“The Wreckors” (The Therapy continued..)

“A new taste had been acquired and a new appetite began to
grow. The time had long since arrived to crush the technical intel-
ligentsia, which had come to regard itself as too irreplaceable and
had not gotten used to catching instructions on the wing.

In other words, we never did trust the engineers — and from
the very first years of the Revolution we saw to it that those
lackeys and servants of former capitalist bosses were kept in line
by healthy suspicion and surveillance by the workers. However,
during the reconstruction period, we did permit them to work in
our industries, while the whole force of the class assault was
directed against the rest of the intelligentsia. But the more our own
economic leadership matured — in VSNKh (the Supreme Council
of the Economy) and Gosplan (the State Planning Commission)
— the more the number of plans increased, and the more those
plans overlapped and conflicted with one another, the clearer
became the old engineers’ basic commitment to wrecking, their
insincerity, slyness, venality. The Sentinel of the Revolution nar-
rowed its eyes with even greater vigilance — and wherever it di-
rected its narrowed gaze it immediately discovered a nest of

This therapy continued full speed from 1927 on, and immedi-
ately exposed to the proletariat all the causes of our economic
failures and shortages. There was wrecking in the People’s Com-
missariat of Railroads — that was why it was hard to get aboard a
train, why there were interruptions in supplies. There was wreck-
ing in the Moscow Electric Power System — and interruptions in
power. There was wrecking in the oil industry — hence the short-
age of kerosene. There was wrecking in textiles — hence nothing
for a workingman to wear. In the coal industry there was colossal
wrecking — hence no heat! In the metallurgy, defense, machinery,
shipbuilding, chemical, mining, gold and platinum industries, in
irrigation, everywhere there were these pus-filled boils of wreck-
ing! Enemies with slide rules were on all sides. The GPU puffed
and panted in its efforts to grab off and drag off the “wreckers.”
In the capitals and in the provinces, GPU collegiums and prole-
tarian courts kept hard at work, sifting through this viscous
sewage, and every day the workers gasped to learn (and some-
times they didn’t learn) from the papers of new vile deeds. They
learned about Palchinsky, von Meek, and Velichko, 20 and how
many others who were nameless. Every industry, every factory,
and every handicraft artel had to find wreckers in its ranks, and
no sooner had they begun to look than they found them (with the
help of the GPU). If any prerevolutionary engineer was not yet
exposed as a traitor, then he could certainly be suspected of being

And what accomplished villains these old engineers were! What
diabolical ways to sabotage they found! Nikolai Karlovich von
Meek, of the People’s Commissariat of Railroads, pretended to
be terribly devoted to the development of the new economy, and
would hold forth for hours on end about the economic problems
involved in the construction of socialism, and he loved to give
advice. One such pernicious piece of advice was to increase the
size of freight trains and not worry about heavier than average
loads. The GPU exposed von Meek, and he was shot: his ob-
jective had been to wear out rails and roadbeds, freight cars and
locomotives, so as to leave the Republic without railroads in case
of foreign military intervention! When, not long afterward, the
new People’s Commissar of Railroads, Comrade Kaganovich,
ordered that average loads should be increased, and even doubled
and tripled them (and for this discovery received the Order of
Lenin along with others of our leaders) — the malicious engineers
who protested became known as limiters. They raised the
outcry that this was too much, and would result in the breakdown
of the rolling stock, and they were rightly shot for their lack of
faith in the possibilities of socialist transport. “

“The GULAG Archipelago, Volume 1: An Experiment in Literary Investigation” by Aleksandr L Solzhenitsyn

Comrade, a nest of villainous wreckers! Don’t be fooled by the disguising red carapaces!

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