Who did two or three million men in.
Thats a lot to have done in
But where he did one in
That old bastard Stalin did ten in.
• Robert Conquest[->0]
According to the historian Robert Conquest, Joseph Stalin gives the impression of a large and crude claylike figure, a golem, into which a demonic spark has been instilled. He was nonetheless a man who perhaps more than any other determined the course of the twentieth century.
Any adult inhabitant of this country, from a collective farmer up to a member of the Politburo, always knew that it would take only one careless word or gesture and he would fly off irrevocably into the abyss. (The Gulag Archipelago, vol. 2, p
Fear by night, and a feverish effort by day to pretend enthusiasm for a system of lies, was the permanent condition. (Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment,
According to some reports, entire groups of men were taken in one swoop by the NKVD. Almost all the male inhabitants of the little Greek community where I lived [in the lower Ukraine] had been arrested, recalled one migr. Another reported that the NKVD took all males between the ages of seventeen and seventy from his village of German-Russians. ¦ In some stories, the police clearly knew they were arresting innocent people.
For example, an order reportedly arrived in Tashkent to Send 200 [prisoners]! The local NKVD was at its wits end about who else to arrest, having exhausted all the obvious possibilities, until it learned that a band of gypsies (Romany) had just camped in town. Police surrounded them and charged every male from seventeen to sixty with sabotage. In the city of Zherinka, Ivan Ivanovich ¦ had his wife sew rubles [Soviet currency] into his coat because the NKVD was taking all the men in his town. (Thurston, Life and Terror in Stalins Russia, 1934-1941