Thursday, April 21, 2005

An hour or so ago, RTR was showing a documentary about Stalin's purges - and part of it was about the epidemic of donosy, when way too many people were telling on their co-workers, friends and family members, often anonymously... Osip Mandelshtam's widow, Nadezhda Mandelshtam, once said that the verb 'to write' had acquired a totally new meaning in the Soviet Union - 'to write' now meant to report on someone to the KGB...

One woman in Kyiv, Nikolayenko, a total nut, killed nearly 8,000 people by submitting slanderous reports on them.

Eight thousand people.

Here's what Stalin said about Nikolayenko and others like her - the "little people" - on March 5, 1937, exactly 16 years before his own death:

The other example. I have in mind the case of Comrade Nikolayenko. Who is Nikolayenko? Nikolayenko is a rank-and-file member of the Party. She is an ordinary "little person." For a whole year she had been giving signals that all was not well in the Party organization in Kiev; she exposed the family spirit, the philistine petty-bourgeois approach to workers, the suppression of self-criticism, the prevalence of Trotskyite wreckers. But she was constantly brushed aside as if she were a pestiferous fly. Finally, in order to get rid of her they expelled her from the Party. Neither the Kiev organization nor the Central Committee of the C.P. of the Ukraine helped her to bring the truth to light. The intervention of the Central Committee of the Party alone helped to unravel the knot. And what transpired after the case was investigated? It transpired that Nikolayenko was right and the Kiev organization was wrong. Neither more nor less. And yet, who is Nikolayenko? Of course, she is not a member of the Central Committee, she is not a People's Commissar, she is not the secretary of the Kiev Regional Organization, she is not even the secretary of a Party cell, she is only a simple rank-and-file member of the Party.

As you see, simple people sometimes prove to be much nearer to the truth than some high institutions.

I could quote scores and hundreds of similar examples. Thus you see that our experience alone, the experience of the leaders, is far from enough for the leadership of our cause. In order to lead properly the experience of the leaders must be supplemented by the experience of the Party membership, the experience of the working class, the experience of the toilers, the experience of the so-called "little people."

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