The sound of the radio slowly lifted me away from my fatigue. “-that’s our morning story for today, the afternoon story will talk about the greatest headlines in a while, The Nazi-Soviet pact. Thanks for listening to an-” I shot up and dizzily turned the radio off. Not knowing if what I heard or if I was still dreaming. A Nazi-Soviet pact? What’s Stalin hoping for? Lenin’s death was a big surprise back in 1924 when I was trying to escape the country. Little did I know that being caught and brought back would end in another surprise as big as this one.
In 1929 is when I really started thinking about how much this could affect me if I wasn’t careful. It was when Stalin decided that Kulaks, a newly appointed group of the richer peasant families, needed to be taken care of. There were three types of kulaks, the first type was the most likely to strike back, the ones that Stalin wanted away the most. The second group was the ones with the most money, the richest. And the third, they were the more peaceful ones. Each group got consequences accordingly. The first group was given to the OGPU, which were political police. Then they were deported to far regions of the country. The second group was deported to other countries, but not as far away as the first group went. The third group was then given the worst farms but were able to stay, unlike the other two.
some of the first and second kulak group died due to sickness, hunger, or the cold. They didn’t have proper planning for them to have decent living conditions where they were being “moved” to.
In the next couple of years, from 1930 to 1933, I barely made it through hunger. A great famine was caused by a new idea of Stalin’s, collectivization. He replaced the old fashion farms with kolkhoz. Each kolkhoz had around 50 to 100 families on 450 hectares of land. Stalin made the farmers sell their grain to the government at low prices. Although the peasants didn’t agree with collectivization and destroyed their farms, including grain animals and tools. In doing so, they caused a famine that killed around 5 to 6 million in three years. Those three years were the most painful years to live through in my life.
Some people had it a lot worse around the same time. They were put to be prisoners in gulags. Gulags were Laboure camps where prisoners, or zeks as they liked to call themselves, were forced to work manual Laboure by a special department of the secret police. They were given a huge feat, for example, building a 500-kilometer canal from one sea to another. They were told that when they finished, they would be released, they didn’t use any machines, only using pickaxes, shovels, wheelbarrows and their bare hands but only 72,000 were released when they finished. Around the end of the 1930s, Labor camps were located in every different part of the USSR, from the most remote areas to towns and cities for all to see. From the beginning of the First Five-Year Plan, there were around 30,000 prisoners located in labor camps, to 2 million in 1932, and by the end of 1937, there were around 6 million and growing. Each camp was different, with different conditions, but they all had one rule in common, The prisoners got a certain amount of food if they reached the expectation of work to get that amount.
The day that the Nazi-Soviet pact was made, was the day that I knew that these changes weren’t going to stop for a while, especially because Stalin made a pact with our enemy, who knows what he would do next. But, these decisions and events weren’t going to end yet, although I’m mostly okay with that, I’ll never know what comes next, whether good or bad. That’s just for time to tell.