Skip to comments.Scenes from the early USSR: Memoirs of a Kornilov’s Regiment Soldier
Posted on 11/23/2013 10:08:54 AM PST by annalex
by Alexandr Trushnovitch
The Bolsheviks declared as their ultimate goal a society without families. The man or woman who are married, could terminate it at any time. The procedure of creating a marriage entry in the registry office was identical to the interim trade agreement without mutual guarantees. And since, according to the Bolshevik slogan of those years everyone had to work, the question of compensation in a divorce was dropped. For a child who often stayed with the mother, the father had to pay child support in the amount of 10% of the basic salary.
In the early years of the revolution, as well as during the NEP  a real epidemic of divorce broke out. Sometimes, people who had lived 30 happy years of marriage, after the publication of the decree suddenly figured out that they "did not get along," and divorced. The idea of free marriage finds many supporters in the West, especially among the intelligentsia, dwelling in the sphere of illusion. Sure, there are marriages that it would be better to terminate. But to build it into law is to unconsciously or consciously weaken the people and push it down a path of degeneration.
What were the consequences of this epidemic? Let us leave aside the suffering and the tears of wives with children, for the tears in the Soviet vocabulary exist only when they poured out of "prisoners of MOPR" (International Organization for the Aid to the Fighters of the Revolution.)
A communist, an assistant director of one of the trusts, again came to us for an affidavit of the health status, needed in order to register his eleventh marriage. This character "married" already in Krasnodar, Rostov and other cities. An acquaintance in the registry office showed me a long list of people registering a marriage for three or four or more times.
I treated an elderly peasant woman.
- Well, what do I do, doctor? The son brought in a fourth wife. The first wife was a good and hard-working, four years they had lived together in love. What went on with this mess, as if he was attacked by a demon!On farms before collectivization this debauchery had a deadening impact. The most frequent answer to the Abortion Committee, on the question "Why do you want to have an abortion?", -- was "my husband left me."
After the decree the number of marriages of convenience had increased. In particular this applied to female students, who married the workers in order to conceal their social origin and acquire the benefits such as the working-class food allowance, admission to the university with exemption from tuition fees, and even obtaining scholarships. After graduating from college, they usually stopped this Soviet misalliance. One of our female students one year ahead of me was really in need and decided to get married to a shoemaker. After graduation she wanted to get rid of him. And then he stabbed and killed her with the cobbler's knife. He went to trial, but after six months he was out of prison. And it was not the only such case. The people did not consider the mandatory entry in the registry office a true marriage. After the entry at the registrars people usually married in the church. Even many communists secretly married. If it became known, they were purged out of the party.
After the collectivization and the destruction of the church , in principle, everything remained the same, although things became much more complicated. Of course, the church marriage had not been a guarantee either, but the divorce rate among those married in the church was much smaller than that of "signed for" . Sometimes, people would ask for a leave from work: "We be just five minutes to sign, will be right back!"
My wife and I, of course, could not refer to our matrimony made in 1918 in Novocherkassk, so in connection with filing the petition to travel to Yugoslavia we also had to do this procedure.
In the Town Soviet room, full of people, there was a table standing in the corner; the Administrator of the Registry sat behind it. My wife and I, too, "ran off for five minutes" from the hospital, taking along a nurse as a witness. I found a second witness somewhere, either in the Town Soviet room or on the street. I "hopped in"  for the certificate the next day.
V.V. Veresaev  talks about the artistic side of Soviet practices in an article. I hope that the five-year plan has beaten this foolishness out of his head.
The abortion epidemic
The law that gave the woman the exclusive right to control her pregnancy, in addition to the moral and ethical side, had another aspect - the weakening of the Russian people. Percentage of the population growth, as well as growth in the southern and eastern Slavic peoples, was much higher than in Western nations. The national epidemic of abortions rendered the forces hostile to Russia a considerable help.
Let me dwell on the numbers that I have, since true statistics did not exist under the Bolsheviks. The figures that lead to the delight of naive intellectuals and politicians in the West are falsehoods serving propaganda needs, or are created to fit the speeches of the leaders who mention fake numbers. Reading these data, we said, "They will be laughing at that in the West! Our pundits apparently believe that they are all fools." Unfortunately, we were wrong, and the winners came out "our pundits." In the West, very many believed the communist lies.
I'm sure I know the condition of at least ten regions of the USSR, where I visited, where I worked or was told about by my colleague doctors. But I will confine my narrative to my own practice in Primorsko-Akhtarsky region, with the population of no more than 30,000 people in 1927-1930.
Abortions were permitted only in the hospital environment after passing the Abortion Commission. The requirement to pass the Commission was waived for those who were able to make a certain payment. During the collectivization years such an ability existed mostly among the wives of administrators (they, however, often avoided the payment), so most of the women had to pass the commission. It was chaired by the representative of District Women's Section of the Region Committee . Representatives of the Village or Town Soviet checked the applicant from the social and financial points of view. The doctor was a member of a commission as an expert, he had to determine the fact of pregnancy and to establish medical contraindications.
The poor and working women were permitted a free abortion. Others paid according to their salary. The peasants, while they still owned property paid according to their tax forms. The wives of the disenfranchised, the kulaks and the exiled, that is, the people already robbed into poverty and beggary, had to pay the highest fee.
The Commission tried to persuade the wives of the affluent, childless women or those with only one child not to have an abortion, but almost always without success: the women were well aware that under the law they could not be refused. They only could put up a technical hurdle: to say that the hospital had no room, or point to non-existent in reality contraindications. But all this was a vain attempt: the women went to the midwives to perform abortions illegally, or sorceresses, or themselves caused the bleeding.
Which motives prevailed among the women who did not want to have children? Prior to the beginning of collectivization it could be heard:
- My husband does not want children...
- My husband abandoned me...
- What do I want children for? I work, who would bother with them?
- No husband.
- He did not want to get married.
- Today, he is here, and tomorrow his trail is cold!
These young women, particularly female workers, clerks, farmhand, registered in the registry office, didnt even make an impression of married women - so insignificant the Soviet marriage seemed. Even the Communist women and activists who were members of the Commission, involuntarily blurted out the phrase:
- Why, do you say, he left you? After all, were you not married in the church?
After the collectivization began, the reasons became poverty, hunger, insecurity. Abortion refusals were no more. People could hardly stand on their feet. And how many of them were lying on the ground, exhausted by hunger to the limit, waiting their turn at the Commission? Many women died from abortions...
How many abortions were in our district for four years? From October 1927 to September 1931 I, as recorded in the operational log, performed 714 abortions. The second doctor - more than nine hundred (for a while I worked part-time as a medical emergency officer and did not perform abortions). Quite often we would give the opportunity to "get the hand" to the doctors in the clinic, glad that someone at least temporarily freed us from this disgusting work. Every year we had four students coming to the practice, and each performed at least ten abortions, which were written in his name.
In town there were two elderly experienced midwives who performed a large number of illegal abortions. We had accurate information on their practice, but undertook nothing against it because they worked not worse than doctors. A lot of women came to them because they did not want their abortion to become known "around the world", or who feared to miss the term as waiting for seats in the hospital took long.
On one of the midwives, who lived solely by the abortions, I had pretty accurate information. She made at least one abortion per day, although it would be more correct to call a larger number. The second midwife had even more patients. Lets exclude weekends and limit it to three hundred abortions per year for each. In the region illegal abortions were performed by paramedics, midwives, outpatient doctors. Not less than five hundred abortions were done by sorceresses or by the pregnant women themselves, but I have no accurate data on those. Nevertheless an overall, I repeat, very minimal figure is easy to calculate.
On this subject, the doctors collected a wealth of materials. In almost all districts, and in particular at regional hospitals there are museums of "tools" used by sorcerers and women themselves to perform abortion. Plant roots soaked in iodine tincture, knitting needles, fish bones ... These massive, truly illegal abortions were a genuine scourge of hospitals. Sometimes three women would be brought in a day with bleeding. No matter how much we questioned who made the "operation", they always took the blame on themselves, knowing that they would not have to answer for it. The perpetrators were given away only in exceptional cases.
There was one terrible event. An outpatient doctor sent us a patient diagnosed with sepsis. The mother of eleven children had lain eight days at home, not wanting to call the doctor. The husband did not know the cause of her illness. When we told her that she was dying, she confessed that an old woman "did it" with a chemical pencil , but even dying she refused to name the old woman.
Characteristic is the relationship between the material condition of the people and the number of abortions. In the operating room of our regional hospital in 1926 2,500 (rounded) abortions were performad, in 1927 - 3300, and in 1928 - 4200, and in 1929 - 5000. The closer the collectivization, the more abortions. People were constantly underfed and started to walk like shadows, they could not even think about children.
From the very beginning the Soviet atmosphere was full of rude, vulgar eroticism. The bottom of the slums, the criminals, the rabble, who began to rule the country, brought with them their usual notions of morality. The ruling class and its secret police lived by the principle of free love, not covered by any masks.
Several of our students who have visited St. Petersburg at the Putilov  plant asked the workers if they remembered "all-union elder" Comrade Kalinin ?
- Mishka?  How could I not remember? Drunkard, would fall under a machine-tool and lay there drunk. Forever a bottle would stick out of his pocket. He still owes me five rubles. When I come to Moscow I should box up his snout. Except, be he cursed, he barricaded himself in the Kremlin, got fat, screws with Komsomolki 
Turns out Mishka Kalinin had lots of "madamochki"  and one of them we had the good fortune to witness and listen to in the beginning of 1934 at the Moscow Conservatory. When she got to perform a song, a wisper rushed through the hall: "Kalinins love interest."
Sexual promiscuity probably caused disgust in most people. So they began corrupting the people in other ways.
In 1922 I attended a few times on the performances of "Down with shame" Society. Completely naked, adorned only with a ribbon reading "Down with shame," the speaker shouted from the podium in the square in Krasnodar: - Down with philistinism! Down with the priests lies! We communars do not need clothes to cover up the beauty of the body! We are children of the sun and the air! Passing there in the evening, I saw the podium felled: the "son of the sun and air" got beaten up. Another time, my wife and I saw the public pop out of the tram, swearing and spitting. A group of naked "children of the sun and air" burst into the car and the indignant passengers rescued themselves fleeing. The experiment was not a success, the oratory of the Apostles of the Soviet morale caused such outrage that the authorities had to stop this shamelessness.
Distribution of sexual misconduct was taken over by the school, fiction and popular science books. In schools, the teaching of sexual issues without religious and moral principles corrupted the students. In addition, teachers have not had the permission to apply any sanctions to the students, they had to tolerate defective and morally dissolute children corrupting others. From profanity, vulgar stories and jokes about sex that students have used in their everyday life, a creepy feeling was emerging.
The fact that the moral decomposition of the people was planned from the top, there is no doubt. Take the writer and the representative of Soviet power abroad member of the Party Central Committee A. Kollontai . The world's first woman ambassador campaigned for the "free love" and preached the idea of a "glass of water" (to have sexual intercourse - is as casual an act as drinking a glass of water). How could preach these heinous ideas without approval or instructions from above?
The Bolsheviks tried to destroy the family also in other ways. Under the slogan of emancipation of women they imprisoned them in a different way, luring them into clubs, obliging to attend various meetings, inviting to entertainment, creating for them a number of official titles such as chairwoman, delegate, deputy, women organizers of different degrees, commissioners, elected officials, committee members, troika members it is impossible to count all these phony positions. It is a pity that a women's rally at the beginning of the revolution was never perpetuated in a movie. Once, for example, pots were brought into the presidium, which the frenzied female mob broke as a sign of "liberation", with screeching, howling and shouting "Down with the pots!" Which of these activists could imagine that the pots would remain pots, but they will nothing to cook in them? Because of the overload of "social work" imposed on the women, quarrels arose in families. Husbands who were protesting against the permanent absence of their wives, were summoned to the council, committee, where they were reprimanded and accused of conservatism and possessiveness.
Some sobering of the powers come back in the years leading up to collectivization. A genuine matriarchy began, when the father's name was unknown and the mother became a legal entity. A big fear was felt at the widespread sexually transmitted diseases.
Sobering began also among the people. A religious revival began, and people gradually were beginning to return to the moral order .
- - -
 NEP, New Economic Policy was a temporary relaxation of laws against private enterprise that lasted between 1921 and 1928; during that time the economic system resembled state capitalism with the state controlling big business and private individuals could own small enterprises.
 Collectivization: the forced confiscation of farmers property and formation of collective farms for the poorer peasants; well-to-do farmers were sent to labor camps. This policy replaced the NEP by 1930. About the same time mass destruction of churches and repressions against the monastics and the priests took place, resulting in virtual elimination of public Christian worship.
 "signed for", idiomatic expression indicating entering a marriage through a registry of acts of civic state.
 The author puts the typical vulgar colloquialisms of the Soviet era in quotes, as they reflect the hurried, undignified character of the time.
 Vikenty Veresaev, Russian and Soviet writer, formerly a military doctor. The foolishness evidently took hold, for he was awarded a number of Soviet prizes in 1945. (Veresaev).
 женотдел райкома, two ugly newspeak words into which Women's Section of the Region Committee was compressed; the Committee was implied to be of the Communist Party.
 chemical pencil was a substitute for pen and ink in offices of the time, a chemical added to the graphite produced indelible ink upon contact with water.
 Putilov machine tool plant, now Kirov Plant, a large factory in St. Petersburg.
 Mihail Kalinin, bolshevilk revolutionary and the nominal head of state of Soviet Russia.
 Mishka: familiar-derogatory form of Mikhail (compare with Mickey)
 komsomolki: plural from komsomolka, female member of the Communist Party Youth Union.
 madamochki: plural from madamochka, little madam.
 A. Kollontai: Alexandra Kollontai, a revolutionary and a Soviet diplomat.
 That religious revival that the author was detecting was as we know short-lived.
The author commanded a machine gun company of Kornilov Regiment; lived in the Soviet Russian under an assumed name, became a doctor and practiced medicine. In 1934 managed to emigrate as an ethnic Slovene and lived in Germany (Western). Was abducted by the agents of the Soviet Union in 1954, resisted the abduction and was killed ( Трушнович, Александр Рудольфович).
I should point out to the gentle American reader that the image of the Soviet Union as a stern society of oppressive sexual conservatism, as opposed to American and generally Western sexual liberalism is an artifact of the Cold War. The classical Marxism, as well as the early years of the Soviet Power called for liberation of the woman, -- understood as stripping her of marital obligations, and nearly unlimited access to abortion. Coupled with collectivization of farming and forced industrialization, the uninhibited sexual practices and collectivization of women as sexual partners of the working men resulted in death and misery in what was once a prosperous nation. With this in mind, here is the question for the American reader: Does this remind you of anything?
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If you can convince a woman to kill her own child, then you can convince her to do anything.
Now that is one damned interesting turn of phrase.
Well said, and very true.
Orwell knew Spanish communists, and British, but he got the mentality right generally, I think. Interesting that he himself remained socialist, if I am not mistaken.
Describes the reality well, though. I have come across posters decreeing that able bodied women were to report to one committee or another so that they can service the comrades. Fascinating stuff, but most of it is in Russian and my ability to translate and bring it to the freeping audience is limited.
All the statistics the Soviets produced were known to be lies. All the statistics out of Hussein's regime are lies, too -- the latest revelation being the unemployment numbers ginned up by the Census Bureaus before the Nov 2012 election. It's no coincidence there's a communist at the helm.
You can buy it from Amazon for your Kindle, or read the free version above.
These are the real, inconvenient truths the crypto-communists in political offices, NGO’s, and media positions would like to ignore. But we can’t.
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Thanks for the ping. I recall another installment of this that you pinged me to recently. Scary stuff.
Yes. Lying is in the nature of the left everywhere. This is how they maintain power. This is why the greatest betrayal of the American people is not even by the politicians but by the American press.
Thank you; interesting.
Another view on the USSR is Solonevich’s Concentration Camp Russia, only in part available in an old English translation. I wish someone who can read Russian would undertake to translate it; I could help with the difficult parts, but I have no time translating it myself. It is a story of Solonevich’s arrest, trial and escape from a prison camp.
Thank you Annalex for providing important history that needs knowing by everyone. If that were the case, doubtful we today would have Obamacare.
If that guy has his way, we would have far worse than Obamacare.
Yes. I may be repeating myself, but for natural and man-made reasons America’s view on the USSR is colored by the experience of the Cold War and the sexual revolution at home. But the USSR of the post-WWII period was very different than the USSR as originally shaped by the Bolsheviks. Few, for example, know that collectivization of women as group wives was a reality. Yet if we are to learn from history, we should draw a parallel between the early USSR and today’s America, and especially, find similarities in the attitude toward religion and family.
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