Effekten af terroren på livet i Sovjetunionen
[En sovjetborger beskriver, hvordan det er at leve med terroren i Sovjetunionen]
The impact of the terror on everyday lives
As regards the Stalinist terror, we always knew that it might wax or wane, but that it might end – this we could never imagine. What reason was there for it to end? Everybody seemed intent on his daily round and went smilingly about the business of carrying out his instructions. It was essential to smile – if you didn’t, it meant you were afraid or discontented. This nobody could afford to admit – if you were afraid, then you must have a bad conscience. Everybody who worked for the state – and in this country even the humblest stall-keeper is a bureaucrat – had to strut around wearing a cheerful expression, as though to say: “what’s going on is no concern of mine, I have very important work to do, and I’m terrible busy. I am trying to do my best for the State, so do not get in my way. My conscience is clear – if what’s-his-name has been arrested, there must be good reason.” The mask was taken off only at home, and then not always – even from your children you had to conceal how horror-struck you were; otherwise, God save you, they might let something slip in school… Some people had adapted to the terror so well that they knew how to profit from it – there was nothing out of the ordinary about denouncing a neighbour to get his apartment or his job. But while wearing your smiling mask, it was impotent not to laugh – this could look suspicious to the neighbours and make them think you were indulging in sacrilegious mockery.
Kilde: McCauley, Martin: Stalin and Stalinism, Essex 1983, side 94.