The Mechanics of Terror
WEEKS HAD GONE BY SINCE MY talk with Yenukidze, and there was still no word in the Soviet press about the trouble in the party. Nevertheless, little by little rumors about new tension in high quarters began to spread. It could be heard in the growing queues of people waiting endlessly before bakeries and food stores. It was common gossip at the Literary Club, in restaurants, hotels, at intimate parties. It was whispered when the Black Marias were again heard screeching their way up Lubianka at all hours of the day and night. Obviously the tide of persecution in the countryside was finally reaching the capital. Again, as in 1924, the victims of the terror were not as yet the Trotskyists, but the so-called Lishentsi, a newly coined name for Nepmen. The exact meaning of the word--"deprived ones"--made it a fitting term for men and women torn from their homes and shorn of all human rights.
A new feature in this wave of horror was railway terminals crowded with Lishentsi. Crestfallen, hungry, and in rags, thousands of men, women, and children sat or stood around waiting for freight trains to carry them far from their homes, relatives, and friends, far from beloved Moscow where many were born, some of whom could trace their ancestry centuries back. This cruel punishment was particularly hard on the children and also on the many adolescents who, despite the Soviet propaganda,