Many stories have come out of formerly communist Russia about the oppression that the people of that nation were forced to live under, and how, when compared with ours, for most of us, it's sounds almost too harsh too be true. The government would put people under surveillance for things like expressing disappointment in their government or a desire for things to be differently. Neighbors would rat out their neighbors and report on them for having different views and it was encouraged by the government.
The government would spread the notion that you could never be sure where the next threat was coming from, so you needed to always be aware of anything different, and to report it immediately. People would get various forms of special treatment for informing on their neighbors and spying on them. It may seem strange to us, but that was just the way things were under communist rulers, and the people that accepted that way of life as their own thought nothing of it. Many communists enjoyed informing on their neighbors and that was all there was to it. That was what it meant to be existing in the communist bloc.
People were shipped off to gulags and essentially died for expressing opinions, and others because they thought they might, so they were sent away, just in case and still others because of what they knew. There seemed to be no end to how easily the USSR's government would easily devalue the life of the citizens that relied on them to reach their own goals. Some of the stories are unimaginable coming from a western nation while others are just bizarre.
There are many stories of experiments done by various intelligence services during the time of the Soviet Republic, on citizens. They were done for a host of reasons, and to attain various goals. Most of the time they were carried out on unwitting participants, or simply to see what would happen under various circumstances. Reading about them one has to wonder about what the exact circumstances were, when the idea for these experiments themselves were being cooked up.
For example, there was one set of documents dug up after the collapse of the USSR that talked about an experiment done on a person starting when he was a young man. Some vodka soaked genius decided it would be a prudent use of the people's money to set up an experiment where they would target an individual and get them to enroll in post-secondary education.
Then, once the person was there, do a series of experiments to try and dissuade the person from continuing with their education. If they quit, they would try and get them to enroll in another school for something entirely different, and then start the process all over to see how long a person would continue, and what sorts of reactions they would get out of the person. If the person finished they would set up a phony job situation and continue a similar experiment to try and get that person to try another path again. This was all done out in the open, and so there were agents posing as friends, etc, people had to be paid, bribed and things had to be fairly elaborate. It was apparently not cheap at all.
This was all to be done with the money everyday citizens of the country were working hard to earn, and entrusting their government to spend wisely. Seems like an expensive waste of that cash, but that was what living under the mindset of a half in the tank communist state was like, apparently.
There was one such case where they convinced a young man to enroll in a trade school. While there they had people run through various exercises in making life difficult for the person. He eventually complained to the headmaster and they then expelled him from the school. Then, they spent years trying to get him to go to school again through a series of elaborate plans and steps. He finally enrolled in a university and was accepted.
Once there, it started all over for the young man again. He had done nothing wrong, and there was nothing about what they were doing that was even legal by Soviet Standards. That didn't stop the experiments from continuing.
So, he went to school again, tried, and again they attempted the experiments. But his experience with the other school and with what they had been doing in his life made him slightly smarter than the last time and a little wiser. He started running circles around their attempts and actually embarrassed them.
The whole thing was hare-brained to begin with, but there was a plan and certain progress markers expected and things were not going well. So in an effort of desperation one of the undercover intelligence operatives posing as a classmate admitted to the man who he was, thinking it would break him by scaring him.
But instead a light went on and the man realized that what he thought had been just bad luck was really something that was happening. It was actually being planned and orchestrated. Things that were planned by people were not just random acts of chance or nature. There is no better way to pull at the thread of a plan than by focusing and concentrating, and apparently that's just what he did.
He didn't know why anyone would waste good money that way, but he pushed forward and graduated. Once he graduated they began the cycle again, only this time there was no way he was going back to school. He wasn't being fooled three times, not now that he knew. What for?
They wouldn't even acknowledge what the intelligence officer said to him, just “hey we've got an idea, why don't you go to school for a third time? It'll be different and go for yet another entirely different subject? What do you say?” Why would anyone of a sane and rational mind even try and convince a person that had just graduated with an education in one discipline to go for something entirely separate? After being told that's what they had been doing why would he believe it would be any different this time? There had been nothing in writing indicating an apology or official declaration of ceasing in such behavior signed by the highest folk in the land. He would be a fool to go for it again.
He was smart enough to say no. He would be going through experiments either way, but he wasn't about to give them the pleasure of getting their way again. He even found slight ways to irritate, chafe and embarrass the people that had been doing the experiments on him.
Imagine if our government wasted taxpayer dollars experimenting on US citizens out in the open like that just to see how they would react? Sure makes you feel grateful to be livin' in the good ole US of A doesn't it?
To read about my inspiration for this article go to