Days and Lives :: Arrest

Prisoner: Anna Andreeva

“Usually people write about being beaten and tortured. But it was not always the case. I was not beaten. I think I was not beaten because the interrogator soon realized that he could break me by totally different means with much better results. People who worked there were professionals…The interrogator called me by my first name and patronymic, and recited poems to me. He told me: “Alla Aleksandrovna, please, tell me how people like you and the others who are now under arrest, how you, Russian people, can grow such hatred toward our country’s regime and the way of life in our Motherland. We want to understand what our intelligentsia thinks…” I was a fool and told everything. For more than a year. I couldn’t forget that the man sitting before me interrogating me was Russian, like me. They used this sentiment as a trap… And so I openly and in detail explained to the detective what not only I but also others had against Soviet rule, Communism, everything that was done to Russia.”

Trial

In the following excerpt from Stolen Years, several prisoners recall the farcical justice of a Soviet trial.

Movie Transcription

Paulina Myasnikova – This is how the trial went. They asked us our name, last name, patronymic, date of birth and whether or not we admitted our guilt. And then they left the room. Five minutes later they reappeared back in the room with the sentence all typed up, and you would get a 10-year prison sentence. Nikolai Getman – The trial lasted no more than 5 or 7 minutes. There was no need to prove any of the evidence. Everything had been determined in advance. Simeon Vilensky – My sentence was announced to me at the Butyrki prison. It was in a little cigarette paper-size document—tiny piece of paper. I was supposed to sign it, and confirm that I had heard the sentence, and received the document. I refused to sign it, but that didn’t make any difference. That’s all there was to the trial.