What Was It Like To Be Arrested By Soviet Secret Police?

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was sent to the Gulag and survived to tell his experiences there. Millions of other prisoners weren’t so lucky. The Gulag refers to the Soviet forced labor camp system from 1918 to 1956, starting shortly after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. One of Stalin’s worst gulags was known as “Cannibal Island”. For […]

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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was sent to the Gulag and survived to tell his experiences there. Millions of other prisoners weren’t so lucky. The Gulag refers to the Soviet forced labor camp system from 1918 to 1956, starting shortly after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. One of Stalin’s worst gulags was known as “Cannibal Island”.

For sources, we have Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s, “The Gulag Archipelago”. In his homeland talking about the Gulag was a taboo subject, one the KGB restricted. Though Solzhenitsyn was released from exile through Nikita Khrushchev’s reforms, the later works he authored got him in trouble once again. As a result, he lost his Soviet citizenship in 1974.

Prisoners in a remote island prison in Russia.

“You don’t need anything. They’ll feed you there. It’s warm there.” (It’s all lies. They keep hurrying you to frighten you.)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

This is an overview of what it was like to be arrested by Soviet secret police:

  • The psychological effects of being arrested by the secret police were devastating, so much so that the intellectual and the layman both can only sputter out, “Me?”.
  • It is a hurried and rushed occasion, with your belongings thrown around and delicate possessions stomped on by jackboots. (This is how Solzhenitsyn puts it.)
  • It can be described as “man-stealing”. This is how pastor Richard Wurmbrand terms it after he experienced it himself. He was then imprisoned and tortured for years.

Arrested By Soviet Secret Police

While the Soviet secret police likely preferred to make their arrests under the cloak of night, an arrest could be a public setting during the day. This was the case for pastor Richard Wurmbrand in Romania. On February 29, 1948, he was taken from the street into a van and transported to a jail cell, booked under a fake name.

I had often wondered what was meant by “man-stealing,” which is mentioned several times in the Bible. Communism has taught us.

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured For Christ

Being arrested not only affected you, but in addition your neighbors. Sol writes that for his neighbors they were forced to serve as witnesses on the side of the police and not the victim despite their being guilty or not.

that’s what the regulations call for, and so he has to sit there all night long and sign in the morning. For the witness jerked from his bed, it is torture too-to go out night after night to help arrest his own neighbors and acquaintances.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

The police destroyed everything at the victim’s apartment in a last minute search for evidence. Whether they found any or not, the sentence was still the same, the victim was going away. In this search, nothing was sacred and off limits to a search.

Solzhenitsyn writes, “And nothing is sacred in a search! During the arrest of..Inoshin, a tiny coffin stood in his room…his newly dead child. The “jurists” dumped the child’s body out of the coffin and searched it.”

Source 1

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