Journal August 25th, 1939
Vincent – Sergei
A man of steel who rules with an iron fist. Someone who had shortly after Lenin’s death, begun to gain power, influence, and supporters. Somewhat akin to a snowball, getting larger and larger as it rolls down the hill, ever-growing size and momentum. Stalin. He will bring change to Russia, and he will make it a world superpower. He had signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany, siding us with another powerful force. As a soldier, I cannot trust Hitler. Normally, this treaty would be worth less than the weight of the paper. Never trust another powerful leader…Trust no one …but a man such as Stalin does not make misjudgments, and if he believes this is what is right then it is the correct decision. People in the streets rejoice, and the military is pleased to have made yet another advantageous deal.
Stalin is a great leader…and yet, he feels the need to become larger than life. To become similar to a god. Inserting himself into all the major victories and battles in history; by his account, playing a monumental role in each…and yet he didn’t. I was there in the battles, risking my life to uplift Russia, killing my own countrymen to ensure our future…and Stalin chooses to disrespect our legacy, our role in victory to further exalt himself. This, I do not approve but the people must have a strong leader, they must have complete faith, they need a beacon to pin their hopes to. So for the sake of the country…I have helped propagate these stories. In the reign of Stalin much has changed since the rule of Lenin and Trotsky.
In 1925, to my shock, Trotsky resigned from his post in the government. A man who could help our country has relinquished the ability to do so. My disappointment could not be put into words. Trotsky could no longer be relied on. Stalin had shown me that much. Stalin soon took his rightful leadership position, the one that a man of action and influence such as him deserved. He has handled and nipped possible wars with China and Britain in the bud. He exiled Trotsky, a man I am ashamed of once following and believing in. To oppose Stalin, to hear him publically speak out against Stalin, the future of Russia is a disgrace. The mere thought of Trotsky now brings to mind a sour mood and a snarl on my face. Disgusting. A man now working to cripple Russia…Unforgivable. In Stalin’s rule, his many decisions have brought prosperity and opulence. The ending of the NEP, the beginning of the 5-year plans, had made Russia a leading industrial nation. Liquidating the Kulak, and beginning the process of collectivization has brought greater yields than ever on the farms…and yet, some people still opposed. They rebelled, killing animals and purposefully destroying food products and crops. Could they not see that they were attempting to ruin our age of good fortune and excess?!
Alas, with such fanatics and extremists attacking the food supplies…A famine came upon us. Stalin was left with no choice but to set up gulags. More effort, a larger workforce was needed. So the criminals were worked to the bone. They had opposed the growth of Russia, so now they must work 10 times as hard to aid it. The great purge of 1936 cleansed the top brass of any traitors and dissenters, a process that I personally oversaw. Refusing to admit their crimes, I had to…use some unorthodox methods. Perhaps I should not have enjoyed such torture as much as I had. But to be able to hurt the enemies of Russia, punish them for their deeds…The crunching and splintering of bones. The spilling, spattering of blood against the cold stone floors. The metallic scent of blood mixed with sweat, tears, shame, and agony. The crushing of both the mind and body of a traitor. Was simply…euphoric.
Now back to the present, the non-aggression treaty with Germany. Suddenly I wheeze, and keel over. Wretched coughs wracking my body…I felt my chest tighten, my knees buckling. My heart skips a beat. Gasping for air that is not there, my fingers contort, curl and uncurl as I desperately reach out for something, anything that could support me. My vision begins to blur. The room sways, distorting as my legs, my arms, my very lungs, and heart. Failed me.
Is this the end?
NO. I steeled myself. I lay, recovering on the floor for many minutes. I will not fall. I am Sergei Yevtushenkov, the loyal soldier, an unmoving wall, the man who was head of the Red Terror. When I leave this earth, it will be on both feet, not knees in the dirt. However, even if I do not die today, I will one day. I am an old man now, wrinkles, blemishes, and fading hair color. 53. with developing heart problems. My time is near.
I do not know for certain exactly what the future may hold, and whether I will be there to see it. But I know that under Stalin’s rule, the golden age that has dawned is not going to end anytime soon. The Eagle, Germany. The Bear, Russia. Apex predators joining forces. Russia under the rule of others was dormant, weak…But now the bear has awoken from hibernation, and it is hungry…
The Great Leap Forward: The Rapid Industrialisation of the Soviet Union between 1927 and 1940