Into The Soft Abyss

The Camp Of The Saints

In Volume II of The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn describes one element of what daily life was like in the Soviet Union that caught my attention in my recent re-readings of some of his works.

In a chapter entitled Our Muzzled Freedom, he writes of the Constant Fear under which the people of the USSR lived:

…Just as there is no minute when people are not dying or being born, so there was one minute when people were not being arrested. Sometimes this came close to a person, sometimes it was further off; sometimes a person deceived himself into thinking that nothing threatened him, and sometimes he himself became an executioner, and thus the threat to him diminished. But 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…

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