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3. Forced artificial feeding. This method was adapted, without any question, from experience with wild animals in captivity.
And it could be employed only in total secrecy. By 1937 artificial feeding was, evidently, already in wide use. For example, in the group hunger strike of socialists in the Yaroslavl Central Prison, artificial feeding was forced on everyone on the fifteenth day.
I 470 THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO Artificial feeding has much in common with rape. And that's what it really is: four big men hurl themselves on one weak being and deprive it of its one interdiction-they only need to do it once and what happens to it next is not important. The element of rape inheres in the violation of the victim's will: "It's not going to be the way you want it, but the way I want it; lie down and submit." They pry open the mouth with a flat disc, then broaden the crack between the jaws and insert a tube: "Swallow it." And if you don't swallow it, they shove it farther down anyway and then pour liquefied food right down the esophagus. And then they massage the stomach to prevent the prisoner from resorting to vomiting. The sensation is one of being morally defiled, of sweetness in the mouth, and a jubilant stomach gratified to the point of delight.
Science did not stand still, and other methods were developed for artificial feeding: an enema through the anus, drops through the nose.
4. A new view of the hunger strike: that hunger strikes are a continuation of counterrevolutionary activity in prison, and must be punished with a new prison term. This aspect promised to give rise to a very rich new category in the practices of the New Type Prison, but it remained essentially in the realm of threats. And it was not, of course, any sense of humor that cut it short, but most likely simple laziness: why bother with all that when patience will take care of it? Patience and more patience-the patience of a well-fed person vis-a.-vis one who is starving.
Approximately in the middle of 1937, a new directive came:
From now on the prison administration will not in any respect be responsible for those dying on hunger strikes! The last vestige of personal responsibility on the part of the jailers had disappeared! (In these circumstances, the prosecutor of the province would not have come to visit Chebotaryev!) Furthermore, so that the interrogator shouldn't get disturbed, it was also announced that days spent on hunger strike by a prisoner under interrogation should be crossed off the official interrogation period. In other words, it should not only be considered that the hunger strike had not taken place, but the prisoner should be regarded as not having been in prison at all during the period of the strike.
Thus the interrogator would not be to blame for being behind I Tyurzak 471 schedule. Let the only perceptible result of the hunger strike be the prisoner's exhaustion!
And that meant: If you want to kick the bucket, go ahead!
Arnold Rappoport had the misfortune to declare a hunger strike in the Archangel NKVD Internal Prison at the very moment when this directive arrived. It was a particularly severe form of hunger strike, and that ought, it would seem, to have given it more impact. His was a "dry" strike-without fluidsand he kept it up for thirteen days. (Compare the five-day "dry" strike of Dzerzhinsky, who probably wasn't isolated in a separate cell. And who in the end won total victory.) And during those thirteen days in solitary, to which Rappoport had been moved, only a medical assistant looked in now and then. No doctor came.
And no one from the administration took the slightest interest in what he was demanding with his hunger strike. They never even asked him. The only attention the administration paid him was to search his cell carefully, and they managed to dig out some hidden makhorka and several matches. What Rappoport wanted was to put an end to the interrogator's humiliation of him.
He had prepared for his hunger strike in a thoroughly scientific way. He had received a food parcel earlier, and so he ate only butter and ring-shaped rolls, baranki, and he quit eating black bread a week before his strike. He starved until he could see the light through his hands. He recalls experiencing a sensation of lightheadedness and clarity of thought. At a certain moment, a kindly, compassionate woman jailer named Marusya came to his cell and whispered to him: "Stop your hunger strike; it isn't going to help; you'll just die! You should have done it a week earlier." He listened to her and called off his hunger strike without having gotten anywhere at all. Nevertheless, they gave him hot red wine and a roll, and afterward the jailers took him back to the common cell in a hand-carry. A few days later, his interrogation
began again. But the hunger strike had not been entirely useless:
the interrogator had come to understand that Rappoport had will power enough and no fear of death, and he eased up on the interrogation. "Well, now, it turns out you are quite a wolf," the interrogator said to him. "A wolf!" Rappoport affirmed. "And I'll certainly never be your dog."
Rappoport declared another hunger strike later on, at the !
472 THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO Kotlas Transit Prison, but it turned out somewhat comically. He announced that he was demanding a new interrogation, and that he would not board the prisoner transport. They came to him on the third day: "Get ready for the prisoner transport." "You don't have the right. I'm on a hunger strike!" At that point four young toughs picked him up, carried him off, and tossed him into the bath. After the bath, they carried him to the guardhouse. With nothing else left to do, Rappoport stood up and went to join the column of prisoners boarding the prisoner transport-after all, there were dogs and bayonets at his back.
And that is how the New Type Prison defeated bourgeois hunger strikes.
Even a strong man had no way left him to fight the prison machine, except perhaps suicide. But is suicide really resistance?
Isn't it actually submission?
The SR Yekaterina Olitskaya thinks that the Trotskyites, and, subsequently, the Communists who followed them into prison, did a great deal to weaken the hunger strike as a weapon for fighting back: they declared hunger strikes too easily and lifted them too easily. She says that even the Trotskyite leader I. N.
Smirnov, after going on a hunger strike four days before their Moscow trial, quickly surrendered and lifted it. They say that up to 1936 the Trotskyites rejected any hunger strike against the Soviet government on principle, and never supported SR's and Social Democrats who were on hunger strikes. 13 Let history say how true or untrue that reproach is. However, no one paid for hunger strikes so much and so grievously as the Trotskyites. (We will come to their hunger strikes and their strikes in camps in Part III.) Excessive haste in declaring and lifting hunger strikes was probably characteristic of impetuous temperaments which reveal their feelings too quickly. But there were, after all, such natures, such characters, among the old Russian revolutionaries, too, and there were similar temperaments in Italy and France, but noBut they always demanded support for themselves from the SR's and Social Democrats. On a prisoner transport to Karaganda and the Kolyma in 1936, they addressed as traitors and provocateurs all those who refused to sign their telegram to Kalinin protesting "against sending the vanguard of the Revolution [i.e., themselves] to the Kolyma." (The story was told by Makotinsky.) I 473 Tyurzak where, either in prerevolutionary Russia, in Italy, or in France, were the authorities so successful in discouraging hunger strikes as in the Soviet Union. There was probably no less physical sacrifice and no less spiritual determination in the hunger strikes in the second quarter of our century than there had been in the first. But there was no public opinion in the Soviet Union. And on that basis the New Type Prison waxed and grew strong. And instead of easy victories, the prisoners suffered hard-earned defeats.
Decades passed and time produced its own results. The hunger strike-the first and most natural weapon of the prisoner-in the end became alien and incomprehensible to the prisoners themselves. Fewer and fewer desired to undertake them. And to prison administrations the whole thing began to seem either plain stupidity or else a malicious violation.
When, in 1960, Gennady Smelov, a nonpolitical offender, declared a lengthy hunger strike in the Leningrad prison, the prosecutor went to his cell for some reason (perhaps he was making his regular rounds) and asked him: "Why are you torturing yourself?" And Smelov replied: "Justice is more precious to me than life."
This phrase so astonished the prosecutor with its irrelevance that the very next day Smelov was taken to the Leningrad Special Hospital (i.e., the insane asylum) for prisoners. And the doctor
there told him:
"We suspect you may be a schizophrenic."
• Along the rings of the horn, where it began to narrow to its point, the former central prisons arose, rechristened, by the beginning of 1937, the "special isolators." The last little weaknesses were now being squeezed out of the system, the last vestiges of light and air. And the hunger strike of the tired socialists, their numbers sparse by now, in the Yaroslavl Penalty Isolator at the beginning of 1937 was one of their last, desperate efforts.
They were still demanding that everything should be restored to what it once had been. They were demanding both the election I 474 THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO of spokesmen and free communication between cells, but it is unlikely that even they had hopes of this any longer. By a fifteenday hunger strike, even though it ended with their being forcefed through a tube, they had apparently succeeded in defending some portions of their regimen: a one-hour period outdoors, access to the provincial newspaper, notebooks for their writing.
These they kept. But the authorities promptly took away their personal belongings and threw at them the common prison clothing of the special isolator. And a little while later, they cut half an hour off their time outdoors. And then they reduced it by another fifteen minutes.
These were the same people who were being dragged through a sequence of prisons and exiles according to the rules of the Big Solitaire. Some hadn't lived an ordinary, decent human life for ten years; some for fifteen; all they had was this meager prison life, with hunger strikes to boot. A few who had gotten used to winning out over the prison administrations before the Revolution were still alive. However, before the Revolution they were marching in step with Time against a weakening enemy. And now Time was against them and allied with an enemy growing steadily stronger. Among them were young people too (how strange that seems to us nowadays)-those who considered themselves SR's, Social Democrats, or Anarchists even after the parties themselves had been battered' out of existence-and the only future these new recruits had to look forward to was life in prison.
The loneliness surrounding the entire prison struggle of the socialists, which became more hopeless with every year that passed, grew more and more acute, approaching a vacuum in the end. That was not how it had been under the Tsar: Throw open the prison doors and the public greeted them with flowers. Now they leafed through the newspapers and saw that they were being drenched in vituperation, with slops even. (For it was the socialists, after all, whom Stalin saw as the most dangerous enemies of his socialism.) And the people were silent.