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stay in prison for Chourik (551 rubles) + fifteen hours of work for the commissar (255 rubles), including lost wages for Chourik due to temporary lay-off (675 rubles)—this episode cost the Soviet state a total of 1,538 rubles. At that time a lightbulb cost 78 rubles, but was impossible to find in the state’s stores—the only existing legal retail stores.

98 Ukázka elektronické knihy, UID: KOS259266

THE SUPERIORITY OF LENINISM OVER TSARISM During the First World War, a young Austrian lieutenant, Emerich Poglitsch, had been taken prisoner by the army of the tsar. By 1947, he had become a councilman in Vienna—occupied at that time by the Russians—and once again found himself in a  Russian prison. It would be difficult to suspect Emerich of sympathies towards Marxism-Leninism. He was integrity personified. Yet, he had to admit that there was one point on which the Soviet camps could be said to have improved upon those of the old tsarist regime, and that was that you were no longer devoured by lice.

99 Ukázka elektronické knihy, UID: KOS259266

MAN IS NOT EQUAL TO A HORSE You could see several dozen piles of tree trunks along the quay. About seventy yards from it there was a set of railroad tracks. In front of each pile was a team of zeks just shuffling around. They had to push the trunks one at a time over to the rail spur so that they could be quickly loaded onto the flatcars when the train arrived. To make things easier, they had laid out the trunks end to end in two lines like rails so that they could slide along. Weight varied according to the length, from four to eight meters, and their diameter, from twenty-five to forty centimeters and according to the species, either pine or locust, the heaviest of all the trees in Siberia. Usually there were four of us to roll the tree trunks along. The work was extremely strenuous, we were always bent over for ten hours straight. Our fellow inmates to the right of us are rolling the trunks without a hitch, it seems. They are all veterans of the Gulag, peasants. On my left, the work is going along even better. Fritz-the-Gypsy (where on Earth did he get that name?) works alone with the draft horse that the camp administration gave him. He ties the horse to the stump of the trunk (much heavier than the top) and pushes the other end either with his left arm or his foot, holding the reins with the whip in his right hand. We are all in deep admiration of his skill and the endless stream of curses that he throws at his unperturbed draft horse. Compared to him we are all useless! We, that is to say: Epifanov, a professor of Marxism-Leninism who taught at the Academy of Mines in Moscow until 1937, the year of the Great Purge; Ivanov, a colonel in the Red Army, who was chief of the general staff; Professor Kozyrev—the director of research at the Leningrad Observatory, and your servant, a former secret agent for the Comintern… After ten hours of work, as we were waiting for the escort to take us back to the camp, Professor Kozyrev turns to me and says, “What 100 Ukázka elektronické knihy, UID: KOS259266

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Fragments of Lives (Ukázka, strana 99)  

Fragments of Lives (Ukázka, strana 99)  

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