these were still common in 1948-1950.

And in the twenties, transport on foot was one of the basic methods. I was a small boy, but I remember very well how they drove them down the streets of Rostov-on-the-Don without any qualms. And the famous order: ". . . will open fire without warn- ing!" had a different ring at that time, again because of a differ- ence in technology: after all, the convoy often had only sabers. They used to deliver orders like this: "One step out of line and the convoy guard will shoot and slash!" That had a very powerful sound: "shoot and slash!" You could imagine them cutting off your head from behind.

Yes, and even in February, 1936, they drove on foot through Nizhni Novgorod a transport of long-bearded old men from the other side of the Volga, in their homespun coats and in real lapty —bast sandals—wrapped around with onuchi—Russian peasant footcloths—"Old Russia disappearing." And all of a sudden, right across their path, came three automobiles, in one of which rode the Chairman of the Central Executive Committee, President of the Soviet Union, this is to say, Kalinin. The prisoner transport halted. Kalinin went on through. He wasn't interested.

Shut your eyes, reader. Do you hear the thundering of wheels? Those are the Stolypin cars rolling on and on. Those are the red cows rolling. Every minute of the day. And every day of the year. And you can hear the water gurgling—those are prisoners' barges moving on and on. And the motors of the Black Marias roar. They are arresting someone all the time, cramming him in some- where, moving him about. And what is that hum you hear? The overcrowded cells of the transit prisons. And that cry? The com- plaints of those who have been plundered, raped, beaten to within an inch of their lives.

We have reviewed and considered all the methods of deliver- ing prisoners, and we have found that they are all ... worse. We have examined the transit prisons, but we have not found any that were good. And even the last human hope that there is some- thing better ahead, that it will be better in camp, is a false hope.

In camp it will be ... worse.

Chapter 4
From Island to Island

And zeks are also moved from island to island of the Archi- pelago simply in solitary skiffs. This is called special convoy. It is the most unconstrained mode of transport. It can hardly be distinguished from free travel. Only a few prisoners are delivered in this way. I, in my own career as a prisoner, made three such journeys.

The special convoy is assigned on orders from high officials. It should not be confused with the special requisition, which is also signed by someone high up. A special-requisition prisoner usually travels on the general prisoner transports, though he, too, meets up with some amazing interludes on his trip (which are all the more extraordinary in consequence). For example, Ans Bern- shtein was traveling on a special requisition from the North to the lower Volga, to join an agricultural mission. He was exposed to all the overcrowded conditions and humiliations I have described, snarled at by dogs, surrounded by bayonets, threatened with "One step out of line . . ." And then suddenly he was unloaded at the small station at Zenzevatka and met by one single, calm, un- armed jailer. The jailer yawned: "All right, you'll spend the night at my house, and you can go out on the town as you like till morning. Tomorrow I'll take you to the camp." And Ans did go out. Can you understand what going out on the town means to a person whose term is ten years, who has already said good-bye to life countless times, who was in a Stolypin car that very morning and will be in camp the next day? And he im- mediately went out to watch the chickens scratching around in the station master's garden and the peasant women getting ready to leave the station with their unsold butter and melons. He moved three, four, five steps to the side and no one shouted "Halt!" at him. With unbelieving fingers he touched the leaves of the acacias and almost wept.

And the special convoy is precisely that sort of miracle from beginning to end. You won't see the common prisoner transports this time. You don't have to keep your hands behind your back. You don't have to undress down to your skin, nor sit on the earth on your rear end, and there won't be any search at all. Your convoy guards approach you in a friendly way and even address you politely. They warn you, as a general precaution, that in case of any attempt to escape—We do, as usual, shoot. Our pistols are loaded and we have them in our pockets. However, let's go simply. Act natural. Don't let everyone see that you're a prisoner. (And I urge you to note how here, too, as always, the interests of the individual and the interests of the state coincide com- pletely.)

My camp life was totally transformed the day I went out to line up forlornly in the carpenters' brigade, my fingers cramped (they had gotten stiff holding onto tools and wouldn't straighten out), and the work-assignment supervisor took me aside and with unexpected respect said to me: "Do you know that on orders of the Minister of Internal Affairs . . . ?"

I was stupefied. The line-up dispersed and the trusties in the camp compound surrounded me. Some of them said: "They are going to hang a new stretch on you." And others said: "To be released." But everyone agreed on one thing—that there was no escaping Minister of Internal Affairs Kruglov. And I, too, swayed between a new term and being released. I had quite for- gotten that half a year before, some character had come to our camp and distributed Gulag registration cards. (After the war they had begun this registration in all the nearby camps, but it seems unlikely that it was ever completed.) The most important question on it was: "Trade or Profession." And the zeks would fill in the most precious Gulag trades to enhance their own value: "barber," "tailor," "storekeeper," "baker." As for me, I had frowned and filled in "nuclear physicist." I had never been a nu- clear physicist in my life, and what I knew of the field I had heard in the university before the war—just a little bit, the names of the atomic particles and their parameters. And I had decided to write down "nuclear physicist." This was in 1946. The atom bomb was desperately needed. But I didn't assign any importance to that Gulag registration card and, in fact, forgot about it.

There was a vague, unverified legend, unconfirmed by any- body, that you might nevertheless hear in camp: that some- where in this Archipelago were tiny paradise islands. No one had seen them. No one had been there. Whoever had, kept silent about them and never let on. On those islands, they said, flowed rivers of milk and honey, and eggs and sour cream were the least of what they fed you; things were neat and clean, they said, and it was always warm, and the only work was mental work—and all of it super-supersecret.

And so it was that I got to those paradise islands myself (in convict lingo they are called "sharashkas") and spent half my sentence on them. It's to them I owe my survival, for I would never have lived out my whole term in the camps. And it's to them I owe the fact that I am writing this investigation, even though I have not allowed them any place in this book. (I have already written a novel about them.) And it was from one to an- other of those islands, from the first to the second, and from the second to the third, that I was transported on a special-convoy basis: two jailers and I.

If the souls of those who have died sometimes hover among us, see us, easily read in us our trivial concerns, and we fail to see them or guess at their incorporeal presence, then that is what a special-convoy trip is like.

You are submerged in the mass of freedom, and you push and shove with the others in the station waiting room. You absent- mindedly examine announcements posted there, even though they can hardly have any relevance for you. You sit on the ancient passenger benches, and you hear strange and insignificant con- versations: about some husband who beats up his wife or has left her; and some mother-in-law who, for some reason, does not get along with her daughter-in-law; how neighbors in communal apartments make personal use of the electric outlets in the corri- dor and don't wipe their feet; and how someone is in someone else's way at the office; and how someone has been offered a good job but can't make up his mind to move—how can he move bag and baggage, is that so easy? You listen to all this, and the goose pimples of rejection run up and down your spine: to you the true measure of things in the Universe is so clear! The measure of all weaknesses and all passions! And these sinners aren't fated to perceive it. The only one there who is alive, truly alive, is incorporeal you, and all these others are simply mistaken in thinking themselves alive.

And an unbridgeable chasm divides you! You cannot cry out to them, nor weep over them, nor shake them by the shoulder: after all, you are a disembodied spirit, you are a ghost, and they are material bodies.

And how can you bring it home to them? By an inspiration? By a vision? A dream? Brothers! People! Why has life been given you? In the deep, deaf stillness of midnight, the doors of the death cells are being swung open—and great-souled people are being dragged out to be shot. On all the railroads of the country this very minute, right now, people who have just been fed salt herring are licking their dry lips with bitter tongues. They dream of the happiness of stretching out one's legs and of the relief one feels after going to the toilet. In Orotukan the earth thaws only in summer and only to the depth of three feet—and only then can they bury the bones of those who died during the winter. And you have the right to arrange your own life under the blue sky and the hot sun, to get a drink of water, to stretch, to travel wherever you like without a convoy. So what's this about unwiped feet? And what's this about a mother-in-law? What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I'll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory—property and posi- tion: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life—don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to over- flowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes see, and if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart—and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it might be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted in their memory!

But the convoy guards stroke the black handles of the pistols in their pockets. And we sit there, three in a row, sober fellows, quiet friends.

I wipe my brow. I shut my eyes, and then I open them. And once again I see this dream: a crowd of people unaccompanied by guards. I remember clearly that I spent last night in a cell and will be in a cell again tomorrow. But here comes some kind of conductor to punch my ticket: "Your ticket!" "My friend there has it!"

The cars are full. (Well, "full" in free people's terms—no one is lying under the benches, and no one is sitting on the floor in the aisles.) I was told to behave naturally, and I have been behaving very naturally indeed: I noticed a seat beside a window in the next compartment, and got up and took it. And there were no empty seats for my guards in that compartment. They sat where they were and kept their loving eyes on me from there. In Perebory, the seat across the table from me was vacated, but before my guard could get to it and sit down, a moon-faced fel- low in a sheepskin coat and a fur cap, with a plain but strong wooden suitcase, sat down there. I recognized his suitcase: it was camp work, "made in the Archipelago."

"Whew!" he puffs. There was very little light, but I could see he was red in the face and that he had had a hassle to get on the train. And he got out a bottle: "How about a beer, comrade?" I knew that my guards were close to a nervous breakdown in the next compartment: I was not allowed anything alcoholic. But still ... I was supposed to conduct myself as naturally as possible. And so I said carelessly: "All right, why not?" (Beer! It's a whole poem! For three years I hadn't had even one swallow. And tomorrow in my cell I would brag: "I got beer!") The fellow poured it, and I drank it down with a shiver of pleasure. It was already dark. There was no electricity in the car. This was post- war dislocation. One tiny candle end was burning in an ancient lantern at the door, one for four compartments: two in front and two behind. I talked amiably with the fellow even though we could hardly see each other. No matter how far forward my guard leaned, he couldn't hear a thing because of the clickety-clack of the wheels. In my pocket I had a postcard addressed to my home. And I was about to explain who I was to my simple friend across the table and ask him to drop the card in a mailbox. Judging by his suitcase he had been in stir himself. But he beat me to it: "You know, I just barely managed to get some leave. They haven't given me any time off for two years; it's a dog's branch of the service." "What kind?" "Don't you know? I'm an MVD man, an asmodeus, blue shoulder boards, haven't you ever seen them?" Hell! Why hadn't I guessed right off? Perebory was the center for Volgolag, and he had gotten his suitcase out of the zeks, they had made it for him for free. How all this had permeated our life! Two MVD men, two asmodei, weren't enough in two com- partments. There had to be a third. And perhaps there was also a fourth concealed somewhere? And maybe they were in every compartment? And maybe someone else there was traveling by special convoy like me.

My fellow kept on whining and complaining of his fate. And at that point, I decided to enter a somewhat mystifying demurrer. "And what about the ones you're guarding, the ones who got ten years for nothing—is it any easier for them?" He immediately subsided and remained silent until morning: earlier, in the semi- darkness, he had noticed that I was wearing some kind of semi- military overcoat and field shirt. And he had thought I was simply a soldier boy, but now the devil only knew what I might be: Maybe I was a police agent? Maybe I was out to catch escapees? Why was I in this particular car? And he had criticized the camps there in my presence.

By this time the candle end in the lantern was floating but still burning. On the third baggage shelf some youth was talking in a pleasant voice about the war—the real war, the kind you don't read about in books: he had been with a unit of field engineers and was describing incidents that were true to life. And it was so pleasant to realize that unvarnished truth was, despite everything, pouring into someone's ears.

I could have told tales too. I would even have liked to. But no, I didn't really want to any more. Like a cow, the war had licked away four of my years. I no longer believed that it had all actually happened and I didn't want to remember it. Two years here, two years in the Archipelago, had dimmed in my mind all the roads of the front, all the comradeship of the front line, had totally dark- ened them.

One wedge knocks out another.

And after spending a few hours among free people, here is what I feel: My lips are mute; there is no place for me among them; my hands are tied here. I want free speech! I want to go back to my native land! I want to go home to the Archipelago!

In the morning I deliberately forgot my postcard on an upper shelf: after all, the conductor will get around to cleaning up the car; she will carry it to a mailbox—if she is a human being.

We emerge onto the square in front of the Northern Station in Moscow. Again my jailers are newcomers to Moscow, and don't know the city. We travel on streetcar "B," and I make the de- cisions for them. There is a mob at the streetcar stop in the middle of the square; everyone is on the way to work at this hour. One jailer climbs up to the streetcar motorman and shows him his MVD identity card. We are allowed to stand imposingly on the front platform for the whole trip, as if we were deputies of the Moscow Soviet, and we don't bother to get tickets. An old man isn't allowed to board there—he isn't an invalid and he has to board in the rear like the others.

We approach Novoslobodskaya and disembark—and for the first time I see Butyrki Prison from the outside, even though it's the fourth time I've been brought there and I can draw its in- terior plan without difficulty. Oof, what a grim, high wall stretches for two blocks there! The hearts of the Muscovites shiver when they see the steel maw of its gates slide open. But I leave the sidewalks of Moscow behind me without regret, and as I enter that tower of the gatehouse I feel I am returning home. I smile at the first courtyard and recognize the familiar main doors of carved wood. And it's nothing at all to me that they are now going to make me face the wall—and they already have—and ask me: "Last name? Given name and patronymic? Year of birth?"

My name? I am the Interstellar Wanderer! They have tightly bound my body, but my soul is beyond their power.

I know: after several hours of inevitable processing of my body—confinement in a box, search, issuing receipts, filling out the admissions card, after the roaster and the bath—I shall be taken to a cell with two domes, with a hanging arch in the middle (all the cells are like that), with two large windows and a long combination table and cupboard. And I shall be greeted by strangers who are certain to be intelligent, interesting, friendly people, and they will begin to tell me their stories, and I will begin to tell them mine, and by night we will not even feel like going off to sleep right away.

And on the bowls will be stamped (so we shouldn't make off with them on the prisoner transport) the mark "Bu-Tyur"—for Butyrskaya Tyurma, Butyrki Prison. The "BuTyur" Health Re- sort, as we mocked it last time. A health resort, incidentally, very little known to the paunchy bigwigs who want so badly to lose weight. They drag their stomachs to Kislovodsk, and go out for long hikes on prescribed trails, do push-ups, and sweat for a whole month just to lose four to six pounds. And there in the "BuTyur" Health Resort, right near them, anyone of them could lose seventeen or eighteen pounds just like that, in one week, without doing any exercises at all.

This is a tried and true method. It has never failed.

One of the truths you learn in prison is that the world is small, very small indeed. True, the Gulag Archipelago, although it ex- tended across the entire Soviet Union, had many fewer inhabi- tants than the Soviet Union as a whole. How many there actually were in the Archipelago one cannot know for certain. We can assume that at any one time there were not more than twelve million in the camps (as some departed beneath the sod, the Machine kept bringing in replacements).

[According to the researches of the Social Democrats Nicolaevsky and Dallin, there were from fifteen to twenty million prisoners in the camps.]

And not more than half of them were politicals. Six million? Well, that's a small country, Sweden or Greece, and in such countries many people know one another. And quite naturally when you landed in any cell of any transit prison and listened and chatted, you'd be cer- tain to discover you had acquaintances in common with some of your cellmates. (And so D., after having spent more than a year in solitary confinement, after Sukhanovka, after Ryumin's beat- ings and the hospital, could land in a Lubyanka cell and give his name, and then and there a bright chap named F. could greet him: "Aha, so now I know who you are!" "Where from?" D. shied away from him. "You are mistaken." "Certainly not. You are that very same American, Alexander D., whom the bourgeois press lied about, saying you had been kidnaped—and TASS denied it. I was free at the time and read about it.")

I love that moment when a newcomer is admitted to the cell for the first time (not a novice who has only recently been arrested and will inevitably be depressed and confused, but a veteran zek). And I myself love to enter a new cell (nonetheless, God grant I never have to do it again) with an unworried smile and an expansive gesture: "Hi, brothers!" I throw my bag on the bunks. "Well, so what's new this past year in Butyrki?"

We begin to get acquainted. Some fellow named Suvorov, a 58. At first glance there's nothing remarkable about him, but you probe and pry: at the Krasnoyarsk Transit Prison a certain Makhotkin was in his cell.

"Just a moment, wasn't he an Arctic aviator?"

"Yes. They named . . ."

"... an island after him in the Taimyr Gulf. And he's in prison for 58-10. So does that mean they let him go to Dudinka?"

"How do you know? Yes."

Wonderful! One more link in the biography of a man I don't know. I have never met him, and perhaps I never shall. But my efficient memory has filed away everything I know about him: Makhotkin got a whole "quarter"—twenty-five years—but the island named after him couldn't be renamed because it was on all the maps of the world (it wasn't a Gulag island). They had taken him on at the aviation sharashka in Bolshino and he was unhappy there: an aviator among engineers, and not allowed to fly. They split that sharashka in two, and Makhotkin got assigned to the Taganrog half, and it seemed as though all connection with him had been severed. In the other half of it, however, in Rybinsk, I was told that he had asked to be allowed to fly in the Far North. And now I had just learned he had been given that permission. This was not information I needed, but I had remembered it all. And ten days later I turned up in the same Butyrki bath box (there are such lovely boxes in the Butyrki, with faucets and small washtubs so as not to tie up the big bath chambers) as a certain R. I didn't know this R. either, but it turned out he had been a patient in the Butyrki hospital for half a year and was about to leave for the Rybinsk sharashka. In another three days the prisoners in Rybinsk, too, a closed box where zeks are cut off from all ties with the outside world, would nevertheless learn that Makhotkin was in Dudinka, and they would also find out where I had been sent.

Now this is the prisoners' telegraph system: attentiveness, memory, chance meetings.

And this attractive man in horn-rimmed spectacles? He walked around the cell humming Schubert in a pleasant baritone.

And youth again oppresses me,
And the way to the grave is long.

"Tsarapkin, Sergei Romanovich."

"But look here, I know you very well indeed. You're a biol- ogist? A nonreturnee? From Berlin?"

"How do you know?"

"But after all, it's a small world! In 1946 with Nikolai Vladimirovich Timofeyev-Ressovsky . . ."

Oh, what a cell that had been in 1946: The memories of it returned. It was perhaps the most brilliant cell in all my prison life. It was July. They had taken me from the camp to the Butyrki on those mysterious "instructions of the Minister of In- ternal Affairs." We arrived after lunch, but the prison was so overloaded that the reception processing took eleven hours, and it was not until 3 A.M. that, tired from the boxes, I was admitted to Cell 75. Lit by two bright electric bulbs below the two domes, the whole cell slept side by side, restless because of the stuffiness: the hot July air couldn't circulate through the windows blocked by the "muzzles." Sleepless flies kept buzzing, and the sleepers twitched when the flies lit on them. Some of the prisoners had put handkerchiefs over their faces to keep the light out of their eyes. The latrine barrel smelled acrid—everything decayed more quickly in such heat. Eighty people were stuffed into a cell for twenty-five—and this was not the limit either. Prisoners lay tightly packed together on the bunks to left and right and also on the supplementary planks laid across the aisle, and everywhere feet were sticking out from under the bunks, and the traditional Butyrki table-cupboard was pushed back to the latrine barrel. That was where there was still a piece of unoccupied floor, and that was where I lay down. And thus it was that whoever got up to use the latrine barrel before morning had to step across me.

When the order "Get up!" was given, shouted through the swill trough in the door, everything started to stir: They began to take up the planks from across the aisles and push the table to the window. Prisoners came up to interview me—to find out whether I was a novice or a camp veteran. It turned out that two different waves had met in the cell: the ordinary wave of freshly sentenced prisoners being sent off to camp and a reverse wave of camp in- mates who were all technical specialists—physicists, chemists, mathematicians, design engineers—all being sent to unknown destinations, to some sort of thriving scientific research institutes. (At this point I relaxed: the Minister was not going to hang a new stretch on me.) I was approached by a man who was middle- aged, broad-shouldered yet very skinny, with a slightly aquiline nose:

"Professor Timofeyev-Ressovsky, President of the Scientific and Technical Society of Cell 75. Our society assembles every day after the morning bread ration, next to the left window. Perhaps you could deliver a scientific report to us? What precisely might it be?"

Caught unaware, I stood before him in my long bedraggled overcoat and winter cap (those arrested in winter are foredoomed to go about in winter clothing during the summer too). My fingers had not yet straightened out that morning and were all scratched. What kind of scientific report could I give? And right then I remembered that in camp I had recently held in my hands for two nights the Smyth Report, the official report of the United States Defense Department on the first atom bomb, which had been brought in from outside. The book had been published that spring. Had anyone in the cell seen it? It was a useless question. Of course no one had. And thus it was that fate played its joke, compelling me, in spite of everything, to stray into nuclear physics, the same field in which I had registered on the Gulag card.

After the rations were issued, the Scientific and Technical So- ciety of Cell 75, consisting of ten or so people, assembled at the left window and I made my report and was accepted into the society. I had forgotten some things, and I could not fully com- prehend others, and Timofeyev-Ressovsky, even though he had been in prison for a year and knew nothing of the atom bomb, was able on occasion to fill in the missing parts of my account. An empty cigarette pack was my blackboard, and I held an illegal fragment of pencil lead. Nikolai Vladimirovich took them away from me and sketched and interrupted, commenting with as much self-assurance as if he had been a physicist from the Los Alamos group itself.

He actually had worked with one of the first European cyclo- trons, but for the purpose of irradiating fruit flies. He was a biologist, one of the most important geneticists of our time. He had already been in prison back when Zhebrak, not knowing that (or, perhaps, knowing it), had the courage to write in a Canadian magazine: "Russian biology is not responsible for Lysenko; Russian biology is Timofeyev-Ressovsky." (And during the destruction of Soviet biology in 1948 Zhebrak paid for this.) Schrödinger, in his small book What Is Life?, twice cited Timofeyev-Ressovsky, who had long since been imprisoned.

And there he was in front of us, and he was simply bursting with information concerning all possible sciences. He had that breadth of scope which scientists of later generations don't even want to have. (Or is it that the possibilities of encompassing knowledge have changed?) And even though at the moment he was so worn down by the starvation of the interrogation period that these exercises were very difficult for him. On his mother's side he was descended from impoverished Kaluga gentlefolk who had lived on the Ressa River, and on his father's side he was a collateral descendant of Stepan Razin, and that Cossack energy was very obvious in him—in his broad frame, in his basic sound- ness, in his determined struggle with his interrogator, and also in the fact that he suffered from hunger more than we did.

And his story was this: In 1922 the German scientist Vogt, who had founded the Brain Institute in Moscow, had asked to have two talented graduate students sent abroad to work with him permanently. And that was how Timofeyev-Ressovsky and his friend Tsarapkin had been sent off on a foreign assignment with no time limit. And even though they did not have any ideological guidance there, they nonetheless achieved great things in science, and when in 1937 (!) they were instructed to return to their homeland, this seemed to them, since it meant inter- rupting their work, impossible. They could not abandon either the logical continuation of their own researches or their apparatus or their students. And, no doubt, they also couldn't do it because back in the Motherland they would have been compelled to pour shit publicly all over their fifteen years of work in Germany. And only that would have earned them the right to go on existing (and would it have earned it for them?). And so they became non- returnees, remaining patriots nevertheless.

In 1945 the Soviet armies entered Buch (a northeast suburb of Berlin), and Timofeyev-Ressovsky and his entire institute joyously welcomed them: everything had worked out in the best possible way, and now he would not have to be separated from his institute! Soviet representatives came to inspect it and said: "Hmm! hmm! Put everything in packing cases, and we'll take it all to Moscow." "That's impossible," Timofeyev objected. "Every- thing will die on the way. The installations have taken years to set up." "Hmm!" The bigwigs acted astonished. And very shortly after that Timofeyev and Tsarapkin were arrested and taken off to Moscow. They were naive. They had thought that the institute would not be able to operate without them. Well, even if it didn't operate, the general line of the Party must triumph! In the Big Lubyanka it was very easily proven to the arrested individuals that they were traitors of the Motherland (or to it?), and they were sentenced to ten years, and now the President of the Scien- tific and Technical Society of Cell 75 took heart from the thought that he hadn't made any errors.

In the Butyrki cells, the arched metal frames supporting the bunks were very, very low. Even the prison administration had never thought of having prisoners sleep under them. Therefore, you first tossed your neighbor your coat so that he could spread it out for you under there, and then you lay face down in the aisle and crawled your way in. Prisoners walked through the aisle, the floor underneath the bunks was swept maybe once a month, and you could wash your hands only during the evening trip to the toilet, and even then without soap—and it was thus impossible to say that you could perceive your body as a Divine vessel. But I was happy! There, on the asphalt floor, under the bunks, in a dog's den, with dust and crumbs from the bunks falling in our eyes, I was absolutely happy, without any qualifications. Epicurus spoke truly: Even the absence of variety can be sensed as satisfaction when a variety of dissatisfactions has preceded it. After camp, which had already seemed endless, and after a ten-hour workday, after cold, rain, and aching back, oh, what happiness it was to lie there for whole days on end, to sleep, and nevertheless receive a pound and a half of bread and two hot meals a day—made from cattle feed, or from dolphin's flesh. In a word, the "BuTyur" Health Resort.

To sleep was so important! To lie there on one's belly, to cover one's back and just to sleep. When you were asleep, you didn't spend your strength nor torment your heart—and meanwhile your sentence was passing, passing. When our life crackles and sparks like a torch, we curse the necessity of spending eight hours uselessly in sleep. When we have been deprived of everything, when we have been deprived of hope, then bless you, fourteen hours of sleep!

But they kept me in that cell two months, and I slept enough to make up for the past year and the year ahead, and during that time I moved forward under the bunks to the window and then all the way back to the latrine barrel, but on the bunks this time, and then on the bunks I moved to the archway. I was sleeping very little by this time—I was gulping down the elixir of life and enjoying myself. In the morning the Scientific and Technical So- ciety, then chess, books (oh, those itinerant books, there were only three or four for eight or ten people, and there was always a waiting list for them), then a twenty-minute walk outdoors—a major chord! We never refused our walk even when it was raining heavily. And the main thing was people, people, people! Nikolai Andreyevich Semyonov, one of the creators of the Dnieper Hy- droelectric Dam and Power Station. His POW friend, the engineer F. F. Karpov. Witty, caustic Viktor Kagan, a physicist. The musician and conservatory student Volodya Klempner, a com- poser. A woodcutter and hunter from the Vyatka forests, as pro- found as a forest lake. An Orthodox preacher from Europe, Yevgeny Ivanovich Divnich. He did not confine himself to theology, but condemned Marxism, declaring that no one in Europe had taken it seriously for a long while—and I defended it, because after all I was a Marxist. And even a year ago I would have confidently demolished him with quotations; how disparagingly I would have mocked him! But my first year as a prisoner had left its mark inside me—and just when had that happened? I hadn't noticed: there had been so many new events, sights, meanings, that I could no longer say: "They don't exist! That's a bourgeois lie!" And now I had to admit: "Yes, they do exist." And right at that point my whole line of reasoning began to weaken, and so they could beat me in our arguments without half-trying.

And again the POW's kept coming and coming and coming— this was the second year of the wave of them that kept unceasingly coming from Europe. And once more there were Russian emigres —from Europe, from Manchuria. One went about among the emigres seeking news of acquaintances by first asking what country they had come from, and did they know so and so? Yes, of course, they did. (And that is how I learned of the execution of Colonel Yasevich.)

And the old German, that portly German, now emaciated and ill, whom I had once upon a time back in East Prussia (was it two hundred years ago?) forced to carry my suitcase. Oh, how small the world really is! Strange fate that brought us together again! The old man smiled at me. He recognized me too, and even seemed pleased by our meeting. He had forgiven me. He had been sentenced to ten years, but he certainly didn't have anywhere near that long to live. And there was another German there too- lanky and young, but unresponsive—perhaps because he didn't know one word of Russian. You wouldn't even take him for a German right off the bat: the thieves had torn off everything German he had on and given him a faded old Soviet field shirt in exchange. He was a famous German air ace. His first campaign had been in the war between Bolivia and Paraguay, his second in Spain, his third Poland, his fourth over England, his fifth Cyprus, his sixth the Soviet Union. Since he was an ace he could certainly not have avoided shooting down women and children from the air! That made him a war criminal and he got a prison sentence and a "muzzle" of five additional years. And, of course, there had to be one right-thinking person (like Prosecutor Kretov) in the cell: "They were right to imprison all you counterrevolu- tionary bastards! History will grind up your bones for fertilizer!" "You're going to be fertilizer yourself, you dog!" they shouted back. "No, they will reconsider my case. I am innocent!" And the whole cell howled and seethed. And a gray-haired Russian- language teacher stood up on the bunks, barefoot, and wrung his hands like a latter-day Jesus Christ: "Children of mine, make peace with one another! My children!" And they howled at him too: "Your children are in the Bryansk forests! We are nobody's children! All we are is the sons of Gulag,"

After dinner and the evening trip to the toilet, night cloaked the window "muzzles" and the nagging electric lights below the ceiling lit up. Day divided the prisoners and night drew them closer together. There were no quarrels in the evening: lectures and concerts were given. And in this, too, Timofeyev-Ressovsky shone: he spent entire evenings on Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden. The emigres spoke about the Balkans, about France. Someone delivered a lecture on Le Corbusier. Someone else delivered one on the habits of bees. Someone else on Gogol. This was when we smoked our lungs full. Smoke filled up the cell and hovered in the air like a fog, and there was no draft to pull it out the window because of the "muzzles." Kostya Kiula, twin to me in age, round-faced, blue-eyed, amusingly awkward, stepped up to the table and recited to us the verses he had composed in prison.

[Kostya Kiula doesn't respond, he's disappeared. I am afraid he is not among the living.]

His voice broke with emotion. His verses were entitled, "My First Food Parcel," "To My Wife," "To My Son." When in prison you strain to get by ear verses written in prison, you don't waste a single thought on whether the author's use of syllabic stress is faulty and whether his lines end in assonances or full rhymes. These verses are the blood of your own heart, the tears of your own wife. The cell wept.

In that cell I myself set out to write verses about prison. And it was there that I recited the verses of Yesenin, who had almost but not quite been on the forbidden list before the war. And young Bubnov, a POW, and before that, apparently, a student who had not completed his studies, worshipfully gazed at those reciting, his face aglow. He was not a technical specialist and he hadn't come from camp, but was on his way there, and because of the purity and forthrightness of his character he would in all likelihood die there. People like him don't survive there. And for him and for others—their fatal descent braked for the moment —the evenings in Cell 75 were a sudden revelation of that beauti- ful world which exists and will continue to exist but which their own hard fate hadn't given them one little year of, not even one little year of their young lives.

The swill trough dropped down and the turnkey's mug barked at us: "Bed." No, even before the war, when I was studying at two higher educational institutions at the same time and earning my way by tutoring, and striving to write too, even then I had not experienced such full, such heart-rending, such completely filled days, as I did in Cell 75 that summer.

"But listen," I said to Tsarapkin, "I've heard since then from someone called Deul, a sixteen-year-old boy who got a fiver (not on a school report card) for 'anti-Soviet' propaganda. . . ."

"What, do you know him too? He was on our prisoner trans- port to Karaganda. .. ."

"... I heard," I continued, "that you were given work as a laboratory assistant doing medical analyses and that Timofeyev- Ressovsky was constantly being sent out on general-assignment work. . ."

"Yes, and he grew very weak. He was half-dead when they brought him from the Stolypin car here to the Butyrki. And he is in a hospital bed here right now, and the Fourth Special De- partment is issuing him cream and even wine, but it's hard to say whether he will ever get back on his feet again."

[ The task of the Fourth Special Department of the MVD was to solve scientific problems, using prisoners.]

"Did the Fourth Special Department summon you?"

"Yes. They asked us whether we considered it might still be possible after six months of Karaganda to start setting up our in- stitute here, in the Fatherland."

"And you, of course, agreed enthusiastically."

"Most certainly! After all, we have come to understand our mistakes. And besides, all the equipment wrenched from its original place and put into packing cases got here even with- out us."

"What dedication to science on the part of the MVD! May I ask for a little more Schubert?"

And Tsarapkin sang softly, staring sadly at the window (his spectacles reflecting both their dark "muzzles" and their light upper sections):

Vom Abendrot zum Morgenlicht
ward mancher Kopf zum Greise.
Wer glaubt es? Meiner ward es nicht
auf dieser ganzen Reise.

Tolstoi's dream has come true: Prisoners are no longer compelled to attend pernicious religious services. The prison churches have been shut down. True, their buildings remain, but they have been successfully adapted to enlarge the prisons themselves. Two thousand additional prisoners have thereby been housed in the Butyrki church—and in the course of a year, estimating an aver- age turnover of two weeks, another fifty thousand will pass through the cells in what was once the church.

On arriving at the Butyrki for the fourth or fifth time, hurrying confidently to my assigned cell, through the courtyard surrounded by prison buildings, and even outstripping the jailer by a shoulder (like a horse that hurries, without the urging of whip or reins, home to where the oats are waiting), I sometimes even forgot to glance at the square church rising into an octagon. It stood apart in the middle of the courtyard quadrangle. Its "muzzles" were not machine-made of glass reinforced with iron rods as they were in the main section of the prison. They were rotten, un- planed gray boards, pure and simple—and they indicated the building's second-rank priority. What they maintained there was a kind of intra-Butyrki transit prison, so to speak, for recently sentenced prisoners.

And at one time, in 1945, I had experienced it as a big, im- portant step when they led us into the church after our OSO sentencing (and that was the right time to do it too!—it was a good time for prayer!), took us up to the second floor (and the third floor was also partitioned off), and from the octagonal vestibule distributed us among different cells. Mine was the southeast cell.

This was a large square cell in which, at the time, two hun- dred prisoners were confined. They were sleeping, as they did everywhere else there, on the bunks (and they were one-story bunks), under the bunks, and just simply on the tile floor, out in the aisles. Not only were the "muzzles" on the windows second- rate; everything else, too, was in a style appropriate not to true sons of Butyrki but to its stepsons. No books, no chess sets, no checkers were distributed to this swarming mass, and the dented aluminum bowls and beat-up wooden spoons were collected and removed from one mealtime to another for fear that in the rush they might get carried off on prisoner transports. They were even stingy with mugs for the stepsons. They washed the bowls after the gruel, and then the prisoners had to lap up their tea slops out of them. The absence of one's own dishes was particularly acute for those who experienced the mixed blessing of receiving a parcel from their families (despite their meager means, relatives made a special effort to provide parcels in those last days before the prisoner transports left). The families had had no prison ed- ucation themselves, and they never got any good advice in the prison reception office either. And therefore they didn't send plastic dishes, the one and only kind prisoners were allowed to have, but glass or metal ones instead. All these honeys, jams, condensed milks were pitilessly poured and scraped out of their cans through the swill trough in the cell door into whatever the prisoner had, and in the church cells he had nothing at all, which meant that he simply got it in the palms of his hands, in his mouth, in his handkerchief, in the flaps of his coat—which was quite normal in Gulag terms, but not in the center of Moscow!

And at the same time the jailer kept hurrying him as if he were late for his train. (The jailer hurried him because he was counting on licking out whatever was left in the jars.) Everything was temporary in the church cells, without that illusion of permanency which existed in the interrogation cells and in the cells where prisoners awaited sentencing. Ground meat, a semiprocessed product partially prepared for Gulag, the prisoners were unavoid- ably here those few days until a bit of space had been cleared for them at Krasnaya Presnya. They had just one special privilege here: three times a day they were allowed to go for their gruel themselves (no grits were given out here, but the gruel was served three times a day, and this was a merciful thing because it was more frequent, hotter, and stuck to the ribs better). This special privilege was allowed because there were no elevators in the church—as there were in the rest of the prison. And the jailers had no wish to exert themselves. The big heavy kettles had to be carried from a long way off, across the yard, and then up a steep flight of stairs. It was hard work, and the prisoners had very little strength for it, but they went willingly—just to get out into the green yard one more time and hear the birds singing.

The church cells had their own air: it held a fluttering presenti- ment of the drafts of future transit prisons, of the winds of the Arctic camps. In the church cells you celebrated the ritual of getting adjusted—to the fact that your sentence had been handed down and that it wasn't in the least a joke; to the fact that no matter how cruel the new era of your life might be, your mind must nevertheless digest and accept it. And you arrived at that with great difficulty.

And you had no permanent cellmates here as you did in the interrogation cells—which made the latter something like a family. Day and night, people were brought in and taken away singly and by tens, and as a result the prisoners kept moving ahead along the floor and along the bunks, and it was rare to lie next to any one neighbor for more than two nights. Once you met an interesting person there you had to question him immediately, because otherwise you would miss out for good and all.

And that is how I missed out on the automobile mechanic Medvedev. When I began to talk to him, I remembered that his name had been mentioned by the Emperor Mikhail. Yes, he had indeed been implicated in the same case as Mikhail, because he had been one of the first to read the "Manifesto to the Russian People"—-and had failed to write a denunciation. Medvedev had been given an unforgivably, shamefully light sentence—three years. And under Article 58, too, for which even five years was considered a juvenile sentence. They had evidently decided the Emperor was really insane, and had been easy on the rest of them because of class considerations. But I had hardly pulled myself together to ask how Medvedev regarded all this than they took him off "with his things." Certain circumstances led us to con- clude that he had been taken off to be released. And this con- firmed those first rumors of the Stalinist amnesty which reached our ears that summer, the amnesty for no one, an amnesty after which everything was just as crowded as before—even under the bunks.

They took my neighbor, an elderly Schutzbündler, off to a prisoner transport. (Here in the land of the world proletariat, all those Schutzbündlers who had been suffocating in conservative Austria had been roasted with "tenners," and on the islands of the Archipelago they met their end.) And there was a swarthy little fellow with coal-black hair and feminine-looking eyes like dark cherries, but with a broad, larger than usual nose that spoiled his whole face, turning it into a caricature. For a day he and I lay next to each other in silence, and on the second day he found occasion to ask me: "What do you think I am?" He spoke Russian correctly and fluently, but with an accent. I hesitated: there seemed to be something of Transcaucasia in him, Armenian presumably. He smiled: "I used to pass myself off very easily as a Georgian. My name was Yasha. Everyone laughed at me. I collected trade-union dues." I looked him over. His was truly a comical figure: a half-pint, his face out of proportion, asym- metrical, his smile amiable. And then suddenly he tensed up, his features sharpened, his eyes narrowed and cut me like the stroke of a black saber.

"I am an intelligence officer of the Rumanian General Staff! Lieutenant Vladimirescu!"

I started—this was real dynamite. I had met a couple of hun- dred fabricated spies, and I had never thought I might meet up with a real one. I thought they didn't exist.

According to his story, he was of an aristocratic family. From the age of three he had been destined to serve on the General Staff. At six he had entered the intelligence service school. Growing up, he had picked his own field of future activity—the Soviet Union, taking into account that here in Russia the most relentless counterintelligence service in the world existed and that it was particularly difficult to work here because everyone suspected everyone else. And, he now concluded, he had worked here not at all badly. He had spent several prewar years in Nikolayev and, it appears, had arranged for the Rumanian armies to capture a shipyard intact. Subsequently he had been at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory, and after that at the Urals Heavy Machinery Factory. In the course of collecting trade-union dues he had entered the office of the chief of a major division of the plant, had shut the door behind him, and his idiotic smile had promptly left his face, and that saber-sharp cutting expression had appeared: "Ponomaryev! [And Ponomaryev was using an altogether different name at the Urals Heavy Machinery Factory.] We have been keeping track of you from Stalingrad on. You left your job there. [He had been some kind of bigwig at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory.] And you have set yourself up here under an assumed name. You can choose—to be shot by your own people or to work with us." Ponomaryev chose to work with them, and that indeed was very much in the style of those supersuccessful pigs.

The lieutenant supervised his work until he himself was trans- ferred to the jurisdiction of the German intelligence officer resi- dent in Moscow, who sent him to Podolsk to work at his specialty. As Vladimirescu explained to me, intelligence officers and sa- boteurs are given an all-round training, but each of them has his own narrow area of specialization. And Vladimirescu's special field was cutting the main cord of a parachute on the inside. In Podolsk he was met at the parachute warehouse by the chief of the warehouse guard (who was it? what kind of person was he?), who at night let Vladimirescu into the warehouse for eight hours. Climbing up to the piles of parachutes on his ladder and manag- ing not to disturb the piles, Vladimirescu pulled out the braided main support-cord and, with special scissors, cut four-fifths of the way through it, leaving one-fifth intact, so that it would break in the air. Vladimirescu had studied many long years in preparation for this one night. And now, working feverishly, in the course of eight hours he ruined, according to his account, upwards of two thousand parachutes (fifteen seconds per parachute?). "I de- stroyed a whole Soviet parachute division!" His cherrylike eyes sparkled with malice.

When he was arrested, he refused to give any testimony for eight whole months—imprisoned in the Butyrki, he uttered not one word. "And didn't they torture you?" "No!" His lips twitched as though to indicate he didn't even consider such a thing possible in the case of a non-Soviet citizen. (Beat your own people so foreigners will be more afraid of you! But a real spy's a gold mine! After all, we may have to use him for an exchange.) The day came when they showed him the newspapers: Rumania had capitulated; come on, now, testify. He continued to keep silent: the newspapers could have been forgeries. They showed him an order of the Rumanian General Staff: under the conditions of the armistice the General Staff ordered all its intelligence agents to cease operations and surrender. He continued to keep silent. (The order could have been a forgery.) Finally he was con- fronted with his immediate superior on the General Staff, who ordered him to disclose his information and surrender. At this point Vladimirescu coldbloodedly gave his testimony, and now, in the slow passing of the cell day, it was no longer of any im- portance and he told me some of it too. They had not even tried him! They had not even given him a sentence! (After all, he wasn't one of our own! "I am a career man—and will remain one until I die. And they won't waste me.")

"But you are revealing yourself to me," I pointed out. "I might very well remember your face. Just imagine our meeting someday in public."

"If I am convinced that you haven't recognized me, you will remain alive. If you recognize me, I will kill you, or else force you to work for us."

He had not the slightest desire to spoil his relationship with his cell neighbor. He said this very simply, with total conviction. I was really convinced that he wouldn't hesitate for a moment to gun someone down or cut their throat.

In this whole long prisoners' chronicle, we will not again meet such a hero. It was the only encounter of the sort I ever had in my eleven years of prison, camp, and exile, and others didn't even have one. And our mass-circulation comics try to dupe young people into believing that these are the only people the Organs catch.

It was enough to look around that church cell to grasp that it was youth itself the Organs were catching in the first place. The war had ended, and we could allow ourselves the luxury of ar- resting everyone who had been singled out: they were no longer needed as soldiers. They said that in 1944 and 1945 a so-called "Democratic Party" had passed through the cells of the Small (Moscow Province) Lubyanka. According to rumor, it had consisted of half a hundred boys, had its own statutes and its membership cards. The eldest of them was a pupil in the tenth grade of a Moscow school, and he was its "general secretary." Students were also glimpsed fleetingly in the prisons during the last year of the war. I met some here and there. I was pre- sumably not old myself, but they at any rate were younger.

How imperceptibly all that crept up on us! While we—I, my codefendant, and others of our age—had been fighting for four years at the front, a whole new generation had grown up here in the rear. And had it been very long since we ourselves had tramped the parquet floors of the university corridors, consider- ing ourselves the youngest and most intelligent in the whole country and, for that matter, on earth? And then suddenly pale youths crossed the tile floors of the prison cells to approach us haughtily, and we learned with astonishment that we were no longer the youngest and most intelligent—they were. But I didn't take offense at this; at that point I was already happy to move over a bit to make room. I knew so very well their passion for arguing with everyone, for finding out everything, I understood their pride in having chosen a worthy lot and in not regretting it. It gave me gooseflesh to hear the rustle of the prison halos hover- ing over those self-enamored and intelligent little faces.

One month earlier, in another Butyrki cell, a semihospital cell, I had just stepped into the aisle and had still not seen any empty place for myself—when, approaching in a way that hinted at a verbal dispute, even at an entreaty to enter into one, came a pale, yellowish youth, with a Jewish tenderness of face, wrapped, despite the summer, in a threadbare soldier's overcoat shot full of holes: he was chilled. His name was Boris Gammerov. He began to question me; the conversation rolled along: on one hand, our biographies, on the other, politics. I don't remember why, but I recalled one of the prayers of the late President Roosevelt, which had been published in our newspapers, and I expressed what seemed to me a self-evident evaluation of it:

"Well, that's hypocrisy, of course."

And suddenly the young man's yellowish brows trembled, his pale lips pursed, he seemed to draw himself up, and he asked me: "Why? Why do you not admit the possibility that a political leader might sincerely believe in God?"

And that is all that was said! But what a direction the attack had come from! To hear such words from someone born in 1923? I could have replied to him very firmly, but prison had already undermined my certainty, and the principal thing was that some kind of clean, pure feeling does live within us, existing apart from all our convictions, and right then it dawned upon me that I had not spoken out of conviction but because the idea had been im- planted in me from outside. And because of this I was unable to reply to him, and I merely asked him: "Do you believe in God?"

"Of course," he answered tranquilly.

Of course? Of course . . . Yes, yes. The Komsomols were flying ahead of the flock—everywhere, but so far only the NKGB had noticed.

Notwithstanding his youth, Borya Gammerov had not only fought as a sergeant in an antitank unit with those antitank 45's the soldiers had christened "Farewell, Motherland!" He had also been wounded in the lungs and the wound had not yet healed, and because of this TB had set in. Gammerov was given a medical discharge from the army and enrolled in the biology department of Moscow University. And thus two strands intertwined in him: one from his life as a soldier and the other from the by no means foolish and by no means dead students' life at war's end. A circle formed of those who thought and reasoned about the future (even though no one had given them any instructions to do so), and the experienced eye of the Organs singled out three of them and pulled them in. (In 1937, Gammerov's father had been killed in prison or shot, and his son was hurrying along the same path. During the interrogation he had read several of his own verses to the interrogator with feeling. And I deeply regret that I have not managed to remember even one of them, and there is nowhere to seek them out today. Otherwise I would have cited them here.)

For a number of months after that my path crossed those of all three codefendants: right there in a Butyrki cell I met Vyacheslav D.—and there is always someone like him when young people are arrested: he had taken an iron stand within the group, but he quickly broke down under interrogation. He got less than any of the others—five years—and it looked as though he were secretly counting a good deal on his influential papa to get him out.

And then in the Butyrki church I encountered Georgi Ingal, the eldest of the three. Despite his youth, he was already a candi- date-member of the Union of Soviet Writers. He had a very bold pen. His style was one of strong contrasts. If he had been willing to make his peace politically, vivid and untrodden literary paths would have opened up before him. He had already nearly finished a novel about Debussy. But his early success had not emasculated him, and at the funeral of his teacher, Yuri Tynyanov, he had made a speech declaring that Tynyanov had been persecuted— and by this means had assured himself of an eight-year term.

And right then Gammerov caught up with us, and, while wait- ing to go to Krasnaya Presnya, I had to face up to their united point of view. This confrontation was not easy for me. At the time I was committed to that world outlook which is incapable of admitting any new fact or evaluating any new opinion before a label has been found for it from the already available stock: be it the "hesitant duplicity of the petty bourgoisie," or the "militant nihilism of the declasse intelligentsia." I don't recall that Ingal and Gammerov attacked Marx in my presence, but I do remember how they attacked Lev Tolstoi, and from what direction the attack was launched! Tolstoi rejected the church? But he failed to take into account its mystical and its organizing role. He rejected the teachings of the Bible? But for the most part modern science was not in conflict with the Bible, not even with its opening lines about the creation of the world. He rejected the state? But without the state there would be chaos. He preached the combining of mental and physical work in one individual's life? But that was a senseless leveling of capabilities and talents. And, finally, as we see from Stalin's violence, an historical per- sonage can be omnipotent, yet Tolstoi scoffed at the very idea.

[In my preprison and prison years I, too, had long ago come to the conclusion that Stalin had set the course of the Soviet state in a fateful direc- tion. But then Stalin died quietly—and did the ship of state change course very noticeably? The personal, individual imprint he left on events consisted of dismal stupidity, petty tyranny, self-glorification. And in all the rest he followed the beaten path exactly as it had been signposted, step by step.] The boys read me their own verses and demanded mine in exchange, and I as yet had none. They read Pasternak particu- larly, whom they praised to the skies. I had once read "My Sister Life" and hadn't liked it, considering it precious, abstruse, and very, very far from ordinary human paths. But they recited to me Lieutenant Shmidt's last speech at his trial, and it touched me deeply because it applied so to us:

For thirty years I have nurtured
My love for my native land,
And I shall neither expect
Nor miss your leniency.

Gammerov and Ingal were just as shiningly attuned as that: We do not need your leniency! We are not languishing from imprison- ment; we are proud of it. (But who is really capable of not lan- guishing? After a few months Ingal's young wife renounced and abandoned him. Gammerov, because of his revolutionary inclina- tions, did not even have a sweetheart yet.) Was it not here, in these prison cells, that the great truth dawned? The cell was con- stricted, but wasn't freedom even more constricted? Was it not our own people, tormented and deceived, that lay beside us there under the bunks and in the aisles?

Not to arise with my whole land
Would have been harder still,
And for the path that I have trod
I have no qualms at all.

The young people imprisoned in these cells under the political articles of the Code were never the average young people of the nation, but were always separated from them by a wide gap. In those years most of our young people still faced a future of "dis- integrating," of becoming disillusioned, indifferent, falling in love with an easy life—and then, perhaps, beginning all over again the bitter climb from that cozy little valley up to a new peak- possibly after another twenty years? But the young prisoners of 1945, sentenced under 58-10, had leaped that whole future chasm of indifference in one jump—and bore their heads boldly erect under the ax.

In the Butyrki church, the Moscow students, already sentenced, cut off and estranged from everything, wrote a song, and before twilight sang it in their uncertain voices:

Three times a day we go for gruel,
The evenings we pass in song,
With a contraband prison needle
We sew ourselves bags for the road.

We don't care about ourselves any more,
We signed—just to be quicker!
And when will we ever return here again
From the distant Siberian camps?


Good Lord, how could we have missed the main point of the whole thing? While we had been plowing through the mud out there on the bridgeheads, while we had been cowering in shell holes and pushing binocular periscopes above the bushes, back home a new generation had grown up and gotten moving. But hadn't it started moving in another direction? In a direction we wouldn't have been able and wouldn't have dared to move in? They weren't brought up the way we were.

Our generation would return—having turned in its weapons, jingling its heroes' medals, proudly telling its combat stories. And our younger brothers would only look at us contemptuously: Oh, you stupid dolts!

END OF PART II

Translator's Notes

These translator's notes are not intended to overlap the extensive explanatory and reference material contained in the author's own notes in the text and in the glossary which follows. They attempt to give that minimum of factual material about this book and the whole work of which it is a part which will enable the reader better to put it in perspective and understand what it is, and also to deal with several areas of special Russian terminology.

The glossary which follows these notes can be very useful. It gives in alphabetical order capsule identification of persons, institutions and their acronyms, political movements, and events mentioned in the text.

The title of the book in Russian—Arkhipelag GULag—has a resonance resulting from a rhyme which cannot be rendered in English.

The image evoked by this title is that of one far-flung "country" with millions of "natives," consisting of an archipelago of islands, some as tiny as a detention cell in a railway station and others as vast as a large Western European country, contained within another country—the U.S.S.R. This archipelago is made up of the enormous network of penal institutions and all the rest of the web of machinery for police oppression and terror imposed throughout the author's period of reference on all Soviet life. Gulag is the acronym for the Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps which supervised the larger part of this system.

The author's decision to publish this work was triggered by a tragedy of August, 1973: A Leningrad woman to whom the author had entrusted a portion of his manuscript for safekeeping broke down after 120 sleepless hours of intensive questioning by Soviet Security officers and revealed where she had hidden it—enabling them to seize it. Thereupon, in her desperation and depression, she committed suicide. It is to this event that the author refers in the statement that precedes the text: "Now that State Security has seized the book anyway, I have no alternative but to publish it immediately."

This present English-language edition of Parts I and II of The Gulag Archipelago differs very slightly, as a result of author's corrections and other corrections, from the Russian-language first edition of these parts which was published by the YMCA-Press in Paris in late December, 1973.

The Gulag Archipelago is a sweeping, panoramic work which consists in all of seven parts divided into three volumes—of which this present book, the first volume, contains two parts, representing about one-third of the whole.

One of the important aspects of Solzhenitsyn as a Russian literary figure is his contribution to the revival and expansion of the Russian literary language through introducing readers in his own country (and abroad) to the language, terminology, and slang of camps, prisons, the police, and the underworld. Millions of Soviet citizens became fully familiar with a whole new vocabulary through imprisonment. But this vocabulary did not find its way into Russian literature until Solzhenitsyn put it there—to the bewilderment of some of the uninitiated.

In this category there are terms in this book which require explanation.

Soviet Security services personnel, for example, are referred to in a variety of special epithets, some of them carrying overtones of contempt. Most of these have been manufactured from the various initials, at one time and another, of the basic Soviet secret police organization:

The oldest of these terms is, of course, "Chekist"—pronounced "Che-keest," with the accent on the last syllable—from "Cheka." Though the name "Cheka" was replaced more than half a century ago, this label for Soviet Security personnel is still used—and is much beloved by the personnel of the Organs themselves.

"Gaybíst," which is pronounced "gay-beest," with the accent on the last syllable, is derived from the letters "g" and "b" standing for State Security.

Likewise "Gaybéshnik"—pronounced "gay-besh-neek," with the accent on the second syllable.

"Emvaydéshnik"—pronounced as it is spelled here, with the accent on the third syllable—is derived similarly from the Russian pronunciation of the letters "M" "V" "D"—for Ministry of Internal Affairs.

"Gaypayóoshnik"—accent also on the third syllable—comes from "G" "P" "U" or "Gaypayóo."

"Osobíst"—pronounced "oh-so-beest," with accent on the last syllable—is an officer of the Special Branch, representing State Security, usually in a military unit—the "Osóby Otdél."

All these terms have their pungent flavor, which comes through even to the English-speaking reader—and they have therefore often been used as is in the text of this translation.

In the Gulag world there was one particular type of police official who had special significance. This was the "operupolnomóchenny"—"óper" for short. Literally rendered, this title means "operations plenipotentiary"—the operations being Security operations, often in a forced-labor camp, where he had enormous power deriving from the fact that he represented State Security in an institution under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. His nickname among the prisoners was "Kum," which can be translated approximately as "godfather" or "father confessor." He was in charge of all camp stool pigeons and he had responsibility for the political supervision of all the prisoners. Throughout this work his title has been translated as "Security operations officer" or more usually just "Security officer," or "Security chief."

The Russian thieves are not just plain ordinary thieves, but constitute a whole underworld subculture which gets much attention and is well described in this book. The Russian thieves are "vóry"—meaning thieves. They are also the "blatnýe" (plural); "blatnói" is the masculine singular form and also the adjective, describing a thing or person attached to the underworld or to the law or companionship of thieves.

The Russian thieves are also the "blatarí" and the "úrki." They are also "tsvetnýe"—in other words "colored." And a person "polutsvetnói"—"half-colored" or "mulatto"—is a non-thief who has begun to take up the ways of the thieves.

By and large, to the extent that these and other terms appear in their original form in this translation they are clearly enough explained. But wherever the word "thief" appears it means one of the "blatnýe."

The language of the Russian thieves is used in this work to refer to much more than themselves.

Thus a nonthief in thief language is a "fráyer." By virtue of being a nonthief he is also naturally "a mark," "a cull," "a pigeon," "an innocent," "a sucker." In this translation, "frayer" has been rendered throughout as "sucker."

Some other terms that relate to the world of Gulag require special explanation:

At times in the text "ugolóvniki" (which we have translated as "habitual criminals") and "bytovikí" (which we have translated as "nonpolitical offenders") have been grouped together in contrast to the political prisoners.

A "bytovík" is any prisoner who is not a political nor one of the Russian thieves—and the "bytovikí" or "nonpolitical offenders" make up the enormous main mass of the prisoners. The distinction here is just as much psychological as legal, and in English there is nothing that exactly translates this Russian term.

The "ugolóvniki" or "habitual criminals" are obviously professionals and therefore approximately the same as the thieves.

Chapter 3 in Part I is entitled in Russian "Slédstviye." The correct, legally formal rendering of this word into English would be "investigation." The official conducting the "investigation" is a "slédovatel" or, again in the formal rendering, "investigator." I have, however, chosen, deliberately and after consideration and consultation, generally to translate these Russian terms respectively as "interrogation" and "interrogator." The text of the book makes the reason amply clear. There was in the period and the cases described here no content of "investigation" in this process, nor was there anyone who could legitimately be called an "investigator." There was interrogation and there were interrogators.

In camps prisoners were divided into those who went out on general-assignment work every day—and therefore died off—and those who got "cushy" jobs within the camp compound at office work, as hospital orderlies, as cooks, bread cutters, assistants in the mess hall, etc., etc.—and thereby were in a better position to survive. These latter were contemptuously christened by the other prisoners "pridúrki"—derived from a verb meaning to shirk general-assignment work. I have here translated "pridúrki" as "trusties". As in many other cases there is no exact English equivalent, but this is certainly as close as there is.

Anyone who wishes to delve further into the lingo of Russian thieves and camps can well make use of the valuable book Soviet Prison Camp Speech, a Survivor's Glossary, compiled by Meyer Galler and Harlan E. Marquess, University of Wisconsin Press, 1972.

I wish to thank those who have given me invaluable assistance with this translation—and in the first place and in particular Frances Lindley, my experienced, able, and long-suffering editor at Harper & Row; Dick Passmore, my brilliant copy editor; Theodore Shabad, who has labored long and industriously over the glossary and details in footnotes and text; and also Nina Sobolev, for her long faithful hours of help of all kinds.

Michael Scammell, the well-known British translator and editor, was kind enough to come to New York during the final stages of the preparation of this manuscript and provide the benefit of his own considerable experience in giving the text one last thorough and most useful going over. I am deeply grateful to him.

There are several others who have done more for this project than I can possibly thank them for. But I can at least try—in the knowledge that they will know whom I mean when they read these lines.

Yet with all this, if there are faults in this translation, as no doubt there are, mine is the responsibility.

T.P.W.

Glossary

NAMES

Abakumov, Viktor Semyonovich (1894-1954). Stalin's Minister of State Security, 1946-1952. Executed in December, 1954, under Khrushchev.

Agranov, Yakov Savlovich (7-1939). Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs under Yagoda and Yezhov. Played important role in preparing show trials of 1936-1938. Shot in purges.

Aikhenvald, Yuli Isayevich (1872-1928). Critic and essayist, translated Schopenhauer into Russian. Exiled in 1922.

Akhmatova (Gorenko), Anna Andreyevna (1889-1966). Acmeist poet, wife of Nikolai Gumilyev. Denounced in 1946 as "alien to the Soviet people." Long unpublished in Soviet Union; some works published after 1956.

Aldanov (Landau), Mark Aleksandrovich (1886-1957). Writer of historical novels; emigrated 1919 to Paris, and later to New York.

Aldan-Semyonov, Andrei Ignatyevich (1908-). Soviet writer; imprisoned in Far East camps, 1938-1953. Author of memoirs.

Aleksandrov, A. I. Head of Arts Section of All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries; purged in 1935.

Alliluyevs. Family of Stalin's second wife, Nadezhda Sergeyevna.

Amfiteatrov, Aleksandr Valentinovich (1862-1938). Russian writer; emigrated 1920.

Anders, Wladyslaw (1892-1970). Polish general; formed Polish military units in Soviet Union and led them out to Iran in 1943.

Andreyev, Leonid Nikolayevich (1871-1919). Playwright and short story writer, close to Expressionism; died in Finland.

Andreyushkin, Pakhomi Ivanovich (1865-1887). Member of Narodnaya Volya terrorist group; executed after attempt to assassinate Alexander III in 1887.

Antonov-Saratovsky, Vladimir Pavlovich (1884-1965). Old Bolshevik, served as judge in Shakhty (1928) and Promparty (1930) trials.

Averbakh, I. L. Soviet jurist; associate of Vyshinsky.

Babushkin, Ivan Vasilyevich (1873-1906). Russian revolutionary.

Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich (1895-). Literary scholar, expert on Dostoyevsky. Unpublished in Soviet Union from 1930 to 1963.

Bakunin, Mikha I Aleksandrovich (1814-1876). A founder of Anarchism.

Bandera, Stepan (1909-1959). Ukrainian nationalist; led anti-Soviet forces in Ukraine after World War II until 1947; assassinated in Munich by a Soviet agent.

Bedny, Demyan (1883-1945). Soviet poet.

Belinsky, Vissarion Grigoryevich (1811-1848). Literary critic and ardent liberal, champion of socially-conscious literature.

Benois, Aleksandr Nikolayevich (1870-1960). Scenic designer; emigrated 1926 to Paris.

Berdyayev, Nikolai Aleksandrovich (1874-1948). Philosopher, religious thinker; opposed atheism and materialism. Expelled in 1922; lived in Paris after 1924.

Beria, Lavrenti Pavlovich (1899-1953). Georgian Bolshevik, became close Stalin associate in 1938, in charge of secret police and national security. Executed after Stalin's death.

Biron or Biren. Russian name of Count Ernst Johann Bühren (1690—1772). A favorite of Empress Anna Ivanovna, under whom he instituted a tyrannical rule. Blok, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (1880-1921). Symbolist poet.

Blücher, Marshal Vasily Konstantinovich (1890-1938). Commander of Far East Military District, 1929-1938; shot in purge.

Blyumkin, Yakov Grigoryevich (1898-1929). A Left Socialist Revolutionary; assassinated German Ambassador Mirbach in Moscow in 1918; later joined Cheka; executed after he took message from Trotsky to Radek.

Boky, Gleb Ivanovich (1879-1941). Secret police official; member of Supreme Court after 1927; arrested in 1937.

Bonch-Bruyevich, Vladimir Dmitriyevich (1873-1955). Bolshevik revolutionary; administrative officer of Council of People's Commissars, 1917-1920.

Bondarin, Sergei Aleksandrovich (1903-). Children's writer.

Budenny, Marshal Semyon Mikhailovich (1883-1973). Civil War hero; commander of Bolshevik cavalry; commander Southwest Front in early phase of World War II.

Bukharin, Nikolai Ivanovich (1888-1938). Prominent Party official and economic theorist; member of Politburo after 1924 and general secretary of Comintern after 1926; expelled from Party in 1929; executed after 1938 show trial.

Bulgakov, Mikhail Afanasyevich (1891-1940). Satirist, some of whose work has been published in English.

Bulgakov, Sergei Nikolayevich (1871-1944). Religious philosopher; exiled in 1922, lived in Paris.

Bunin, Ivan Alekseyevich (1870-1953). Writer; emigrated 1920 to France; won Nobel Prize in 1933.

Bunyachenko, Sergei K. (7-1946). Commander of 1st Division of Vlasov's forces in World War II; executed in Soviet Union in 1946.

Charnovsky, N. F. (1868-?). Soviet economic official; among defendants in 1930 Promparty trial.

Chekhovsky, Vladimir Moiseyevich (1877-?). Ukrainian nationalist.

Chernov, Viktor Mikhailovich (1873-1952). Socialist Revolutionary Party leader; emigrated in 1920.

Chubar, Vlas Yakovlevich (1891-1939). High Soviet Ukrainian official; shot in purges.

Chukovskaya, Lidiya Korneyevna (1907-). Soviet literary critic and writer (samizdat).

Dal (Dahl), Vladimir Ivanovich (1801-1872). Lexicographer.

Dan (Gurvich), Fyodor Ilyich (1871-1947). Menshevik leader, physician; exiled in 1922.

Denikin, Anton Ivanovich (1872-1947). Tsarist military leader; commanded anti-Bolshevik (White) forces in south, 1918-1920; emigrated.

Derzhavm, Gavriil Romanovich (1743-1816). Poet and statesman under Catherine II.

Dimitrov, Georgi Mikhailovich (1882-1949). Bulgarian Communist leader; chief defendant in 1933 Reichstag trial in Leipzig.

Dolgun, Alexander M. (Alexander D.) (1926-). American-born former employee of United States Embassy in Moscow; spent eight years (1948-1956) in Soviet prisons and labor camps; allowed to leave Soviet Union in 1971.

Donskoi, D. D. (1881-1936). Right Socialist Revolutionary.

Doyarenko, Aleksei G. Soviet agronomist; a defendant in Working Peasants Party case of 1931.

Dukhonin, Nikolai Nikolayevich (1876-1917). Commander in Chief of Tsarist Army; slain by soldiers.

Dyakov, Boris Aleksandrovich (1902-). Author of labor-camp mem- oirs.

Dzerzhinsky, Feliks Edmundovich (1877-1926). First chief of the secret police (Cheka-GPU-OGPU); succeeded by Menzhinsky.

Ehrenburg, Ilya Grigoryevich (1891-1967). Soviet writer and journal- ist; spent many years in Paris; author of memoirs of Stalin era.

Etinger, Y. G. (7-1952). Soviet physician, arrested in 1952 in so- called "doctors' case." Died under interrogation.

Fedotov, A. A. (1864-?). A Soviet official; defendant in Shakhty trial.

Figner, Vera Nik^Jayevna (1852-1942). A leader of Narodnaya Volya group, took part in successful conspiracy to assassinate Alexander II in 1881.

Filonenko, Maksimilian Maksimilianovich. Right Socialist Revolu- tionary; led anti-Bolshevik forces in Archangel in 1918.

Frank, Semyon Lyudvigovich (1877-1950). Religious philosopher, pupil of Solovyev; exiled in 1922.

Fyodor Ivanovich (1557-1598). Halfwit son of Ivan the Terrible, whom he succeeded in 1584. His regent was Boris Godunov, who reigned as Tsar, 1598-1605.

Gaaz, Fyodor Petrovich (Haas, Friedrich-Joseph) (1780-1853). Ger- man-born physician of Moscow prison hospital; sought penal re- forms.

Gamarnik, Yan Borisovich (1894-1937). Soviet military leader who committed suicide during purge.

Garin, N. (Mikhailovsky, Nikolai Georgiyevicn) (1852-1906). Popular turn-of-the-century novelist, author of a juvenile classic.

Gernet, Mikhail Nikolayevich (1874-?). Writer on the death pen- alty.

Ginzburg, Yevgeniya Semyonovna (1911-). Author of labor-camp memoirs, Journey into the Whirlwind.

Gippius, Zinaida Nikolayevna (1869-1945). Writer, wife of Merezh- kovsky; emigrated in 1920.

Golikov, Marshal Filipp Ivanovich (1900-). Soviet military leader; supervised repatriation of Red Army prisoners from Germany.

Golyakov, Ivan Terentyevich. Presiding judge of Supreme Court under Stalin.

Gorky, Maxim (Peshkov, Aleksei Maksimovich) (1868-1936). Writer; disagreed with Lenin and lived abroad (1921-1928); returned to Russia in 1931; died under mysterious circumstances.

Gots, Abram Rafailovich (1882-1940). A Right Socialist Revolu- tionary leader; a defendant in 1922 trial.

Govorov, Marshal Leonid Aleksandrovich (1897-1955). Soviet mil- itary leader.

Griboyedov, Aleksandr Sergeyevich (1795-1829). Playwright and diplomat.

Grigorenko, Pyotr Grigoryevich (1907-). Former Red Army general, became a dissident in 1961; in mental asylums since 1969.

Grigoryev, losif Fyodorovich (1890-1949). Prominent Soviet geol- ogist.

Grin (Grinovsky), Aleksandr Stepanovich (1880-1932). Writer of romantic, fantastic adventure stories.

Grinevitsky, Ignati loakhimovich (1856-1881). Revolutionary, mem- ber of Narodnaya Volya group. Threw bomb that killed Alexander II March 13, 1881; was himself mortally wounded.

Groman, Vladimir Gustavovich (1873-?). High Soviet economic of- ficial; a defendant in 1931 trial of Mensheviks.

Gromyko, Andrei Andreyevich (1909-). Soviet diplomat; former ambassador to United States and delegate to United Nations; For- eign Minister since 1957.

Gul (Goul), Roman Borisovich (1896-). Emigre writer of historical works; editor of Novy Zhurnal, a magazine published in New York.

Gumilyev, Nikolai Stepanovich (1886-1921). Acmeist poet, first hus- band of Akhmatova; accused in anti-Soviet plot and executed.

Herzen, Aleksandr Ivanovich (1812-1870). Radical theorist.

Ilin, Ivan Aleksandrovich (1882-1954). Mystic philosopher, exiled in 1922.

Ivan Kalita (?-1340). Founder of Grand Duchy of Muscovy.

Ivanov-Razumnik (Ivanov, Razumnik Vasilyevich) (1876-1946). Left Socialist Revolutionary; served in Tsarist prison (1901) and in Soviet labor camps; went to Germany in 1941.

Izgoyev (Lande), Aleksandr Solomonovich (1872-C.1938). A Right Cadet writer; expelled from Soviet Union in 1922.

Izmailov, Nikolai Vasilyevich (1893-). Soviet literary scholar, editor of Pushkin's works.

Kaganovich, Lazar Moiseyevich (1893-). Close associate of Stalin, in charge of railroads. Ousted from leadership in 1957.

Kalinin, Mikhail Ivanovich (1875-1946). Nominal President of Soviet Union (1919-1946), first as Chairman of All-Russian Central Executive Committee until 1922, then as Chairman of Central Executive Committee of U.S.S.R., and after 1938 as Chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet.

Kamenev (Rosenfeld), Lev Borisovich (1883-1936). Prominent Bol- shevik leader, expelled from Party in 1927, readmitted and re- expelled; executed after 1936 show trial.

Kaplan, Fanya (Dora) (1888-1918). A Left Socialist Revolutionary; executed after unsuccessful attempt on Lenin's life in 1918.

Karakozov, Dmitri Vladimirovich (1840-1866). Revolutionary; exe- cuted after unsuccessful attempt on life of Alexander II in 1866.

Karsavin, Lev Platonovich (1882-1952). Mystic philosopher; medieval- ist; exiled 1922; arrested in Lithuania 1941; died hi Vorkuta camp.

Kasso, Lev Aristidovich (1865-1914). Reactionary Minister of Educa- tion under Nicholas II.

Katanyan, Ruben Pavlovich (1881-1966). Soviet state prosecuting official in 1920's and 1930's; arrested 1938.

Kazakov, Ignati Nikolayevich (1891-1938). Physician accused of having murdered Soviet officials through use of "lysates" (anti- bodies); shot after 1938 show trial.

Kerensky, Aleksandr Fyodorovich (1881-1970). A Socialist Revolu- tionary leader; headed Provisional Government, July to November, 1917; fled to France; died in New York.

Khrustalev-Nosar, Georgi Stepanovich (1877-1918). Elected Chair- man of St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies in 1905; opposed Bolsheviks in Ukraine in 1918; shot by Bolsheviks.

Kirov (Kostrikov), Sergei Mironovich (1886-1934). Close Stalin as- sociate; his murder in Leningrad, reputedly inspired by Stalin, set off wave of mass reprisals.

Kishkin, Nikolai Mikhailovich (1864-1930). A leader of Constitu- tional Democratic Party; a defendant in 1921 trial of famine-relief aides.

Kizevetter (Kiesewetter), Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (1866-1933). Cadet leader and historian; expelled in 1922; lived in Prague.

Klyuchevsky, Vasily Osipovich (1841-1911). Prominent historian.

Klyuyev, Nikolai Alekseyevich (1887-1937). Peasant poet; glorified ancient Russian values, opposing Western cultural influences; exiled to Siberia in early 1930's.

Kolchak, Aleksandr Vasilyevich (1873-1920). Tsarist admiral; led anti-Bolshevik forces in Siberia, 1918-1920; executed.

Koltsov, Nikolai Konstantinovich (1872-1940). Prominent biologist; founded experimental school in Russian biology.

Kondratyev, Nikolai Dmitriyevich (1892-?). Agricultural economist; figure in Working Peasants Party case in 1931.

Kornilov, Lavr Georgiyevich (1870-1918). Commander in Chief of Russian forces under Provisional Government; led revolt against Kerensky in August, 1917; fought Bolsheviks in Don area; killed in battle.

Korolenko, Vladimir Galaktionovich (1853-1921). Peasant demo- cratic writer; persecuted under Tsars; viewed as bourgeois by Bol- sheviks.

Kosarev, Aleksandr Vasilyevich (1903-1939). Leader of the Komso- mol, 1929-1938.

Kosior, Stanislav Vikentyevich (1889-1939). Ukrainian Bolshevik leader; shot in purges.

Kozyrev, Nikolai Aleksandrovich (1908-). Astronomer; in prison, 1937-1948.

Krasikov, Pyotr Ananyevich (1870-1939). Old Bolshevik; prosecuting and justice official in 1920's and 1930's.

Krasnov (Levitin), Anatoly Emanuilovich (1915-). Religious writer; imprisoned under Stalin; in dissident movement after 1960.

Krasnov, Pyotr Nikolayevich (1869-1947). Don Cossack leader; emi- grated in 1919; led pro-German Russian units in World War II; handed over by Allies after war and executed in Soviet Union.

Krestinsky, Nikolai Nikolayevich (1883-1938). Bolshevik Party of- ficial and diplomat; shot after 1938 show trial.

Kruglov, Sergei Nikiforovich (1903-). Minister of Interior, 1946- 1956.

Krylenko, Nikolai Vasilyevich (1885-1938). Chief state prosecutor, 1918-1931; later People's Commissar of Justice; shot in 1938.

Krylov, Ivan Andreyevich (1769-1844). Noted fabulist.

Kuibyshev, Valerian Vladimirovich (1888-1935). Prominent eco- nomic planning official; died under mysterious circumstances.

Kupriyanov, G. N. Karelian Party official; arrested in 1949.

Kursky, Dmitri Ivanovich (1874-1932). People's Commissar of Justice, 1918-1928; envoy to Italy, 1928-1932.

Kuskova, Yekaterina Dmitriyevna (1869-1958). Cadet, later SR; figure in Famine Relief case 1921; exiled in 1922.

Kuznetsov, Aleksei Aleksandrovich (1905-1950). Lieutenant general, one of the organizers of the defense of Leningrad, Secretary of the Central Committee, convicted in connection with the Leningrad Affair.

Kuznetsov, Col. Gen. Vasily Ivanovich (1894-1964). Soviet military leader in World War II.

Lapshin, Ivan Ivanovich (1870-1948). Philosopher; exiled in 1922 to Prague, where he died.

Larichev, Viktor A. (1887-?). Chairman, Main Fuels Committee; figure in Promparty trial in 1930.

Larin, Y. (Lurye, Mikhail Aleksandrovich) (1882-1932). Agricultural economist; former Menshevik; helped found Soviet planning system.

Latsis (Lacis), Martyn Ivanovich (Sudrabs, Yan Fridrikhovich) (1888- 1941). Early Cheka official, 1917-1921; director, Plekhanov Eco- nomics Institute, 1932-1937; arrested 1937.

Lelyushenko, Dmitri Danilovich (1901-). Soviet World War II leader.

Lermontov, Mikhail Yuryevich (1814-1841). Romantic poet.

Levina, Revekka Saulovna (1899-1964). Soviet economist.

Levitan, Yuri Borisovich (1914-). Soviet radio announcer noted for his sonorous voice, which became familiar through announcement of major Soviet successes in World War II and other news events.

Levitin. See Krasnov, A. E. Likhachev, Nikolai Petrovich (1862-1935). Historian, specialist on ikon painting.

Lomonosov, Mikhail Vasilyevich (1711-1765). Universal scholar; in Russian spiritual history, prototype of scientific genius arising from the people.

Lordkipanidze, G. S. (1881-1937). Georgian writer; died in purge.

Loris-Melikov, Mikhail Tarpelovich (1825-1888). Powerful Tsarist Interior Minister, 1880-1881; initiator of unimplemented reforms.

Lorkh, Aleksandr Georgiyevich (1889-). Prominent potato breeder.

Lossky, Nikolai Onufriyevich (1870-1965). Philosopher; exiled in 1922.

Lozovsky, A. (Dridzo, Solomon Abramovich) (1878-1952). Revolu- tionary; chief of Trade Union International, 1921-1937; Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and head of Sovinformburo in World War II; shot in anti-Jewish purge.

Lunacharsky, Anatoly Vasilyevich (1875-1932). Marxist cultural theorist; People's Commissar for Education, 1917-1929.

Lunin, Mikhail Sergeyevich (1787-1845). One of the Decembrists; wrote philosophical and political tracts in Siberian exile.

Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich (1898-). Agricultural biologist; virtual dictator of Soviet science after 1940 under Stalin, and of biology in the Khrushchev era until 1964.

Maisky, Ivan Mikhailovich (1884-). Historian and diplomat; former Menshevik; envoy to Britain, 1932-1943; Deputy Foreign Commis- sar, 1943-1946.

Makarenko, Anton Semyonovich (1888-1939). Educator; organized rehabilitation colonies for juvenile delinquents.

Malinovsky, Roman Vatslavovich (1876-1918). Tsarist police in- former planted among Bolsheviks; emigrated in 1914; returned to Russia voluntarily in 1918, when he was tried and executed.

Mandelstam, Osip Emilyevich (1891-1938). Acmeist poet; died in transit camp.

Mariya, Mother. See Skobtsova.

Markos, Gen. Vafiades (1906-). Greek leftist rebel leader, 1947- 1948.

Martov (Tsederbaum), Yuli Osipovich (1873-1923). A Menshevik leader; exiled by Lenin in 1921.

Mayakovsky, Vladimir Vladimirovich (1893-1930). Futurist poet; suicide.

Meek, Nikolai Karlovich von (1863-1929). Tsarist railroad industrial- ist; worked for Bolsheviks after 1917; accused of counterrevolu- tionary activities and shot.

Melgunov, Sergei Petrovich (1879-1956). Historian and Popular Socialist leader; exiled in 1923; lived in Paris.

Menshikov, Aleksandr Danilovich (1673-1729). Military leader and statesman; favorite of Peter the Great and Catherine I.

Menzhinsky, Vyacheslav Rudolfovich (1874-1934). Secret police of- ficial; headed OGPU, 1926-1934.

Meretskov, Marshal Kirill Afanasyevich (1897-1968). World War II leader.

Merezhkovsky, Dmitri Sergeyevich (1865-1941). Philosopher and novelist; founder of Symbolist movement; emigrated 1919 to Paris.

Mikhailov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich (1906-). Chief of Komsomol, 1938-1952; later envoy to Poland and Indonesia, Minister of Cul- ture, chairman of State Publishing Committee; retired 1970.

Mikolajczyk, Stanislaw (1901-1966). Polish Peasant Party leader; in Polish government in exile during World War II; in Polish postwar government, 1945-1947.

Mikoyan, Anastas Ivanovich (1895-). Close associate of Stalin; in charge of consumer-goods area; foreign policy adviser to Khru- shchev; retired 1966.

Milyukov, Pavel Nikolayevich (1859-1943). Leader of Constitutional Democratic Party and historian; emigrated in 1920; died in U.S.A.

Mirovich, Vasily Yakovlevich (1740-1764). Attempted palace coup under Catherine II in favor of pretender Ivan IV Antonovich.

Molotov (Skryabin), Vyacheslav Mikhailovich (1890-). Close associ- ate of Stalin; served as Premier and Foreign Minister; ousted by Khrushchev after so-called 1957 anti-Party coup; retired.

Monomakh. See Vladimir II.

Myakotin, Venedikt Aleksandrovich (1867-1937). Historian and a founder of Popular Socialist Party; exiled in 1922.

Nabokov (Sirin), Vladimir (1899-). Russian-American writer; son of F. D. Nabokov, a Cadet leader, who emigrated in 1919.

Narokov (Marchenko), Nikolai Vladimirovich (1887-1969). Emigre writer; left Soviet Union in World War II; lived in Monterey, Calif.

Natanson, Mark Andreyevich (1850-1919). Populist, later a Socialist Revolutionary; sided with Bolsheviks during World War I; died in Switzerland.

Nekrasov, Nikolai Alekseyevich (1821-1878). Civic poet.

Novikov, Nikolai Ivanovich (1744-1818). Writer and social critic; incarcerated in Schlüsselburg Fortress under Catherine II. Novorussky, Mikhail Vasilyevich (1861-1925). Revolutionary, con- victed with Aleksandr Ulyanov after abortive attempt to assassinate Alexander III in 1887; death sentence commuted to imprisonment in Schlüsselburg.

Obolensky, Yevgeny Petrovich (1796-1865). One of the Decembrists; death sentence commuted to 20 years' Siberian exile.

Olitskaya, Yekaterina Lvovna (1898-). Soviet dissident writer whose prison-camp memoirs circulated in samizdat and were published in 1971 by Possev, Russian-language publishing house of Frankfurt, West Germany.

Olminsky (Aleksandrov), Mikhail Stepanovich (1863-1933). Early professional revolutionary, journalist.

Ordzhonikidze, Grigory (Sergo) Konstantinovich (1886-1937). Close associate of Stalin, charged with heavy industry; a suicide during purges.

Osorgin (Ilin), Mikhail Andreyevich (1878-1942). Writer; exiled in 1922.

Palchinsky, Pyotr Akimovich (1878-1929). Economist and mining engineer; chief defendant in Shakhty trial of 1928; shot.

Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich (1890-1960). Poet and novelist; 1958 Nobel laureate.

Perkhurov, Aleksandr Petrovich (1876-1922). Anti-Bolshevik mili- tary commander; shot in Yaroslavl in 1922. Peshekhonov, Aleksei Vasilyevich (1867-1933). Writer; exiled in 1922.

Peshkova-Vinaver, Yekaterina Pavlovna (1876-1965). First wife of Maxim Gorky; headed Political Red Cross.

Pestel, Pavel Ivanovich (1793-1826). One of the Decembrists, leader of radical wing; hanged.

Peters, Yakov Khristoforovich (1886-1942). Latvian revolutionary; high secret police official in 1920's; liquidated.

Petlyura, Simon Vasilyevich (1879-1926). Ukrainian nationalist leader; headed anti-Bolshevik forces in Ukraine, 1918-1919; assas- sinated in Paris exile.

Pilnyak (Vogau), Boris Andreyevich (1894-1937). Soviet writer; ac- cused of distorting revolutionary events; died in prison.

Platonov, Sergei Fyodorovich (1860-1933). Historian; in official dis- favor in early 1930's.

Plekhanov, Georgi Valentinovich (1856-1918). Marxist philosopher and historian, became a Menshevik leader; opposed Bolsheviks' 1917 coup.

Pletnev, Dmitri Dmitriyevich (1872-1953). Physician; sentenced to 25 years after 1938 show trial.

Pobedonostsev, Konstantin Petrovich (1827-1907). Lawyer and poli- tician; Procurator of the Holy Synod; his reactionary Russian na- tionalist views were influential under Alexander III and in the early reign of Nicholas II.

Postyshev, Pavel Petrovich (1887-1940). Ukrainian Bolshevik leader; arrested in 1938; died in prison.

Potemkin, Grigory Aleksandrovich (1739-1791). Military leader and favorite of Catherine the Great.

Prokopovich, Sergei Nikolayevich (1871-1955). Economist and a Cadet leader; figure in 1921 Famine Relief Commission trial; ex- pelled 1922.

Ptukhin, Lieut. Gen. Yevgeny Savvich (1900-1941). Soviet Air Force commander; executed after German attack against Soviet Union.

Pugachev, Yemelyan Ivanovich (1742-1775). Leader of a major peasant revolt against Catherine II; executed.

Radek, Karl Berngardovich (1885-1939). Comintern official, later journalist; shot after 1937 show trial.

Radishchev, Aleksandr Nikolayevich (1749-1802). Writer and social critic; exiled to Siberia by Catherine II.

Rakovsky, Khristian Georgiyevich (1873-1941). Bolshevik official who served as Ukrainian Premier, 1919-1923, and diplomat, 1923- 1927; imprisoned after 1938 show trial; daughter Yelena arrested 1948.

Ramzin, Leonid Konstantinovich (1887-1948). Heat engineer; princi- pal defendant in 1930 Promparty trial; death sentence commuted to 10 years; professionally active again during World War II.

Ransome, Arthur (1884-1967). British journalist; wrote on Bolshevik Revolution.

Raskolnikov (Ilin), Fyodor Fyodorovich (1892-1939). Bolshevik diplomat; defected in France; died under mysterious circumstances.

Rasputin, Grigory Yefimovich (1872-1916). Adventurer with strong influence over family of Nicholas II; killed by courtiers.

Razin, Stepan Timofeyevich (Stenka) (1630?-1671). Leader of a Cossack and peasant rebellion in the middle and lower Volga ter- ritories, he was defeated and executed; legendary figure in Russian national poetry.

Reilly, Sidney George (1874-1925). British intelligence officer; killed while crossing Soviet-Finnish border.

Repin, Ilya Yefimovich (1844-1930). Prominent painter; one of his works depicts the Volga boatmen.

Rokossovsky, Marshal Konstantin Konstantinovich (1896-1968). Soviet World War II leader; Defense Minister in Poland, 1949- 1956.

Romanov, Panteleimon Sergeyevkh (1884-1938). Soviet satirist.

Rudzutak, Yan Ernestovich (1887-1938). Associate of Stalin; arrested 1937; died in prison.

Ryabushinsky, Pavel Pavlovich (1871-1924). Russian industrialist and anti-Bolshevik leader; mentioned in 1930 Promparty trial.

Rykov, Aleksei Ivanovich (1881-1938). Close associate of Stalin; Premier of Sovie^Union, 1924-1930; shot after 1938 show trial.

Ryleyev, Kondrati Fyodorovich (1795-1826). A Decembrist; hanged.

Rysakov, Nikolai Ivanovich (1861-1881). A revolutionary of Narod- naya Volya group; executed after assassination of Alexander II in 1881.

Ryumin, M. D. (7-1953). Secret police official who engineered the "doctors' case"; executed 1953.

Ryurik. Legendary Varangian prince who came to Novgorod in mid- ninth century and founded first Russian dynasty.

Sakharov, Col. Igor K. Emigre who commanded pro-German Russian military unit in World War II.

Saltychikha (Saltykova, Darya Nikolayevna) (1730-1801). Woman landowner in Moscow Province; noted for cruel treatment of serfs.

Samsonov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich (1859-1914). Tsarist general; sui- cide after his forces were defeated in East Prussia in World War I.

Savinkov, Boris Viktorovich (1879-1925). A Socialist Revolutionary leader; arrested after he re-entered Russia illegally in 1924.

Sawa (1327-1406). Russian Orthodox saint; pupil of Sergius of Radonezh.

Sedin, Ivan K. People's Commissar for Petroleum in World War II.

Selivanov, Dmitri Fyodorovich (1885-?). Mathematician; emigrated 1922.

Serebryakova, Galina losifovna (1905-). Writer; author of camp memoirs.

Sergius of Radonezh (1321-1391). Russian Orthodox saint; founded monasteries, including Trinity-St. Sergius at Zagorsk, near his home town, Radonezh.

Serov, Ivan Aleksandrovich (1905-). Secret police official; chairman of KGB, 1954-1958.

Shalamov, Varlam Tikhonovich (1907-). Writer; spent 17 years in Kolyma camps; author of Kolyma Stories (Paris, 1969).

Shchastny, Captain Aleksei Mikhailovich (7-1918). Commander of Red Baltic Fleet; executed.

Shcherbakov, Alekandr Sergeyevich (1901-1945). Close associate of Stalin; Moscow city secretary, 1938-1945; Chief of Red Army's Political Department, 1942-1945.

Sheinin, Lev Romanovich (1906-1967). Soviet prosecuting and in- vestigatory official; wrote spy stories after 1950.

Sheshkovsky, Stepan Ivanovich (1727-1793). Judicial investigator under Catherine II; known for harsh interrogatory techniques.

Shmidt, Pyoto Petrovich (1867-1906). Lieutenant in Black Sea Fleet; executed after Sevastopol revolt.

Sholokhov, Mikhail Aleksandrovich (1905-). Soviet writer; 1965 Nobel laureate.

Shulgin, Vasily Vitalyevich (1878-1965). Monarchist; emigrated after 1917 Revolution; caught by Red Army in Yugoslavia at end of World War II; served 10 years in labor camp.

Shvernik, Nikolai Mikhailovich (1888-1970). Associate of Stalin; trade-union chief, 1930-1944 and 1953-1956; President of Soviet Union, 1946-1953.

Sikorski, Wladyslaw (1881-1943). Military leader of Polish exiles.

Skobtsova, Yelizaveta Yuryevna (1892-1945). Acmeist poet; emi- grated to Paris, where she became a nun (Mother Mariya); died in Nazi camp.

Skrypnik, Nikolai Alekseyevich (1872-1933). Ukrainian People's Commissar for Justice (1922-1927) and Education (1927-1933); suicide.

Skuratov, Malyuta (Belsky, Grigory Lukyanovich) (?-1572). Trusted aide of Ivan the Terrible; personifies Ivan's cruelties; headed Oprichnina, a policelike organization.

Smirnov, Ivan Nikitovich (1881-1936). Soviet People's Commissar for Communications, 1923-1927; expelled from Party; shot after 1936 trial.

Smushkevich, Yakov Yladimirovich (1902-1941). Soviet Air Force commander; executed after German invasion.

Sokolnikov, Grigory Yakovlevich (1888-1939). Soviet People's Com- missar of Finance, 1922-1926; envoy to Britain, 1929-1934; sen- tenced to 10 years after 1937 show trial; died in prison.

Solovyev, Vladimir Sergeyevich (1853-1900). Religious philosopher; sought synthesis of Russian Orthodox faith and Western scientific thought and Roman Catholicism.

Stalin, Iosif Vissarionovich (1879-1953). Soviet political leader; named General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. After Lenin's death in 1924, he gradually eliminated political rivals in series of purges culminating in great trials of 1936—1938. His original family name was Dzhugashvili; revolutionary party name was Koba.

Stanislavsky, Konstantin Sergeyevich (1863-1938). Stage director; co- founder of the Moscow Art Theater in 1898; known in the West for the "Stanislavsky method" of acting technique.

Stepun, Fyodor Augustovich (1884-1965). Philosopher; expelled in 1922.

Stolypin, Pyotr Arkadyevich (1862-1911). Tsarist statesman; served as Minister of Interior after 1906; known for agrarian reform re- settling poor peasants in Siberia; slain by an SR.

Sudrabs. See Latsis.

Sukhanov (Gimmer), Nikolai Nikolayevich (1882-1940). Menshevik historian; meeting at his apartment in Petrograd in October, 1917, the Bolsheviks decided to launch an armed uprising; figure in 1931 Menshevik trial; released after hunger strike; rearrested in purges of late 1930's; author of detailed account of the Bolshevik Revolu- tion.

Surikov, Vasily Ivanovich (1848-1916). Historical painter of the realist school.

Suvorov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich (1729-1800). Military leader; led Italian and Swiss campaigns against Napoleon.

Svechin, Aleksandr Andreyevich (1878-1935). Military historian; shot.

Sverdlov, Yakov Mikhailovich (1885-1919). First Soviet President.

Tagantsev, Nikolai Stepanovich (1843-1923). Writer on criminal law.

Tarle, Yevgeny Viktorovich (1875-1955). Soviet historian; was briefly in official disfavor in early 1930's.

Tikhon, Patriarch (1865-1925). Head of Russian Orthodox Church after 1917; detained 1922-1923 on oppositionist charges.

Timofeyev-Ressovsky, Nikolai Vladimirovich (1900-). Soviet radio- biologist; worked in Germany, 1924-1945; spent 10 years in Stalin camps after return to Soviet Union.

Tolstoi, Aleksei Nikolayevich (1883-1945). Soviet writer; was mem- ber of 1937 Supreme Soviet (national legislature).

Tolstoi, Alexandra Lvovna (1884-). Youngest daughter of Lev Tol- stoi; author of a biography of her father; lives in the U.S., where she founded the Tolstoi Foundation for aid to refugees.

Tomsky, Mikhail Pavlovich (1880-1936). First Soviet chief of trade unions, until 1929; suicide in Stalin purges.

Trotsky (Bronshtein), Lev (Leon) Davidovich (1879-1940). Associate of Lenin; first Soviet Defense Commissar, until 1925; expelled from Party in 1927; deported to Turkey in 1929; slain in Mexico City by a Soviet agent.

Trubetskoi, Sergei Petrovich (1790-1860). One of the Decembrists; death sentence commuted to exile; amnestied in 1856.

Tsvetayeva, Marina Ivanovna (1892-1941). Poet; lived abroad 1922 to 1939; a suicide two years after return to Soviet Union.

Tukhachevsky, Mikhail Nikolayevich (1893-1937). Soviet military leader; shot in 1937 on trumped-up treason charges.

Tur Brothers. Pen names of two playwrights and authors of spy stories: Leonid Davydovich Tubelsky (1905-1961) and Pyotr Lvovich Ryzhei (1908-).

Tynyanov, Yuri Nikolayevich (1895-1943). Soviet writer and literary scholar.

Ulrikh, Vasily Vasilyevich (1889-1951). Supreme Court justice; pre- sided over major trials of 1920's and 1930's.

Ulyanov, Aleksandr Ilyich (1866-1887). Lenin's older brother; exe- cuted after unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Alexander III in 1887.

Ulyanova (Yelizarova-Ulyanova), Anna Ilyinichna (1874-1935). Lenin's sister; journalist and editor.

Uritsky, Moisei Solomonovich (1873-1918). Revolutionary; chairman of the Petrograd Cheka; his assassination by an SR set off Red Terror.

Utyosov, Leonid Osipovich (1895-). Soviet orchestra leader and variety-stage star.

Valentinov (Volsky), Nikolai Vladislavovich (1879-1964). Journalist and philosopher; former Bolshevik turned Menshevik; emigrated 1930.

Vasilyev-Yuzhin, Mikhail Ivanovich (1876-1937). Revolutionary; secret police and justice official.

Vavilov, Nikolai Ivanovich (1887-1943). Prominent plant geneticist; Director of Institute of Applied Botany (1924-1940) and Institute of Genetics (1930-1940); arrested 1940; died in imprisonment.

Vereshchagin, Vasily Vasilyevich (1842-1904). Painter noted for battle scenes.

Vladimir II Monomakh. Ruler of Kievan Russia, 1113-1125.

Vladimirov (Sheinfinkel), Miron Konstantinovich (1879-1925). Early Soviet official in agriculture, finance and economic management.

Vlasov, Lieut. Gen. Andrei Andreyevich (1900-1946). Red Army officer; captured by Germans in 1942; led Russian forces against Soviet Union; handed over by Allies after war and executed.

Voikov, Pyotr Lazarevich (1888-1927). Bolshevik revolutionary; Soviet representative in Warsaw, 1924-1927; assassinated by an emigre.

Voloshin, Maksimilian Aleksandrovich (1878-1932). Symbolist poet and watercolorist.

Voroshilov, Kliment Yefremovich (1881-1969). Close associate of Stalin; long Defense Commissar; Soviet President, 1953-1960.

Vysheslavtsev, Boris Petrovich (1877-1954). Philosopher; exiled in 1922.

Vyshinsky, Andrei Yanuaryevich (1883-1954). Lawyer and diplomat; former Menshevik turned Bolshevik; chief state prosecutor in show trials, 1936-1938; Deputy Foreign Commissar and Minister, 1939- 1949 and 1953-1954; Foreign Minister, 1949-1953.

Wrangel, Pyotr Nikolayevich (1878-1928). Tsarist military com- mander; led anti-Bolshevik forces in South in 1920 after Denikin.

Yagoda, Genrikh Grigoryevich (1891-1938). Secret police official; People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, 1934-1936; shot after 1938 show trial.

Yakubovich, Pyotr Filippovich (1860-1911). Poet; translated Baude- laire; wrote memoirs about his Tsarist exile.

Yaroshenko, Nikolai Aleksandrovich (1846-1898). Painter.

Yenukidze, Avel Safronovich (1877-1937). Bolshevik official; Secre- tary of Central Executive Committee, 1918-1935; shot in purges.

Yennilov, Vladimir Yladimirovich (1904-1965). Soviet literary critic.

Yesenin, Sergei Aleksandrovich (1895-1925). Imagist poet; suicide.

Yezhov, Nikolai Ivanovich (1895-1939). Secret police official; People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, 1936-1938.

Yudenich, Nikolai Nikolayevich (1862-1933). Tsarist military com- mander; led anti-Bolshevik forces in Estonia, 1918-1920.

Zalygin, Sergei Pavlovich (1913-). Soviet writer.

Zamyatin, Yevgeny Ivanovich (1884-1937). Writer; returned 1917 from abroad, but opposed Bolsheviks; emigrated in 1932; his novel We, published in London in 1924, influenced Huxley, Orwell.

Zasulich, Vera Ivanovna (1849-1919). Revolutionary; acquitted after attempt to assassinate Mayor of St. Petersburg; emigrated 1880; returned 1905; became Menshevik.

Zavalishin, Dmitri Irinarkhovich (1804-1892). One of the Decem- brists; sentenced to 20 years' Siberian exile; worked as journalist after 1863.

Zhdanov, Andrei Aleksandrovich (1896-1948). Close associate of Stalin; shaped cultural policy after World War II.

Zhebrak, Anton Romanovich (1901-1965). Soviet geneticist.

Zhelyabov, Andrei Ivanovich (1851-1881). Revolutionary; executed after his assassination of Alexander II in 1881.

Zhukov, Marshal Georgi Konstantinovkh (1896-). World War II leader.

Zinoviev (Apfelbaum), Grigory Yevseyevich (1883-1936). Associate of Lenin; expelled from Party in 1927; shot after 1936 show trial.

INSTITUTIONS AND TERMS

All-Russian Central Executive Committee. See VTsIK.

April Theses. A programmatic statement issued by Lenin in April, 1917, calling for end of war with Germany and transfer of power to the Soviets.

Basmachi. Name given to anti-Bolshevik forces in Central Asia after 1917 Revolution.

Black Hundreds. Armed reactionary groups in Tsarist Russia; active from about 1905 to 1917 in pogroms of Jews and political assassinations of liberal personalities.

Butyrki. A major Moscow prison, named for a district of Moscow; often known also as Butyrka.

Cadet. See Constitutional Democratic Party.

Chechen. Ethnic group of Northern Caucasus; exiled by Stalin in 1944 on charges of collaboration with German forces.

Cheka. Original name of the Soviet secret police, 1917-1922; succeeded by GPU.

Chinese Eastern Railroad. A Manchurian rail system built (1897-1903) as part of original Trans-Siberian Railroad. Jointly operated by Chinese and Soviet authorities until 1935 (when it was sold to Japanese-dominated Manchukuo government) and again in 1945-1950. Russian acronym: KVZhD.

Codes. The 1926 Criminal Code and the 1923 Code of Criminal Procedure were repealed in 1958 with the adoption of new Fundamental Principles of Criminal Legislation and Criminal Procedure; in 1960 these were embodied in a new Criminal Code and a new Code of Criminal Procedure.

Collegium. Governing board of Soviet government departments and other institutions.

Comintern. Acronym for Communist International, the world organization of Communist parties that existed from 1919 to 1943.

Committee of the Poor, also known by the Russian acronym Kombed. A Bolshevik-dominated organization of poor peasants (1918).

Constituent Assembly. A multiparty legislative body with large anti-Bolshevik majority, elected in November, 1917, after the Bolshevik Revolution. It met in January, 1918, but was broken up when it refused to adopt Bolshevik proposals.

Constitutional Democratic Party. Founded in 1905 under the Tsars, advocating a constitutional monarchy; played a conservative role after overthrow of Tsar; members were known as Cadets, from a Russian acronym for the party.

Council of People's Commissars. Name given the Soviet cabinet (government) before 1946, when it became the Council of Ministers; also known by Russian acronym Sovnarkom.

Crimean Tatars. Exiled by Stalin to Central Asia in 1944 on charges of collaboration with Germans.

Dashnak. Anti-Bolshevik group in Armenia after 1917 Revolution.

Decembrists. Russian officers and intellectuals who took part in un-successful liberal uprising against Nicholas I in December, 1825.

Doctors' case. The arrest of leading Kremlin physicians, most of them Jews, in 1952 on trumped-up charges of plotting against the lives of Soviet leaders. At least one, Y. G. Etinger, is believed to have died under interrogation; the others were released after Stalin's death in 1953.

Famine Relief, State Commission for. A Soviet governmental body, set up in 1921-1922; also known by the Russian acronym Pomgol.

GPU. Designation for Soviet secret police in 1922; acronym for Russian words meaning State Political Administration; continued to be used popularly after 1922, when the official designation became OGPU, acronym for United State Political Administration.

Gulag. The Soviet penal system under Stalin; a Russian acronym for Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps.

Hehalutz. Zionist movement that prepared young Jews for settling in Holy Land; it founded most of the kibbutzim.

Hiwi. German designation for Russian volunteers in German armed forces during World War II; acronym for Hilfswillige.

Industrial Academy. A Moscow school that served as training ground of industrial managers in late 1920's and early 1930's.

Industrial Party. See Promparty.

Informburo. See Sovinformburo.

Ingush. Ethnic group of Northern Caucasus; exiled by Stalin in 1944 on charges of collaboration with Germans.

Isolator. (1) Type of political prison established in early stage of Soviet regime for fractious Bolsheviks and other political foes. (2) In a labor camp, the designation for a building with punishment cells.

Kalmyks. Ethnic group of Northern Caucasus; exiled by Stalin in 1943 on charges of collaboration with German forces.

KGB. Acronym for Soviet secret police after 1953; stands for State Security Committee.

Khalkhin-Gol. River on border between China and Mongolia. Scene of Soviet-Japanese military clashes in 1939.

Khasan. Lake on Soviet-Chinese border, near Sea of Japan. Scene of Soviet-Japanese military clash in 1938.

Kolyma. Region of northeast Siberia; center of labor camps under Stalin.

Komsomol. Russian acronym for Young Communist League.

KVZhD. See Chinese Eastern Railroad.

Labor day. Accounting unit on collective farms.

Lubyanka. Popular designation for secret police headquarters and prison in central Moscow, named for adjacent street and square (now Dzerzhinsky Street and Square); housed Rossiya Insurance Company before the 1917 Revolution.

Makhorka. A coarse tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) grown mainly in the Ukraine.

Mensheviks. Democratic faction of Marxist socialists; split in 1903 from Bolshevik majority; repressed after 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

MGB. Initials for Soviet secret police, 1946-1953; acronym for Ministry of State Security; succeeded by KGB.

MVD. Russian acronym for Ministry of Interior; performed secret police function briefly in 1953.

Narodnaya Volya (literal translation: People's Will). Secret terrorist society dedicated to overthrowing Tsarism; existed from 1879 until disbanded in 1881 after assassination of Alexander II.

Narodnik (Populist). Member of populist revolutionary movement under the Tsars.

NEP. Acronym for New Economic Policy, a period of limited private enterprise, 1921-1928.

Nine grams. A bullet.

NKGB. Designation of Soviet secret police, 1943-1946; acronym for People's Commissariat of State Security.

NKVD. Designation of Soviet secret police, 1934-1943; acronym for People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs.

OGPU. Designation of Soviet secret police, 1922-1934; acronym for United State Political Administration.

Okhrana. Name of Tsarist secret police from 1881 to 1917; Russian word means "protection," replacing the full designation Department for the Protection of Public Security and Order.

OSO. See Special Board.

People's Commissariat. Name of Soviet government departments from 1917 to 1946, when they were renamed "Ministry."

Petrograd. Official name of Leningrad, 1914—1924.

Polizei. German word for "police"; designation of Russians who served as police under German occupation in World War II.

Pomgol. See Famine Relief.

Popular Socialist Party. Founded in 1906, it favored general demo- cratic reforms, opposed terrorism.

Promparty. Mixed Russian-English acronym for Industrial Party (in Russian, Promyshlennaya Partiya). Nonexistent underground to which the organization of industrial managers tried in 1930 allegedly belonged.

Provisional Government. Coalition government of Russia after over- throw of Tsarism, March to November, 1917; first under Prince Georgi Lvov, later under Kerensky; overthrown by Bolsheviks.

Revolutionary Tribunal (Revtribunal). Special Soviet courts (1917- 1922), which tried counterrevolutionary cases.

Russkaya Pravda. Political program of the Decembrists; drafted by Pestel; the Russian words mean "Russian truth."

Sapropelite Committee. A scientific study group that sought to use bituminous lake-bottom ooze, or sapropel, as a fuel around 1920.

Schlüsselburg. Fortress on Lake Ladoga, at outlet of Neva River; used as political prison under Tsars; now called Petrokrepost.

Schutzbund. Armed contingents of Austrian Social Democrats; members sought refuge in Soviet Union in 1934 after defeat in civil war.

Sharashka. Russian prison slang for a special research center in which the research scientists, specialists, and technicians are all prisoners under prison discipline.

Short Course. Familiar title of the standard Stalinist version of the history of the Soviet Communist Party; used as the official text from 1938 until after Stalin's death in 1953.

SMERSH. Acronym for Soviet counterintelligence during World War II; stands for "death to spies."

Smolny. Former girls' school; Communist Party headquarters in Leningrad.

Socialist Revolutionary Party. Created in 1890's out of several populist groups; split at first congress held in Finland in December, 1905, into right wing, opposed to terrorism, and left wing, favoring terrorism; SR's played key role in Provisional Government; left wing cooperated briefly with Bolsheviks after Revolution.

Solovetsky Islands (colloquially known as Solovki). Island group in White Sea, with monasteries; used as place of exile for rebellious priests in Middle Ages; early forced-labor camp (SLON) after 1917 Revolution.

Sovinformburo. Soviet information agency in World War II.

Sovnarkom. See Council of People's Commissars.

Special Board (Russian acronym: OSO). Three-man boards of People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs, with powers to sentence "socially dangerous" persons without trial; abolished in 1953.

SR. See Socialist Revolutionary Party.

Stolypin car. A railroad car used to transport prisoners, named for P. A. Stolypin; also known in prison slang as vagonzak, for vagon zaklyuchennykh (prisoner car).

Supreme Council of the Economy. Highest industrial management agency in early years of Soviet regime; established in 1917; abolished 1932, when it was divided into industrial ministries.

Supreme Soviet. The national legislature of the Soviet Union, with counterparts in its constituent republics; meets usually twice a year to approve decisions taken by the Soviet leadership. Its lawmaking function is performed between sessions by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet; nominally the highest state body in the Soviet Union.

Time of Troubles. A period of hardship and confusion during the Polish and Swedish invasions of Russia in the early seventeenth century.

Union Bureau. See Mensheviks.

UPK. Code of Criminal Procedure. See Codes.

Verkhtrib. Russian acronym for Supreme Tribunal (1918-1922), which tried the most important cases in the early Soviet period.

Vikzhel. Railroad workers union, opposed Bolsheviks after 1917 Revolution; acronym stands for All-Russian Executive Committee of Railroad Workers Union.

VSNKh. See Supreme Council of the Economy.

VTsIK. Acronym for All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the highest state body of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, the largest Soviet state, from 1917 to 1937, when it was succeeded by the Presidium of the Republic's Supreme Soviet. The national equivalent of VTsIK was TsIK, the Central Executive Committee of the U.S.S.R. (1922-1938), which became the Presidium of the national Supreme Soviet.

Workers Opposition. Bolshevik faction that sought greater trade-union control of industry and greater democracy within Party; its activities were condemned at Tenth Party Congress in 1921, and some leaders were later expelled from Party and arrested.

Zek. Prison slang for prisoner, derived from zaklyuchenny, Russian word for "prisoner."

Zemstvo. Local government unit in prerevolutionary Russia.

 

 

 

 

 

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