A story about actual former Kolyma inmates discussing the "Gulag Archipelago" by a Nobel laureate A.I. Solzhenin


This happened in 1978 or 1979 in the sanatorium-mud bath "Talaya", located about 150 km from Magadan. I arrived there from the Chukchi town of Pevek, where I worked and lived since 1960. The patients got acquainted and converged for to pass time in the dining room. Each of us had assigned ourselves a place at the table. Four days before the end of my treatment a "newbie" appeared at our table. His name was Mikhail Romanov. He had started this discussion. But first, a brief about the participants.

The elder was called Semyon Nikiforovich - he was called so by everyone, and I do not remember his surname. He was the same age as October (Revolution of 1917 - editor), so he was already retired. But he continued to work as a night mechanic in a large auto-house. He was brought to Kolyma in 1939, released in 1948.

Ivan Nazarov, born in 1922, was the next in age. He was brought to Kolyma in 1947, and was released in 1954. He worked setting machine for a sawmill.

The third one was Misha Romanov, my coequal, born in 1927. He was brought to Kolyma in 1948, released in 1956. He worked as a bulldozer driver in road management.

The fourth was me, who got into these parts voluntarily, by recruitment. Since I lived 20 years among the former inmates, they considered me a full participant in the discussion.

Who was interred for what, I do not know. It was not customary to talk about that. But it was clear that all three were not blatars, nor recidivists. According to the camp hierarchy, these were "muzhiks." Each of them destined to once "get a term" and, after serving it, voluntarily settle down on the Kolyma. None of them had higher education, but they were all rather well-read, especially Romanov: he always had a newspaper, a magazine or a book in his hands. In general, these were ordinary Soviet citizens and did not use camp words and expressions in civil company.

On the eve of my departure, during dinner, Romanov told the following: "I have just come from a vacation that I spent in Moscow with relatives. My nephew Kolya, a student at the Pedagogical Institute, gave me to read the underground edition of Solzhenitsyn's book 'The Gulag Archipelago'. I read it and, returning the book, told Kolya that there were a lot of fables and lies. Kolya thought about it, and then asked if I would agree to discuss this book with the ex-zeks (ex-inmates). With those who were in the camps around that same time as Solzhenitsyn. "Why do you need it?" I asked. Kolya replied he to got to arguing almost to a fight at his party, over this book. And if he presents the judgment of experienced people to the comrades, it will help them come to a common opinion. The book was another's, so Kolya wrote everything they thought controversial to the notebook. "Then Romanov showed the notebook and asked: would his new acquaintances agree to grant the request of his beloved nephew?" Everybody agreed.

Victims Of Camps

After supper we gathered at Romanov's.

- I'll start, - he said, - from two events that journalists call "fried facts." Although the first event would be more correct to be called a frozen fact. These are the events: "It is said that in December 1928 on Krasnaya Gorka (Karelia) prisoners were sentenced to punishment (they did not complete the lesson). They were to stay in the forest overnight, and 150 people were frozen to death. This is a usual Solovki method, we do not doubt they were punished by staying in the forest overnight. It is harder to believe another story that on the Kem-Ukhtinsky tract near the town of Kut in February 1929, a company of prisoners, about 100 people, was driven to a bonfire for non-fulfillment of the norm, and they were burnt. "

As soon as Romanov was silent, Semyon Nikiforovich exclaimed:

- Parasha! .. No, no! .. It is clearly a whistle! - and looked inquiringly at Nazarov. He nodded.

- Aha! Camp folklore in its pure form.

(In Kolyma camp jargon, "parasha", a toilet,  means unreliable rumor, and "whistling" is a deliberate lie). All were silent... Romanov looked around at everyone and said:

- Guys, that's no doubt what it is. But, Semyon Nikiforovich, someone who hadn't even had a sniff of camp life, could always ask why is it a whistle? If it could not be in the Solovetsky camps? How would you answer him?

Semyon Nikiforovich thought for a while and replied:

- It's not that nature, is only around Solovetsky camp or Kolyma. And the fact that not only wild animals afraid the fire, but also a  man. After all, how many cases were there when trapped in a burning building people jumped out of the upper floors of the house to their death, to avoid being burned down alive. And then I have to believe that a few lousy guards (escorts) managed to drive a hundred zeks into the fire?! Yes, the most sniffed (long-imprisoned) goner of a zek, will prefer to be shot, but will not jump into the fire. Yes what to say! If the guards, with their five-shot rifles (because there were no sub-machine guns or machine guns commonly available to guards back then), started game with zeks and try to force them to jump into the fire, the guards themselves would be in the fire as a results. In short, this "fried fact" is a foolish invention of Solzhenitsyn. Now about the "frozen fact". Here it is not clear what "left in the forest" means? What, the guards went to spend the night in the barracks? ...If so this is a dream come true for any zek! Especially the thieves - they would immediately be in the nearest village. And so they would "freeze", as in escape, but that it will be a catastrophe to the inhabitants of the village. Well, if the guards stayed, then, of course, they would have to spread bonfires for their own heating ... And then such an image is imagined in the mind's eye: several bonfires burn in the forest, forming a large circle. At each circle one and a half hundred huge men with axes and saws in their hands calmly and silently freeze. They freeze to death! .. Misha! A question; how long can this fiction last?

- I see, - said Romanov. - Only a bookworm, who has never seen not just zek-woodcutters, but also ordinary wood can believe in such a fiction. We agree that both "fried facts", in fact, - the bullshit of a blue mare.

Everyone nodded their heads.

- I, - Nazarov began, - have already doubted Solzhenitsyn's honesty. After all, as a former prisoner, he cannot fail to understand that the essence of these tales does not fit in any way with the order of life of the Gulag. Having ten years of experience in camp life, he, of course, knows that those condemned to death are not being taken to the camps. A death sentence is executed in the prisons. He, of course, knows that any camp is not only a place where the convicts count out the days until the deadline when they are scheduled to be released, but is also an economic unit with its work plan. So a camp is primarily a production facility, where the convicts are workers, and the bosses are managers of production. And if the production plan is failing somewhere, the camp authorities can sometimes extend the working day of the convicts. Such a violation of the GULAG regime often happened. But to destroy their employees by the company's worth - this is nonsense. For such actions the very bosses would certainly be severely punished, even up to their execution.

After all, in Stalin's times discipline was asked not only from ordinary citizens, from the bosses the demand was even stricter. And if, knowing all this, Solzhenitsyn inserts stories into his book, then it is clear that this book was not written in order to tell the truth about the life of the Gulag. And for what - I still do not understand. So let's continue.

A camp is primarily a production facility, where the convicts are workers, and the bosses are managers of production... to destroy their employees by the company's worth - this is nonsense. For such actions the very bosses would certainly be severely punished, even up to their execution.

- Let's continue, - said Romanov. - Here is another horror story: "In the fall of 1941 Pecherlag camp (railway) had a payroll of 50 thousand, in the spring - 10 thousand. During this time, not a single convoy with prisoners was sent - where did the 40 thousand go?". This is such a terrible mystery, - Romanov finished. Everyone thought...

- I do not understand humor, - Semyon Nikiforovich broke the silence. - Why should the reader have to think of such a riddle? He would have to ask himself what went wrong ...

Semyon looked inquiringly at Romanov.

- Here, apparently, there is a literary reception, in which the reader is kind of told: the case is so simple that any idiot  will figure out himself what's what. The author says, comments are not necessary...

- Stop! Got it, - exclaimed Semyon Nikiforovich. - There a subtle hint of dubious circumstances. Say, once the camp is building the railway, then 40 thousand zeks in one winter lost their lives on the construction of the railway track. So the bones of 40 thousand zeks rest under the sleepers of the constructed railroad. Is that what I must understand, and believe it?

- It seems so, - answered Romanov.

- Wow! How much does it take per day? 40 thousand for 6-7 months - it means more than 6 thousand per month, and that means more than 200 souls, two companies, Per day ... Ah, you Alexander Isaevich! Ah, you son of a bitch! Yes, he has surpassed the lies of  Hitler... ugh ... Goebbels! Do you remember? Goebbels in 1943 declared to the whole world that in 1941 the Bolsheviks shot 10 thousand captured Poles, who, in fact, they killed themselves. But everything is clear with the fascists. Trying to save their skins, they lied trying to spark a quarrel between the Soviet Union with its allies. And what is Solzhenitsyn trying for? After all, two hundred perished souls per day, that is the record ...

- Wait! - interrupted him Romanov. The records are yet to come. You better tell me why you do not believe, what proof do you have?

- Well, I do not have direct proofs. But there are serious considerations. Firstly, there was a high mortality rate in the camps only from malnutrition. But not so big! Here is a talk about the winter of 1941. And I can personally testify: in the first military winter, the camps still had adequate food. Secondly, Pecherlag camp, of course, built a railway to Vorkuta - there is nowhere else to build to. During the war, this was a task of special importance, on account of the coal at Vorkuta. So the pressure to deliver on the camp authorities was very strict. And in such cases, the authorities tried to procure additional food for their inmates. And there it certainly was. So to speak of hunger at this construction site is certainly lying. And the last. The mortality in 200 souls per day cannot be hidden by secrecy. If not by our press, the foreign press would report about it. And about such events all prisoners in all camps would quickly get know. This I also testify. But I never heard anything about the high mortality in Pecherlag camp. That's all I wanted to say.

The mortality in 200 souls per day cannot be hidden by secrecy. If not by our press, the foreign press would report about it. And about such events all prisoners in all camps would quickly get know. This I also testify. But I never heard anything about the high mortality in Pecherlag camp.

Romanov looked inquiringly at Nazarov.

- I think I know the answer, - he said, - I got to the Kolyma camp from Vorkutlag (Vorkuta), where I stayed for 2 years. So, now I remembered: many old-timers said that they came to Vorkutlag after the construction of the railway was over, and that before  they were counted for the Pecherlag. Therefore they weren't convoyed anywhere. That's all.

- It's logical, - said Romanov. - First they built the railroad from with their end (at Percherlag). And then most of the workforce was thrown at the construction of mines (in Vorkutlag). After all, a mine is not just a hole in the ground, and it is necessary to build a lot of things on the surface so that the coal comes back up. And the country needed that coal very-very much. After all, Hitler had taken the Donbass, by then. In general, Solzhenitsyn here is clearly a sham, fabricating a horror story. Well, okay, let's continue.

Victims of Cities

- Here's another puzzle:

It is believed that a quarter of Leningrad was imprisoned in 1934-1935. This estimate should be refuted by the one who owns the exact figure and will give it. You have the floor, Semyon Nikiforovich.

- Well, here it is said that this was about those who were taken on the "Kirov case". They really were much more than could be to blame for Kirov's death. It's because the Trotskyites began to be caught in the ensuing confusion. But even then a quarter of Leningrad, of course, that is too much. Or rather, let our friend, the St. Petersburg Proletarian, attempt to say (so Semyon Nikiforovich sometimes jokingly called me). You were there, after all.

I had to tell.

- Back then I was 7 years old. And I remember exactly the mourning whistles. On the one hand, the whistles of the Bolshevik plant were heard, and, on the other, the horns of locomotives from the Sortirovochnaya station. So, strictly speaking, I cannot be neither an eyewitness nor a witness. But I also think that the number of prisoners named by Solzhenitsyn is fantastically overstated. But here, a fiction is not a science fiction, but a fiction of prodigy. That Solzhenitsyn here is obscure, can be seen at least from the fact that it requires an exact figure for the refutation (knowing that the reader has nowhere to take it), and he himself calls a fractional number - a quarter. Therefore, let's clarify the matter, let's see what the "quarter of Leningrad" means in whole numbers. At that time in the city lived about 2 million people. Hence, the "quarter" is 500 thousand! In my opinion, this is so prodigious a figure, that it is unnecessary to disprove.

- It is necessary! Said Romanov with conviction. - We are dealing with a Nobel laureate ...

- All right, - I agreed. - You know better than me that most zeks were men. - And men everywhere make up half of the population. Hence, at that time the male population of Leningrad was equal to 1 million. But not all the male population can be arrested - there are infants, children and elderly people. And if I say that there were 250,000 such people, then I will give greater pride to Solzhenitsyn - there were, of course, more of them. But let it be so. There are 750 thousand men of active age, of whom Solzhenitsyn took 500 thousand. And for the city it means this: at that time, mostly men worked everywhere, and women were housewives. And what kind of enterprise will be able to continue working if every three workers lose two? Yes, the whole city would stop! But there was nothing likely.

And more. Although I was 7 years old then, I can firmly testify that neither my father nor any of the fathers of my peers of my peers were arrested. And in this situation, as suggested by Solzhenitsyn, those would have been many arrested in our block. And there were none at all. That's all I wanted to say.

- I, perhaps, will add here, - said Romanov. - Solzhenitsyn refers to cases of mass arrests as "flows going into the Gulag." And he writes the most powerful flow was the arrests of 1937-1938. So that's it. Given that in 1934-1935 the Trotskyites were imprisoned not less than for 10 years, it is clear: by the 38th year none of them had returned. And there were no one to take for the "big flow" from Leningrad, there was simply no one left...

- And in the 1941st, - Nazarov intervened, - there would be no one left to recruit. But I read somewhere that back then Leningrad alone gave the front about 100 thousand militiamen. In general, it is clear: with the arresting of a "quarter of Leningrad" Solzhenitsyn again surpassed Mr. Goebbels.

They laughed.

-That's right! Exclaimed Semyon Nikiforovich. "Those who like to talk about "the victims of Stalin's repressions" like to score millions and not less. To this occasion I remembered one recent conversation. There is a one pensioner in our village, an amateur local lore. Interesting man. His name is Vasily Ivanovich, and known in his clique is "Chapai" (as a hero of Civil War and of anecdotes as well). Although his surname is also extremely "rare" - Petrov. He arrived to Kolyma for 3 years before me. And not like me, but by the Komsomol's order (young communists party). In 1942 he voluntarily went to the front. After the war he returned to his family. All his life he was a chauffeur. He often drove to drop by our garage billiard room - it's a hobby of his. And one day a young chauffeur comes up to him and says:

"Vasily Ivanovich, tell me honestly, was it terrible to live here in Stalin's times?" Vasily Ivanovich looked at him in surprise and asked himself : "What fears are you talking about?"

"Well, how," says the chauffeur, "I've heard it myself on the Voice of America." Here in those years, several million zeks were killed. Most of them fell on the construction of the Kolyma track... "

"OK," said Vasily Ivanovich. "Now listen carefully." To kill millions of people somewhere, they need to be there. Well, at least a short time - otherwise there will be no one to be killed. Agreed, or not? "

"It's logical," said the chauffeur.

"Now, logician, listen even more closely," - said Vasily Ivanovich, and he spoke turning to me. - "Semyon, we know for sure, and our logician probably knows that now much more people live in the Kolyma than in Stalin's times. But how much more?"

"I think that 3, or, perhaps, 4 times" - I answered.

"So! - said Vasily Ivanovich, and turned to the chauffeur. "According to the latest statistical report (they are printed daily in the Magadan Pravda newspaper), now about half a million people live in Kolyma (along with Chukotka). So, in Stalin's times here lived, at most, about 150 thousand souls ... How do you like this news?"

"That's great!" - Said the chauffeur. - "I would never have thought that a radio station of such a solid country could lie so foul..."

"Well, you have to know," - Vasily Ivanovich said instructively, - "there are such cunning guys working on this radio station, who easily make an elephant out of a mole. And they begin to trade ivory. Take it cheap - just keep the ears wider ... "

For What and How Much

- Good story. And to the point, - said Romanov. And he asked me: - You seem was going to tell something about the "enemy of the people" who you know?

- Yes, he is not my friend, but a father of one of the boys who were my friends. He was arrested in the summer of the 1938th for anti-Soviet jokes. They gave him 3 years. But he was in camps just 2 of them - was released ahead of schedule. But together with the family he was sent beyond 101 km (from Moscow - editor), it seems, to Tikhvin.

- Do you know exactly that it is from the anecdote he was given 3 years for? - Asked Romanov. - Solzhenitsyn has other information: for an anecdote - 10 years or more; For absenteeism or late for work - from 5 to 10 years; For spikelets collected in a harvested collective farm field, - 10 years. What do you say to that?

- For jokes for 3 years - this I know for sure. And about the penalties for being late and absenteeism - your laureate is lying, like a gray gelding. I myself had two convictions under this decree, there are corresponding entries in the work book about that...

- Haha, yeah, Proletary!.. Aye yes, a jerk! ... I did not expect of you! .. - Semyon Nikiforovich sarcastically laughed.

- Fine, fine! - Answered Romanov. - Let the person confess...

I had to confess.

- The war was over. Life has become easier. And I began to celebrate the pay with a drink. And after all, where boys have a drink, they have adventures. In general, for two tardinesses - 25 and 30 minutes I got rid of reprimands. And when I was late for an hour and a half, I received 3-15 (Article of the criminal code - editor): for 3 months 15% of earnings were taken from me. Just finished with it and I got it again. Now it was already 4-20. Well, the third time I would have expected a punishment of 6-25. But "this cup has passed me by." I understood that work is sacred.

Of course, then it seemed to me that the punishment was too strict - after all, the war was over. But my older comrades comforted me by saying that the capitalists still have a stricter discipline and worse punishments: just a firing - go get in line at the labor exchange. And you do not know when it will be time to get a job again...

But I do not know the cases when a person received a prison term for absenteeism. I heard that for "unauthorized leaving from production" you can get a year and a half prison. But I do not know of any such fact.

Now about the "spikelets." I heard that for "theft of agricultural products" from the fields you can "get a term", the size of which depends on the amount of stolen goods. But this refers to the uncleared fields. I myself went several times to collect the remains of potatoes from the cleaned fields. And I'm sure - to arrest people for collecting spikelets from a harvested collective farm field - the bullshit's bullshit. And if any of you have met people imprisoned for "spikelets," let him say.

- I know two similar cases, - Nazarov said. - It was in Vorkuta in 1947. Two 17-year-old boys got 3 years each. One caught with 15 kg of young potatoes, but at home they found another 90 kg. The second - with 8 kg of spikelets, but at home were another 40 kg. Both took them, of course, at uncleaned fields. And such theft is a theft everywhere. The collection of the remains from the harvested fields is not considered anywhere in the world as a theft. Solzhenitsyn lied here too, in order to kick the Soviet power once more...

...to arrest people for collecting spikelets from a harvested collective farm field - the bullshit's bullshit.

- Or maybe he had another consideration, - Semyon Nikiforovich interjected, - like a journalist who, after learning that a dog bit a man, wrote a report about how a man bit a dog ...

From Belomor and On

- Enough, enough, - Romanov's interrupted general laughter. And he added grumpily: - You've absolutely bothered the poor laureate... - Then, looking at Semyon Nikiforovich, he began:

- You just now a loss of 40 thousand zeks in one winter called a record. And this is not record. The real record, according to Solzhenitsyn, was on the construction of the White Sea Canal (Belomor Channal). Listen, he wrote: "They say that in the first winter, from the 1931st to the 1932nd, 100 thousand died - as much as the number that was constantly working on the channel. Why not believe it? Rather, even this figure is understated: under similar conditions in the camps of the war years, the mortality rate of 1% per day was ordinary, that is known to all. So on Belomor 100 thousand could die out in 3 months easily. And then another winter was between them. Without stretching, we can assume that 300 thousand have died out ".

That surprised us so much that everyone were sitting perplexedly in silence...

- What surprises me is this, - Romanov began again. - All of us know that convicts on the Kolyma were brought only once a year - on boats. We know that there are 9 months of winter there - the rest is the summer." So, according to Solzhenitsyn's layout, all the local camps had to die out three times each winter. And what do we see there in practice? You throw a bone to the dog, you'll hit a former zek, who spent the entire war there on Kolyma. Semyon Nikiforovich, where does this survivability come from? To spite Solzhenitsyn?

- Stop joking, not that case, - Semyon Nikiforovich Romanov broke in dismally. Then, shaking his head, he started talking, - 300 thousand dead souls on Belomor!? - This is such a vile whistle that I do not want to refute... I, however, was not there - I received the term in 1937. But this whistler was not there too! From whom did he hear this bullshit about 300 thousand? I heard about Belomor from the blatant-recidivists. From those who goes on freedom just to have fun and get back to camps again. For them any power is bad. So, they ALL said about Belomor, that life there was - pure pleasure!

300 thousand dead souls on Belomor!? - This is such a vile whistle that I do not want to refute...

After all, the Soviet government there for the first time tried "reforging", i.e. Re-education of criminals by special remuneration for honest work. There for the first time introduced additional and better food for over-fulfillment of the production rate. And most importantly, they introduced "credits" - for one day of good work counted 2, or even 3 days of the term of imprisonment. Of course, the recidivists immediately learned how to get the fake percentages of production and were released ahead of schedule. There was no mention of hunger. What could people die from? From diseases? But sick and invalids were not given work on the construction. It was said by everyone. In general, Solzhenitsyn sucked his 300 thousand dead souls out of his finger. He could not take them from nowhere, because no one could tell him such a bullshit. That's all.

Nazarov has entered to the conversation:

- Everyone knows that several commissions of writers and journalists visited Belomor, among them there were foreigners. And none of them even hinted at such a high mortality rate. How does Solzhenitsyn explain this?

- It's very simple, - replied Romanov. - The Bolsheviks either intimidated all of them or bought them...

Everyone laughed ... Having laughed, Romanov looked at me questioningly. And that's what I told.

- As soon as I heard about the death rate of 1% per day, I thought: how was this in besieged Leningrad? It turned out: about 5 times less than 1%. Here, look. According to various estimates, the blockaded area turned out to contain 2.5 to 2.8 million people. And the most fatally hungry ration Leningraders received about 100 days of short rations - this is a coincidence. During this time, with a death rate of 1% per day, all residents of the city would have died out. But it is known that over 900,000 people died of starvation. 450-500 thousand people died in these deadly 100 days. If we divide the total number of those trapped by the blockade, by the number of deaths per 100 days, we get a factor of 5. That is, In these terrible 100 days mortality in Leningrad was 5 times less than 1%. The question is: where in the wartime camps could be a mortality of 1% per day, if (as you all know well), even a penalty camp ration was 4 or 5 times the caloric value of the blockade ration? And after all the penalty ration was given in punishment for a short time. And the working ration of the zeks in the war was no less than the ration of free workers. And it is understandable why. During the war there was an acute shortage of labor in the country. And to starve the zeks with starvation would have been just a stupidity on the part of the authorities ...

Then I looked at Romanov and added:

- This is to your mocking question about why the Kolyma convicts survived...

Semyon Nikiforovitch got up, went around the table, with both hands shook my hand, jokingly bowed and said with feeling:

- I'm very grateful, young man!.. - Then, turning to all, he said, - Let's finish this talk. Go to the cinema - there begins a re-run of films about Stirlitz.

- We'll be to the cinema in time, - said Romanov, looking at his watch. - Finally, I want to know your opinion about the disagreement in relation to the camp hospitals, which arose between Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov - also a "camp writer". Solzhenitsyn believes that the camp medical unit was created in order to contribute to the extermination of the convicts. And scolds Shalamov for the fact that: "...he supports, if he does not create a legend about the charity..." You have the floor, Semyon Nikiforovich.

- Shalamov did his time where I was. I really did not see him myself. But I heard from many people that, unlike Solzhenitsyn, he had to roll a wheelbarrow. Well, to visit a medical unit for few days after a wheelbarrow is really good. Moreover, they say, he was lucky to go to feldshers' courses, to graduate from them and become a hospital employee himself. Hence, he knows the matter thoroughly - both as a prisoner and as an employee of the medical unit. Therefore, I understand Shalamov. But I cannot understand Solzhenitsyn. They say that he spent most of his time working as a librarian. It is clear that he did not want to go into the medical unit. But it was in the camp medical unit - where he was diagnosed with a cancer tumor in time and had it surgically removed in time, that saved his life... I do not know if it's a rumor... But if I could meet him, I would ask: is it true? And if it was confirmed, then, looking into his eyes, I would say: "You're a dirty bastard! You were not "exterminated" in the camp hospital, but your life was saved... You are a disgraceful bitch!!!" I have nothing more to say...

Beat the Muzzle!

Nazarov entered to the conversation:

- Now I finally realized why Solzhenitsyn lies so much and so shamelessly: "The Gulag Archipelago" was not written in order to tell the truth about the camp life, but in order to inspire the reader with disgust for Soviet power. Here is the same. If you say something about the shortcomings of the camp medical unit, then it is of little interest - there are always shortcomings in the civil hospitals. But if you say: the camp medical unit is intended to contribute to the extermination of the convicts - this is already entertaining. It's about as entertaining as the story of a dog bitten by a man. And most importantly - another "fact" of the inhumanity of the Soviet power ... And come on, Misha, round off - tired of dealing with this shit.

- Okay, we're done. But we need a resolution, - Romanov said. And, giving an official tone to the voice, - I ask everyone to express their attitude to this book and its author. Only briefly. By seniority, you have the floor, Semyon Nikiforovich.

- In my opinion, for this book it was necessary not to give an international award, but to beat his muzzle in public.

- Very much indeed, - Romanov appreciated, and looked inquiringly at Nazarov.

- It is clear that the book is propagandistic, custom-made. And the prize is a bait for readers. The prize will help to bolster the brains of readers-peers, readers-creditors, - Nazarov said.

- Not very briefly, but in detail, - remarked Romanov, and looked at me questioningly.

- If this book did not set a record of falsity, then the author is definitely a champion in terms of the amount of silversmiths he has received, - I said.

- Right! Said Romanov. - He, perhaps, is the richest anti-Soviet writer... Now I know what to write to my beloved nephew. Thank you all for your help! Now let's go to the cinema to watch Stirlitz.

If this book did not set a record of falsity, then the author is definitely a champion in terms of the amount of silversmiths he has received

The next day, early in the morning, I hurried to the first bus to catch a plane flying Magadan-Pevek.


Translated by Stanislav Stankevich and Atandra Anwesh