The tortures included laying a man naked on a freezing cement floor, forcing his legs apart, and then an interrogator stepping on his testicles, applying increasing pressure until the confession surfaced. Imagine the consequences of no surfacing confession. Indeed, many people refused to confess to a crime they did not commit.
Daughters and sons were raped in front of their fathers and mothers — for the sake of extracting “confessions.”
These are just some of the delicacies that the Stalinist machinery inflicted on its citizenry in the hope of bringing socialism into earthly incarnation. Alexander Solzhenitsyn has shared much of this horror with us in his Gulag Archipelago — a work, mystifyingly enough, that I had never heard mentioned, except with a few exceptions, by one professor in a lecture or seminar in my entire eleven years studying Cold War history in academia. It was a work that I never saw, again with a few exceptions, on any academic syllabus — and many of my courses concerned Soviet history and American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union.
Both of my grandfathers were exterminated by Stalinist terror. Both of my parents, Yuri and Marina Glazov, were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. They risked their lives for freedom; they stood up against Soviet totalitarianism. They barely escaped the gulag, a fortune many of our friends and relatives did not share. I come from a system where a myriad of the closest people to my family simply disappeared, where relatives and family friends died under interrogation and torture for their beliefs — or for simply nothing at all.
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