city:leipzig

  • Les #quenouilles - #roc, #rogue
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/les-quenouilles/les-quenouilles-roc-rogue

    Nous, Quenouilles, plusieurs voix...

    Roc, mot singulier, qui évoque quelque chose de dense, de lourd, Permanence, immuabilité, ce qui ne peut être mis à mal/entamé que par l’érosion, les intempéries, la longue course du temps ou un évènement extraordinaire, cataclysmique. Et Bonaparte, bizarrement, seul sur son rocher, l’île d’Elbe, là où il est exilé (mais il le choisit, ce lieu d’exil !) après la bataille de Leipzig et sa chute - déchu qu’il est du trône de France. Mais en fait ce mot de Rogue, il vient aussi et surtout à l’anglaise. Rogue (adj) = coquin, franc-tireur, solitaire (Harrap’s Shorter) - Rogue (Nom) autrement dit Malicia, des X-Men. Rogue = aussi ce mage, dans la saga Harry Potter de J.K.Rowling. Traduit, en français, par Severus… La rogue (autrefois aussi dénommées noues, langues, raves ou (...)

    #quenouilles,roc,rogue
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/les-quenouilles/les-quenouilles-roc-rogue_05882__1.mp3


  • Grève chez Amazon en Allemagne, les livraisons de colis possiblement retardées
    https://www.lesoir.be/196002/article/2018-12-17/greve-chez-amazon-en-allemagne-les-livraisons-de-colis-possiblement-retardees

    Ces débrayages font suite à un appel du syndicat Verdi, qui souhaite conclure une convention collective de travail. Des arrêts de travail ont eu lieu dans diverses divisions allemandes de l’entreprise Amazon dans la nuit de dimanche à lundi. Ces débrayages font suite à un appel du syndicat Verdi. Il est possible que les livraisons de colis à l’approche des fêtes de Noël soient retardées. Le personnel a observé un arrêt de travail dans les filiales de Leipzig et Werne (Rhénanie du Nord-Westphalie). Dans (...)

    #Amazon #travail #Verdi


  • #allemagne : D’Hambourg à Leipzig, des flammes pour SPIE
    https://nantes.indymedia.org/articles/43698

    Leipzig : voiture de service Spie (Fleischhauer) en flammes – 16 novembre Dans la nuit de vendredi 16 novembre à Leipzig, nous avons incendié un véhicule de service de la société « Spie Fleischhauer » dans le quartier Connewitz. Nous exprimons ainsi notre mépris et notre haine de l’industrie carcérale horrible. L’attaque directe contre la propriété de ceux qui rendent possible la domination et la répression est pour nous une composante nécessaire de la lutte pour une société libérée !

    #actions #directes #actions,directes


  • Mouvement de grève chez Amazon en Allemagne
    http://www.lalibre.be/economie/libre-entreprise/mouvement-de-greve-chez-amazon-en-allemagne-5bdc5241cd70e3d2f67a5dfe

    Les travailleurs de deux établissements Amazon en Allemagne (à Leipzig et Bad Hersfeld) ont déclenché une nouvelle grève vendredi en raison d’un conflit salarial qui dure depuis plusieurs années. Quelque 600 personnes doivent participer au mouvement qui se prolongera jusque samedi soir, selon le syndicat Verdi. Des retards sont donc possibles dans la livraison des colis. La grève vise à forcer Amazon à discuter d’un nouvel accord salarial pour ses travailleurs. "Même si Amazon a augmenté les salaires (...)

    #Amazon #travail #Verdi


  • Mouvement de grève chez Amazon en Allemagne Belga - 2 Novembre 2018 - RTBF
    https://www.rtbf.be/info/economie/detail_mouvement-de-greve-chez-amazon-en-allemagne?id=10062770

    Les travailleurs de deux établissements Amazon en Allemagne (à Leipzig et Bad Hersfeld) ont déclenché une nouvelle grève vendredi en raison d’un conflit salarial qui dure depuis plusieurs années. Quelque 600 personnes doivent participer au mouvement qui se prolongera jusque samedi soir, selon le syndicat Verdi. Des retards sont donc possibles dans la livraison des colis.

    La grève vise à forcer Amazon à discuter d’un nouvel accord salarial pour ses travailleurs. « Même si Amazon a augmenté les salaires de 2% en septembre, l’écart avec l’accord de convention collective demandé n’a pas diminué », précise un syndicaliste.
    Le syndicat Verdi se bat depuis 2013 pour une convention collective englobant les 16.000 employés d’Amazon en Allemagne, jusqu’ici sans succès.

    L’entreprise répond que, même sans convention, elle reste un employeur juste et responsable.

    #Esclaves #under_menschen #serfs #esclavagistes #Grève #allemagne


  • Souvenir d’un paysage. Pour Manuela

    http://www.progress-film.de/erinnerung-an-eine-landschaft-fur-manuela.html

    Un documentaire réalisé en 1983 et produit par la DEFA (monopole de la production cinématographique en Allemagne de l’est)

    Il décrit l’extension inexorable des mines de charbon à ciel ouvert au sud de Leipzig. La scène entre 21:26 et 23:10 est notamment édifiante : un planificateur explique les différentes phases du projet programmé jusqu’en 2020. La chute du mur n’a rien remis en cause de ce coté là. D’ailleurs on y voit la figure de Marx, non pas hanter l’époque, mais y servir de bibelot utilitaire.

    Le réalisateur avait bien compris que le modèle « socialiste » n’était que l’autre camp du capital, et non pas une alternative radicale. Les nécessités mises en avant par la planificateur, et qui sont celles de l’investissement productif, ne dépareraient pas dans les discours d’un partisan de l’aéroport à NDDL, par exemple.


  • Paléontologie : découverte en Sibérie d’une jeune métisse de 90 000 ans

    https://www.lemonde.fr/paleontologie/article/2018/08/22/paleontologie-decouverte-en-siberie-d-une-jeune-metisse-de-90-000-ans_534514

    L’analyse du génome de l’os trouvé dans une grotte de l’Altaï suggère qu’il provient d’une adolescente dont la mère était néandertalienne et le père dénisovien.

    Nous sommes tous métis, issus de brassages de populations immémoriaux. Mais Denisova 11 l’est d’une manière toute singulière. Cette ado vivait il y a environ 90 000 ans en Sibérie. Elle est morte vers l’âge de 13 ans, d’une cause inconnue, et a été enterrée dans la grotte de Denisova dans les montagnes de l’Altaï, où un fragment de ses os a été trouvé en 2012.

    Son ADN a été extrait et analysé, et son génome reconstitué a stupéfié les chercheurs : sa mère était une néandertalienne, et son père un dénisovien, deux lignées humaines disparues, dont il ne subsiste que quelques traces dans le patrimoine génétique d’une partie des hommes d’aujourd’hui.

    « Notre réaction ? La surprise », raconte Benjamin Vernot, qui a participé à ces analyses à l’Institut Max-Planck d’anthropologie évolutionniste de Leipzig, en Allemagne, la Mecque de l’étude de l’ADN ancien, dirigé par le pionnier Svante Pääbo.

    « C’était tellement fou qu’on a passé plusieurs mois à vérifier que ce n’était pas une erreur. » Les vérifications ont été jugées suffisamment solides pour que la découverte soit publiée, jeudi 23 août, dans la revue Nature.

    Précision confondante

    La grotte de Denisova est célèbre dans les cercles de la paléontologie humaine depuis qu’elle a livré un fragment d’une phalange dont l’ADN a révélé, en 2010, l’existence d’une lignée humaine inédite, à qui a été donné le nom de cette grotte.

    Cette lignée est différente des néandertaliens qui peuplaient alors l’Europe, et d’Homo sapiens qui n’allait pas tarder à supplanter toutes ces populations. Les dénisoviens ne nous sont connus que par quelques ossements et quelques dents retrouvés dans la grotte de l’Altaï : on ne sait pas à quoi ils ressemblaient, mais on a pu retrouver des fragments de leur ADN dans le génome de populations actuelles de Papouasie ou d’aborigènes australiens. Mais aussi dans celui de populations arctiques, pour lesquelles la version dénisovienne de certains gènes influençant la gestion des tissus adipeux constituerait un avantage évolutif pour résister aux grands froids.

    Mais revenons à Denisova 11. L’étude de son ADN livre des informations d’une précision confondante sur son ascendance. L’équipe de Svante Pääbo a comparé son génome à celui de Denisova 3, la première dénisovienne identifiée et datée d’environ 40 000 ans, à celui d’un néandertalien trouvé dans la même grotte, et lui vieux de 120 000 ans environ, et aussi à celui d’un Africain actuel. Cette comparaison a montré que, chez Denisova 11, 38,6 % de fragments d’ADN pris au hasard se rapprochaient des spécificités d’un génome néandertalien, et 42,3 % de celui de Denisova 3.

    Cette quasi-parité pouvait signifier deux choses : soit qu’elle appartenait à une population dont les ancêtres étaient issus d’un mélange entre néandertaliens et dénisoviens ; soit que ses propres parents appartenaient chacun à un de ses groupes. Pour l’équipe de Leipzig, c’est cette seconde interprétation qui prévaut : Denisova 11 est une métisse de première génération, sa mère était néandertalienne, son père dénisovien.

    Coexister, « au sens biblique »

    Mais son arbre généalogique est encore plus mêlé : l’analyse génétique permet de plonger dans l’ascendance de son père dénisovien – c’est la partie de l’étude réalisée par Benjamin Vernot. « Il est probable que son père dénisovien a lui-même eu un ancêtre néandertalien, voire plusieurs, dans sa généalogie, possiblement aussi loin que 300 à 600 générations avant sa naissance », écrivent les chercheurs. Vertige de la profondeur d’analyse génétique…

    Et cet héritage néandertalien viendrait d’une population différente de celle à laquelle la mère de Denisova 11 est apparentée. Celle-ci était elle-même génétiquement plus proche de néandertaliens qui ont vécu en Croatie 20 000 ans plus tard que du « Neandertal de l’Altaï » retrouvé dans la même grotte de Denisova, et lui plus vieux de 50 000 ans.

    La reconstitution de ce puzzle génétique dessine donc un monde où des lignées humaines longtemps séparées restaient interfécondes et pouvaient à l’occasion avoir une descendance aux ramifications elles-mêmes croisées des générations plus tard. Elle suggère des mouvements de population sur de vastes territoires – 6 000 kilomètres séparent la grotte croate de Vindija et celle de Denisova.

    « Ces mouvements ont longtemps été envisagés sur un axe nord-sud, commente l’archéologue Pascal Depaepe (Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives), qui n’a pas participé à l’étude. C’était sûrement bien plus compliqué avec des mouvements latéraux, en l’occurrence est-ouest, de la Sibérie vers la Croatie. » Des mouvements dont il a étudié les indices dans du mobilier archéologique (des silex taillés), en Europe occidentale, note-t-il. « Mais la Sibérie, c’est encore plus loin ! » Il n’est pas exclu non plus que la parenté consatée entre Croatie et Altaï soit due à une migration néandertalienne ouest-est plus ancienne...

    Autre enseignement : « Cela montre que les populations préhistoriques se mélangeaient assez facilement, remarque Pascal Depaepe. Elles n’ont pas fait que cohabiter, mais se sont connues au sens biblique du terme. » « Bien sûr, on savait que cela arrivait, par des analyses génétiques antérieures, constate Benjamin Vernot. Mais trouver l’os d’un descendant direct de ces métissages, c’est très cool, et l’illustration de la force de la sérendipité » – c’est-à-dire de ces choses que l’on découvre par hasard ou par chance, une dimension qui fait partie intégrante des recherches en paléontologie, selon M. Depaepe.

    Questions de « fitness »

    « Grâce à ce type d’études la génétique rejoint enfin l’archéologie qui nous montrait de profondes convergences dans les savoir-faire et les techniques des populations néandertaliennes et Denisova, se réjouit Ludovic Slimak (CNRS, Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès). Ces convergences sont visibles dans les traditions techniques locales de ces deux populations, mais aussi plus largement vis-à-vis des populations néandertaliennes européennes. » Même si « la profondeur ethnographique de cette histoire-là nous échappe encore, note-t-il, on voit émerger quelque chose qui ressemble à une réalité concrète de ces populations humaines. Les peuples se rencontrent, se croisent, se déplacent. »

    Ces multiples métissages bousculent une nouvelle fois la définition de ce qu’est une espèce, en principe confinée dans les frontières de l’interfécondité. Svante Pääbo et ses collègues s’étaient d’ailleurs gardés, après la découverte de Denisova 3, de proposer un nom d’espèce binominal latin, comme pour Homo sapiens ou Homo neandertlhalensis. Si ces croisements étaient possibles, pourquoi néandertaliens et dénisoviens sont-ils restés génétiquement distincts ? Dans leur conclusion, Svante Pääbo et ses collègues écrivent que les premiers habitaient l’ouest de l’Eurasie, et les seconds une portion inconnue autour de l’Altaï. Les occasions de rencontres entre petits groupes, dans le temps et dans ces espaces immenses, n’étaient peut-être pas si fréquentes.

    Autre hypothèse : les individus issus de ces croisements auraient pu être en moins bonne santé que leurs parents et moins aptes à laisser une descendance – les scientifiques parlent de « fitness ». A l’inverse, notent-ils, l’arrivée de groupes plus nombreux d’Homo sapiens en Eurasie, venus d’Afrique autour de 60 000 ans, et eux aussi capables de se reproduire avec ces populations archaïques, a pu aboutir à leur « absorption » – un autre terme pour dire disparition.


  • Paléontologie : découverte en Sibérie d’une jeune métisse de 90 000 ans
    https://www.lemonde.fr/paleontologie/article/2018/08/22/paleontologie-decouverte-en-siberie-d-une-jeune-metisse-de-90-000-ans_534514


    Cet os trouvé en 2012 dans la grotte de Denisova (Altaï) par des archéologues russes appartenait à une adolescente (Denisova 11) dont la mère était néandertalienne, et le père dénisovien.
    T. HIGHAM, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

    Nous sommes tous métis, issus de brassages de populations immémoriaux. Mais Denisova 11 l’est d’une manière toute singulière. Cette ado vivait il y a environ 90 000 ans en Sibérie. Elle est morte vers l’âge de 13 ans, d’une cause inconnue, et a été enterrée dans la grotte de Denisova dans les montagnes de l’Altaï, où un fragment de ses os a été trouvé en 2012.

    Son ADN a été extrait et analysé, et son génome reconstitué a stupéfié les chercheurs : sa mère était une néandertalienne, et son père un dénisovien, deux lignées humaines disparues, dont il ne subsiste que quelques traces dans le patrimoine génétique d’une partie des hommes d’aujourd’hui.

    #paywall

    • L’article original (non accessible)…

      The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father | Nature
      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0455-x

      Abstract
      Neanderthals and Denisovans are extinct groups of hominins that separated from each other more than 390,000 years ago. Here we present the genome of ‘Denisova 11’, a bone fragment from Denisova Cave (Russia) and show that it comes from an individual who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. The father, whose genome bears traces of Neanderthal ancestry, came from a population related to a later Denisovan found in the cave. The mother came from a population more closely related to Neanderthals who lived later in Europe than to an earlier Neanderthal found in Denisova Cave, suggesting that migrations of Neanderthals between eastern and western Eurasia occurred sometime after 120,000 years ago. The finding of a first-generation Neanderthal–Denisovan offspring among the small number of archaic specimens sequenced to date suggests that mixing between Late Pleistocene hominin groups was common when they met.

      … est annoncé en une de Nature

      Mum’s a Neanderthal, Dad’s a Denisovan: First discovery of an ancient-human hybrid
      http://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06004-0

      Genetic analysis uncovers a direct descendant of two different groups of early humans.
      […]
      To find a first-generation person of mixed ancestry from these groups is absolutely extraordinary,” says population geneticist Pontus Skoglund at the Francis Crick Institute in London. “It’s really great science coupled with a little bit of luck.

    • Nous sommes tous métis, issus de brassages de populations immémoriaux. Mais Denisova 11 l’est d’une manière toute singulière. Cette ado vivait il y a environ 90 000 ans en Sibérie. Elle est morte vers l’âge de 13 ans, d’une cause inconnue, et a été enterrée dans la grotte de Denisova dans les montagnes de l’Altaï, où un fragment de ses os a été trouvé en 2012.

      Son ADN a été extrait et analysé, et son génome reconstitué a stupéfié les chercheurs : sa mère était une néandertalienne, et son père un dénisovien, deux lignées humaines disparues, dont il ne subsiste que quelques traces dans le patrimoine génétique d’une partie des hommes d’aujourd’hui.

      « Notre réaction ? La surprise », raconte Benjamin Vernot, qui a participé à ces analyses à l’Institut Max-Planck d’anthropologie évolutionniste de Leipzig, en Allemagne, la Mecque de l’étude de l’ADN ancien, dirigé par le pionnier Svante Pääbo.

      « C’était tellement fou qu’on a passé plusieurs mois à vérifier que ce n’était pas une erreur. » Les vérifications ont été jugées suffisamment solides pour que la découverte soit publiée, jeudi 23 août, dans la revue Nature.

      Précision confondante

      La grotte de Denisova est célèbre dans les cercles de la paléontologie humaine depuis qu’elle a livré un fragment d’une phalange dont l’ADN a révélé, en 2010, l’existence d’une lignée humaine inédite, à qui a été donné le nom de cette grotte.

      Cette lignée est différente des néandertaliens qui peuplaient alors l’Europe, et d’Homo sapiens qui n’allait pas tarder à supplanter toutes ces populations. Les dénisoviens ne nous sont connus que par quelques ossements et quelques dents retrouvés dans la grotte de l’Altaï : on ne sait pas à quoi ils ressemblaient, mais on a pu retrouver des fragments de leur ADN dans le génome de populations actuelles de Papouasie ou d’aborigènes australiens. Mais aussi dans celui de populations arctiques, pour lesquelles la version dénisovienne de certains gènes influençant la gestion des tissus adipeux constituerait un avantage évolutif pour résister aux grands froids.

      Mais revenons à Denisova 11. L’étude de son ADN livre des informations d’une précision confondante sur son ascendance. L’équipe de Svante Pääbo a comparé son génome à celui de Denisova 3, la première dénisovienne identifiée et datée d’environ 40 000 ans, à celui d’un néandertalien trouvé dans la même grotte, et lui vieux de 120 000 ans environ, et aussi à celui d’un Africain actuel. Cette comparaison a montré que, chez Denisova 11, 38,6 % de fragments d’ADN pris au hasard se rapprochaient des spécificités d’un génome néandertalien, et 42,3 % de celui de Denisova 3.

      Cette quasi-parité pouvait signifier deux choses : soit qu’elle appartenait à une population dont les ancêtres étaient issus d’un mélange entre néandertaliens et dénisoviens ; soit que ses propres parents appartenaient chacun à un de ses groupes. Pour l’équipe de Leipzig, c’est cette seconde interprétation qui prévaut : Denisova 11 est une métisse de première génération, sa mère était néandertalienne, son père dénisovien.

      Coexister, « au sens biblique »

      Mais son arbre généalogique est encore plus mêlé : l’analyse génétique permet de plonger dans l’ascendance de son père dénisovien – c’est la partie de l’étude réalisée par Benjamin Vernot. « Il est probable que son père dénisovien a lui-même eu un ancêtre néandertalien, voire plusieurs, dans sa généalogie, possiblement aussi loin que 300 à 600 générations avant sa naissance », écrivent les chercheurs. Vertige de la profondeur d’analyse génétique…

      Et cet héritage néandertalien viendrait d’une population différente de celle à laquelle la mère de Denisova 11 est apparentée. Celle-ci était elle-même génétiquement plus proche de néandertaliens qui ont vécu en Croatie 20 000 ans plus tard que du « Neandertal de l’Altaï » retrouvé dans la même grotte de Denisova, et lui plus vieux de 50 000 ans.

      La reconstitution de ce puzzle génétique dessine donc un monde où des lignées humaines longtemps séparées restaient interfécondes et pouvaient à l’occasion avoir une descendance aux ramifications elles-mêmes croisées des générations plus tard. Elle suggère des mouvements de population sur de vastes territoires – 6 000 kilomètres séparent la grotte croate de Vindija et celle de Denisova.

      « Ces mouvements ont longtemps été envisagés sur un axe nord-sud, commente l’archéologue Pascal Depaepe (Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives), qui n’a pas participé à l’étude. C’était sûrement bien plus compliqué avec des mouvements latéraux, en l’occurrence est-ouest, de la Sibérie vers la Croatie. » Des mouvements dont il a étudié les indices dans du mobilier archéologique (des silex taillés), en Europe occidentale, note-t-il. « Mais la Sibérie, c’est encore plus loin ! » Il n’est pas exclu non plus que la parenté consatée entre Croatie et Altaï soit due à une migration néandertalienne ouest-est plus ancienne...

      Autre enseignement : « Cela montre que les populations préhistoriques se mélangeaient assez facilement, remarque Pascal Depaepe. Elles n’ont pas fait que cohabiter, mais se sont connues au sens biblique du terme. » « Bien sûr, on savait que cela arrivait, par des analyses génétiques antérieures, constate Benjamin Vernot. Mais trouver l’os d’un descendant direct de ces métissages, c’est très cool, et l’illustration de la force de la sérendipité » – c’est-à-dire de ces choses que l’on découvre par hasard ou par chance, une dimension qui fait partie intégrante des recherches en paléontologie, selon M. Depaepe.

      Questions de « fitness »

      « Grâce à ce type d’études la génétique rejoint enfin l’archéologie qui nous montrait de profondes convergences dans les savoir-faire et les techniques des populations néandertaliennes et Denisova, se réjouit Ludovic Slimak (CNRS, Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès). Ces convergences sont visibles dans les traditions techniques locales de ces deux populations, mais aussi plus largement vis-à-vis des populations néandertaliennes européennes. » Même si « la profondeur ethnographique de cette histoire-là nous échappe encore, note-t-il, on voit émerger quelque chose qui ressemble à une réalité concrète de ces populations humaines. Les peuples se rencontrent, se croisent, se déplacent. »

      Ces multiples métissages bousculent une nouvelle fois la définition de ce qu’est une espèce, en principe confinée dans les frontières de l’interfécondité. Svante Pääbo et ses collègues s’étaient d’ailleurs gardés, après la découverte de Denisova 3, de proposer un nom d’espèce binominal latin, comme pour Homo sapiens ou Homo neandertlhalensis. Si ces croisements étaient possibles, pourquoi néandertaliens et dénisoviens sont-ils restés génétiquement distincts ? Dans leur conclusion, Svante Pääbo et ses collègues écrivent que les premiers habitaient l’ouest de l’Eurasie, et les seconds une portion inconnue autour de l’Altaï. Les occasions de rencontres entre petits groupes, dans le temps et dans ces espaces immenses, n’étaient peut-être pas si fréquentes.

      Autre hypothèse : les individus issus de ces croisements auraient pu être en moins bonne santé que leurs parents et moins aptes à laisser une descendance – les scientifiques parlent de « fitness ». A l’inverse, notent-ils, l’arrivée de groupes plus nombreux d’Homo sapiens en Eurasie, venus d’Afrique autour de 60 000 ans, et eux aussi capables de se reproduire avec ces populations archaïques, a pu aboutir à leur « absorption » – un autre terme pour dire disparition.


  • #Soviétisme #atmosphère #photographie #quelques images

    https://frankherfort.com/gallery/russian-fairy-tales

    Je crois me souvenir que quelques unes de ces images étaient exposées devant la gare de l’Est.

    #Frank_Herfort

    Live your life, how you wish your life should be. I love images and even more, I love to create them. I love travelling and moving around more then sitting at one place. My journey and inspiration to photography started in Leipzig, where I was born before the fall of the Berlin Wall. During my childhood, I was not interested in taking photos at all, and I even hated it so much that I pulled out the film of my mother´s camera to expose all images and make them useless. But later on, I realised that it is a perfect way of expressing things which you cannot explain in words. It´s possible to create magic and miracles with this medium. So, finally, I bought my first own camera with help of my first earned money and started the same day. But I soon felt that I must move forward and so I decided to go to Hamburg and London. There I studied and assisted to several photographers and worked on my first own commissions and projects. But life is unpredictable, and I finally ended up being in Moscow. This very charming city with all controversial sides of life gave me the possibilities to develop my cinematic-dream-like shooting style. All these mysterious things happening here let my photography heart beat stronger. Always looking for the surrealist aesthetic that denies journalistic facts and loving to create narrative story telling images.


  • INAUGURATION DE LA STATUE DE LUMUMBA A BERLIN. 08 10 2013
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9qf0L2AP-4

    A Berlin la statue de Patrice Lumumba reste cachée à l’abri des regards des foules de touristes. Ce serait un motif parfait pour les groupes de Chinois. Pour le moment ils se font tous prendre en photo devant la statue de Karl Marx et Friedrich Engels 350 mètres plus loin. Considérant le sort de l’arbre le plus célèbre de l’ère internet c’est pluôt rassurant pour Lumumba.
    https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/5237698977#map=19/52.52173/13.40277

    Cheik FITA
    Published on Oct 10, 2013
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    Le mardi 8 octobre 2013 à 17 heures à Garnisonkirchplatz à Berlin, la capitale de la République fédérale d’Allemagne, une sculpture en bronze de Lumumba a été installée et remise au public par la fondation Poll, devant une grande foule mixte.

    Cette statue dénommée, "Lumumba" (Transport à Thysville) a été réalisée en 1961 par Genni/Jenny Wiegmann-Mucchi (1895-1969).

    Plusieurs personnalités politiques, académiques... étaient là : allemandes, congolaises ainsi que d’autres nationalités. Comme officiels congolais il y avait François Lumumba, fils aîné du héros national congolais, She Okitundu représentant l’état congolais ainsi que l’ambassadrice de la RD Congo à Berlin.

    La cérémonie a commencé par une musique jouée au Madimba par la chanteuse Chantal Nyemba Cingoma venue de Leipzig.

    Suivront alors tour à tour,

    Deux discours de la fondation Poll (Kunst Stiftung Poll).

    La découverte de la statue,

    Les discours des officiels congolais

    Et enfin un verre d’amitié offert dans les bâtiments de la fondation Poll.

    À l’issue de la manifestation, nous avons interviewé François Lumumba et She Okitundu à propos de l’absence à ce jour en Belgique d’une place ou d’une statue de Lumumba.

    Pour François Lumumba, « comme Berlin, la ville qui a vu la naissance de l’état du Congo a fait ce pas, c’est déjà une bonne chose. »

    Quant à monsieur She Okitundu, ancien ministre congolais des affaires étrangères, il a affirmé que dans le cas de la Belgique, cette absence était une anomalie, surtout que l’ancienne métropole a déjà reconnu sa responsabilité morale dans la mort de Lumumba.

    La statue de Lumumba à Berlin pourrait devenir un lieu de pèlerinage. Illustration : un jeune d’une dizaine d’années s’appelant aussi Patrice Lumumba, est venu spécialement de Hanovre avec son père et son frère, afin de poser à côté de la statue de son illustre homonyme.

    Nous remercions la communauté congolaise d’Allemagne qui nous a facilité le séjour, la mobilité et l’accès à l’information. Plus spécialement, messieurs Shungu Tudanonga, Memba Gabriel, et Iseewanga Indongo-Imbanda, Danyo Ilunga.

    Berlin le 9 octobre 2013

    Aufstellen einer Lumumba-Skulptur in Berlin-Mitte - DAFRIG - Deutsch-Afrikanische Gesellschaft e.V.
    http://dafrig.de/aufstellen-einer-lumumba-skulptur-in-berlin-mitte

    Genni/Jenny Wiegmann-Mucchi

    #Berlin #Mitte #Garnisonskirchplatz #colonialisme äBelgique #Congo


  • La stratégie qui sauve les gorilles des montagnes en Afrique

    http://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2018/05/07/la-strategie-qui-sauve-les-gorilles-des-montagnes_5295662_1650684.html

    La population de gorilles des montagnes, en Afrique centrale et de l’Est – un millier d’individus environ –, est en augmentation. Un cas unique parmi les grands singes, menacés d’extinction.

    Le jour vient à peine de se lever, découvrant la tête encore embrumée du ­Mikeno. Fusil à l’épaule, les gardes silencieux avancent sur les versants du volcan couverts de champs de pommes de terre et de haricots, tirés au cordeau, qui mènent au parc des Virunga. Il y a longtemps que, sur ces hautes terres densément peuplées du Kivu, dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), les paysans se sont installés aux marches de la plus ancienne aire protégée d’Afrique.

    A peine franchie la fine clôture de fil de fer flanquée d’une pancarte fixant le début de la ­réserve, la nature reprend ses droits, et commence le royaume unique et fragile des ­derniers gorilles de montagne. Gorilla beringei beringei – toujours classée en danger critique d’extinction par l’Union internationale de ­conservation de la nature (UICN) – est la seule sous-espèce parmi les grands singes dont le nombre (880 au dernier ­recensement) soit en augmentation. A côté des moyens militaires ­déployés pour tenir à distance les braconniers et les groupes armés ­sévissant dans cette région fracturée par les guerres et la pauvreté, le rôle joué par les scientifiques est au cœur de ce rare succès d’une campagne de ­conservation, initiée à la fin des années 1960 par la primatologue américaine Dian Fossey.

    La ronde quotidienne peut commencer. « Nous devons savoir où ils se trouvent et vérifier qu’ils sont en bonne santé », explique le chef ranger, Martin Kazereri, quinze ans de service. Partis en éclaireurs, les pisteurs tracent à la ­machette une mince voie dans un mur de branches et de lianes entrelacées et encore ruisselantes des pluies abondantes de la nuit. Les coordonnées GPS relevées la veille servent de point de départ pour retrouver le chemin ­emprunté par le groupe. Au bout de deux heures de marche, dans le silence de la forêt, perce le bruit des bois qui craquent sous le poids des juvéniles grimpant vers les cimes.

    Au sol se dévoile le spectacle d’un imposant dos argenté entouré de quatre femelles et des ­petits tranquillement installés à jouer et à manger. La présence des rangers ne provoque aucune surprise. Les regards se croisent comme entre vieux amis. On s’observe. Puis la vie ­reprend son cours. Indifférente aux intrus. ­Bageni – qui signifie « accueillant » en ­kinyarwanda, la langue ­parlée dans cette région – a toujours connu les hommes. L’impavide dos argenté, âgé de 20 ans, a grandi dans une famille d’« habitués » avant de s’éloigner pour fonder son propre clan.

    A une distance réglementaire fixée à sept mètres minimum pour limiter les risques de transmission de virus, les gardes qui ont enfilé un masque sur le bas de leur visage, contrôlent l’état de ­l’assemblée, dénombrent les absents avant de se retirer. Toutes leurs observations seront consignées dans la grande base de données gérée au quartier général du parc à Rumangabo, où chaque gorille possède sa fiche d’identité agrémentée de sa photo et de son empreinte nasale.

    « Des mois en forêt sans voir un seul gorille »

    Ces patrouilles permettent de maintenir un contact avec les huit familles apprivoisées du parc des Virunga, où se trouve la partie la plus étendue de l’habitat du grand singe. Mais, au-delà des frontières avec l’Ouganda et le Rwanda, où des zones protégées ont également été sanctuarisées par la création de parcs nationaux, le même rituel rythme le travail des rangers. « Lorsque nous décidons de mettre les gorilles au contact des hommes, nous prenons aussi l’engagement de les protéger, car nous les rendons plus vulnérables. C’est un devoir », rappelle Anna Behm-Masozera, la directrice de l’International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP).

    Le décor n’est ici plus le même. Dans le centre de Kigali, la capitale rwandaise, au quatrième étage d’une tour, cette organisation, fondée en 1991 par deux ONG, le Fonds mondial pour la nature (WWF) et Fauna & Flora International, a aidé à mettre sur pied le dispositif de surveillance des gorilles dans les trois pays. Elle participe aux recensements que les scientifiques s’efforcent de mener tous les cinq à dix ans.

    En cette fin du mois de mars, Anna Behm-Masozera revient d’Ouganda. La forêt impénétrable de Bwindi, située au nord des Virunga, abrite la deuxième population de gorilles des montagnes sur un territoire de 330 kilomètres carrés. Un nouveau recensement vient d’y être lancé sous la tutelle de l’organisation transfrontalière réunissant les gestionnaires des parcs des trois pays. « Cela demande de gros efforts de temps et d’argent. Nous ne pourrions y parvenir sans une étroite collaboration. Plus de 150 personnes – pisteurs, chercheurs, porteurs, cuisiniers… – sont sur le terrain et se relaient tous les quinze jours dans la forêt », explique-t-elle.

    Les équipes ne se contentent pas de repérer les traces laissées par les primates, elles relèvent aussi tous les signes indiquant la présence d’activités ­illégales dans le parc. Le nombre de pièges est comptabilisé comme les sites de coupes illégales et de fabrication du charbon de bois qui restent une menace principale pour la forêt. « Elles vont partout où il est possible d’aller. Mille kilomètres ont été parcourus pour réaliser un premier comptage. Un deuxième sera réalisé en septembre, explique Mme Behm-Masozera. Aussi surprenant que cela puisse paraître, nous pouvons passer des mois en forêt sans voir un seul gorille. »

    Les résultats ne seront pas publiés avant fin 2019, lorsque le laboratoire de l’université de Californie, à Davis, aura livré l’analyse génétique des échantillons d’excréments qui lui ont été confiés. Cette technique fondée sur l’exploitation de l’ADN a été utilisée pour la première fois en 2010 par l’Institut Max Planck d’anthropologie évolutionniste, à Leipzig. Elle permet d’affiner l’inventaire jusque-là établi en comptant les nids que les gorilles construisent chaque soir pour passer la nuit.

    Une stratégie de conservation payante

    L’annonce de nouvelles évaluations est toujours un moment attendu avec fébrilité par les chercheurs. Elles sont le seul juge de paix de leur stratégie de conservation. Les derniers chiffres, qui ­remontent à 2010-2011, ont révélé un effectif total de 880 gorilles – 480 dans les Virunga et 400 dans l’enclave de Bwindi –, traduisant une hausse de 25 % par rapport au début de la décennie. Les résultats définitifs du recensement conduit en 2015 dans les Virunga pourraient, d’ici quelques semaines, montrer que le seuil du millier a été franchi.

    Si de nombreux chercheurs ont apporté leur pierre à cette success story, ceux du Karisoke ­Research Center, au Rwanda, peuvent sans fausse modestie revendiquer d’avoir toujours été aux avant-postes de cette longue bataille. Grâce à sa fondatrice, Dian Fossey, la plupart des connaissances accumulées sur les gorilles des montagnes proviennent de l’observation des groupes contactés depuis la fin des années 1960 dans la zone rwandaise. Aujourd’hui, le centre, après avoir traversé les heures les plus sombres du pays, poursuit son travail dans un élégant ­bâtiment blanc et vert installé sur l’avenue principale de la ville de Musanze, entre le palais de justice et l’hôpital.

    Par temps clair, le volcan Karisimbi et le mont Visoke, entre lesquels la primatologue, assassinée en 1985, avait installé son premier campement, se dessinent à l’horizon. L’icône continue d’inspirer les lieux. Au rez-de-chaussée, une ­exposition permanente invite le visiteur dans l’intimité de son bureau sur lequel est présenté le gros classeur noir où ont été soigneusement rangés ses notes dactylographiées et les nombreux croquis qui lui permettaient de représenter ­l’empreinte nasale, propre à chaque animal. Au mur, des photos jaunies figent la légende de la grande dame. « Elle a été la première à montrer au monde que les gorilles sont des géants pacifiques », commente Winnie Eckardt, qui dirige les programmes de recherche du centre depuis 2015.

    Mais, cinquante ans après le début de l’aventure, de nouvelles questions ont émergé. ­L’impact du changement climatique en fait partie. Les études ont montré des modifications – pour l’heure sans conséquence majeure – dans la densité et la distribution géographique des plantes dont se nourrissent les gorilles. Mais les chercheurs savent qu’un jour le sujet viendra s’ajouter aux multiples contraintes dont ils doivent tenir compte pour garantir la survie de l’espèce.

    En attendant, un autre événement intrigue ces infatigables observateurs : depuis quelques années, les familles ont tendance à se scinder en petits groupes. « Nous ne savons pas expliquer pourquoi, mais des relevés de terrain ont montré que, sur un territoire qui est restreint, cela entraîne des rencontres beaucoup plus fréquentes entre les groupes », rapporte la jeune femme en avouant la crainte de voir les conflits et les infanticides se multiplier à l’avenir.

    Elaboration d’un indicateur de stress

    Dans un article, publié en 2014, dans l’American Journal of Primatology, sur les déplacements des gorilles des montagnes, Damien Caillaud, après avoir étudié les mouvements, sur une période de douze ans, des groupes d’habitués suivis quotidiennement par le Karisoke Center, concluait par une nouvelle rassurante : « L’augmentation spectaculaire de la population des gorilles depuis les plus bas niveaux enregistrés au début des années 1980 ne s’accompagne pas d’une compétition ­accrue pour la nourriture. » Les groupes semblent avoir réglé cette possible rivalité en migrant vers des zones du parc moins densément occupées.


    Femelle gorille avec son petit, dans le parc des Virunga (République Démocratique du Congo), en février.

    En revanche, poursuit le chercheur français ­associé au centre rwandais : « Certains résultats pourraient annoncer de futurs problèmes. Nous observons qu’à partir de 2007 les groupes ont commencé à se diviser. De trois groupes de grande taille, ils ont évolué en neuf groupes de tailles ­variables [ils étaient onze en 2017]. Bien que ces ­familles ne semblent pas s’affronter pour la nourriture, leurs interactions ont été multipliées par six. Les rencontres entre les gorilles des montagnes peuvent être violentes, conduisant à des blessures ou à la mort. Les petits sont davantage en danger lorsque des dos argentés de groupes opposés cherchent à les tuer pour contraindre les femelles à les rejoindre. » Les grands mâles, qui pèsent jusqu’à 200 kilos et affichent une taille moyenne de 1,60 mètre, peuvent aussi être grièvement blessés. « Le nombre de décès survenus lors de ces contacts a été multiplié par deux. »

    « Seule cette mémoire que nous avons accumulée depuis des décennies sur le comportement des grands singes des Virunga nous permet de détecter de nouvelles menaces, de dire qu’il se passe quelque chose et au besoin d’alerter les gestionnaires des parcs », plaide Winnie Eckardt. Dans le bureau qu’elle occupe au premier étage du bâtiment, elle a troqué l’uniforme de terrain pour une jolie robe à fleurs. Ses nouvelles fonctions lui laissent moins de temps pour aller en forêt. Elle est aussi chargée d’encadrer la nouvelle génération des étudiants rwandais et congolais, qui assureront la protection des géants à l’avenir. Le centre ­accueille environ 400 étudiants chaque année et jusqu’à une vingtaine de jeunes chercheurs.

    Elle n’en a pas pour autant mis de côté ses propres travaux. Ses dernières investigations ont permis d’élaborer un indicateur de stress à partir des concentrations d’hormone glucocorticoïde détectée dans 6 000 échantillons de matières ­fécales provenant de 127 gorilles. « Les gorilles ­vivent dans un environnement en constante évolution. Nous devons savoir s’ils s’y adaptent sans difficulté ou si cela génère chez eux des troubles durables », explique-t-elle en montrant des courbes indiquant des pics de stress en fonction de différents événements. « Cette méthode permet de recueillir des informations de manière non ­intrusive pour l’animal. »

    Intervention de l’homme

    Interférer le moins possible. Continuer à les ­observer pour mieux les connaître et les protéger, sans modifier leurs comportements ni risquer de les mettre en danger. Fixer des limites à la présence des hommes qui, avec le développement du tourisme, a pris une ampleur que n’avaient pas imaginée les pionniers de la primatologie. A quelques pâtés de maison du Karisoke Research Center, les vétérinaires de l’association américaine Gorilla Doctors sont eux aussi confrontés à ce ­dilemme.

    « Nous avons une règle : n’intervenir que si leur vie est en danger du fait des hommes. Nous devons éviter de modifier la dynamique naturelle de ces populations », explique le docteur Jean Bosco Noheri, chargé du programme de surveillance. Une quarantaine d’interventions se produisent en moyenne par an. Il peut s’agir d’animaux pris au piège des braconniers ou blessés après s’être imprudemment aventurés dans les champs bordant les limites des parcs, pour y manger le maïs dont ils sont friands. Il arrive aussi qu’ils décident de sauver des gorilles qui se sont battus à mort – faisant une entorse aux principes.

    L’une des plus grandes craintes reste la transmission d’un virus humain, dont il serait difficile de maîtriser la propagation. A la fin des années 1980, des cas suspects de rougeole ont conduit à la vaccination d’une soixantaine de gorilles après plusieurs décès. L’origine du virus n’a jamais été établie avec certitude, provoquant une grande controverse parmi les scientifiques. « Notre proximité génétique rend ces primates très vulnérables. Des cas d’infection respiratoire d’origine humaine sont avérés », poursuit le vétérinaire rwandais en énumérant la checking-list en neuf points, qui doit être suivie lors des visites de contrôle régulièrement effectuées par les treize professionnels arpentant les différents parcs.

    Pertes de poids, nez qui coule, respiration difficile, présence de plaies… Lorsque cela est jugé nécessaire, de ­puissants antibiotiques sont administrés à distance grâce à des pistolets permettant d’atteindre l’animal sans que le soignant ait besoin le ­toucher. « Il est très difficile de trouver le juste ­équilibre, de savoir jusqu’où il faut aller dans la protection. Mais je crois que jusqu’à présent les ­risques que nous prenons ont été bien calculés », se rassure le docteur Noheri.

    Besoin d’espace

    Une chose est certaine. Dans les Virunga ou dans la forêt impénétrable de Bwindi, pour sauver les gorilles des montagnes de l’extinction, la conservation est sortie de ses sentiers balisés. Elle est allée bien au-delà de la gestion traditionnelle d’aires protégées pour inventer une approche que certains ont, depuis, qualifiée d’« extrême conservation ». « Il ne s’agit plus seulement de limiter l’impact négatif de l’homme sur la faune sauvage, mais de le faire intervenir positivement par des actions ciblées, en fournissant des soins vétérinaires et une surveillance rapprochée des animaux », théorisait Martha Robbins (Institut Max Planck) en 2011.

    Cela a nécessité des moyens financiers, eux aussi hors norme, assurés par des bailleurs étrangers, des grandes ONG internationales de protection de la nature et des recettes croissantes tirées du tourisme.


    Gorille mâle, dans le parc des Virunga (République Démocratique du Congo), en février.

    En se retournant sur le chemin accompli, Winnie Eckardt se dit fière d’avoir pu inscrire sa vie dans les pas de Dian Fossey. L’avenir, pourtant, n’est pas écrit. « Que va-t-il se passer ? Les gorilles survivent dans un espace si restreint. Deux toutes petites îles dans un milieu où la terre est si convoitée », s’interroge-t-elle. En janvier, l’ONG African Wildlife Foundation a offert au gouvernement rwandais les 27,8 hectares adjacents au parc qu’elle venait d’acquérir. Un confetti.

    Le geste est pourtant plus que symbolique. Pour que le peuple des gorilles des montagnes puisse continuer à croître, il a besoin d’espace. Si la superficie très circonscrite de son habitat a jusqu’à présent été un atout pour sa sauvegarde, les scientifiques savent que, dans un proche avenir, celui-ci pourrait devenir une limite qu’il sera difficile de repousser.

    Danger critique d’extinction

    Les deux espèces de gorilles ­suivies par l’Union internationale de conservation de la nature sont classées en danger critique ­d’extinction, le stade ultime avant que soit constatée leur disparition. Les gorilles de l’Ouest (Gorilla gorilla) sont les plus nombreux. La dernière estimation, publiée en avril, établit leur nombre à 361 900 pour la sous-espèce communément appelée « gorilles des plaines de l’Ouest » (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) dont l’habitat se répartit sur sept pays (Angola, Cameroun, Centrafrique, Congo, Gabon, Guinée équatoriale et ­Nigeria). Le Cameroun héberge aussi le gorille de la rivière Cross (Gorilla gorilla diehli) dont il ­restait moins de 300 individus au milieu des années 2000.

    L’autre espèce dite des gorilles de l’Est (Gorilla beringei) est présente en République démocratique du Congo, au Rwanda et en Ouganda. Il en resterait environ 4 000 dits des plaines de l’Est ­(Gorilla beringei graueri), et 880 pour la sous-espèce des gorilles des montagnes (Gorilla beringei beringei), qui est la seule dont le nombre augmente. Ces populations de l’Est africain ont particulièrement souffert des guerres répétées qui ont déchiré la région.


    • Là ils savent refaire à neuf de l’habitat.
      Tu montres la même chose a Lille, même refaite, une 1920 c’est ultra bof. Et comme en plus tout le monde agrandit sa 1920 individuelle (comprendre famille) sur son jardin, ça ressemble à des boites de conserves.
      Surpopulation + individualisme = mort

      Bon après, c’est facile de refaire du bâtit de DDR quand jusqu’en 2005, ça valait encore 200€ du m²

      Et puis une 1920 de base, c’est isolé comme si t’habitais à Barcelone, mais pas de bol, on est dans le Nord. Alors qu’une maison de Leipzig, c’est prévu pour tenir à -20°C.

      Pire que la 1920, y’a la 1950… en prime t’entends les voisins et t’as une inertie thermique de cabane de jardin : vive le béton.


  • Retombées désagréables : de gros soucis logistiques à prévoir pour l’opération #Barkhane

    Attaques en Syrie : comment Poutine coupe les ailes de l’armée de l’air en stoppant l’accès aux avions de transport Antonov - Challenges.fr
    https://www.challenges.fr/entreprise/defense/comment-poutine-coupe-les-ailes-de-l-armee-de-l-air-en-stoppant-l-acces-a

    Selon nos informations, rejoignant celles de Ouest-France, le groupe russe Volga-Dniepr a annoncé à l’OTAN qu’il arrêterait de fournir des avions de transport #Antonov_124 aux forces de l’alliance atlantique, dont la France, dès la fin de l’année 2018. Le groupe russe claque ainsi la porte du contrat #Salis, signé dans le cadre de l’OTAN, qui permettait aux armées européennes d’accéder aux fameux Antonov via un système d’heures de vol prépayées. Si Volga Dnepr est un groupe privé, le rôle du Kremlin, dans le contexte ultra-tendu du fait des possibles frappes franco-américaines en Syrie, apparaît évident. « Nous avons reçu des signaux forts selon lesquels cette décision est due aux sanctions américaines », peut-on lire dans un mail interne de l’armée française consulté par Challenges.

    Bien sûr, cette décision n’obère pas l’intégralité des capacités de projection des forces françaises. Celles-ci peuvent toujours s’appuyer sur 14 A400M (à la disponibilité certes très variable) et sur une flotte de C-130, de Transall et de Casa C295. L’armée de l’air peut aussi régulièrement compter sur l’appui de C-17 des alliés britanniques ou canadiens. La projection des forces peut également se faire par voie maritime puis terrestre, même si la solution est bien plus longue et complexe. La sortie de Volga Dnepr du contrat Salis n’en reste pas moins un coup dur pour les forces françaises. Pourquoi ? Parce que celles-ci, malgré l’arrivée de l’A400M d’Airbus, restent dépendantes des fameux Antonov 124 pour le transport de charges très lourdes (hélicoptères, blindés...)

    à la disponibilité certes très variable !… #certes !
    Doux euphémisme…

    • Assemblée nationale ~ Compte rendu de réunion de la commission de la défense nationale et des forces armées
      Mardi 20 septembre 2011 – Séance de 15 heures – Compte rendu n° 49
      http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/cr-cdef/10-11/c1011049.asp

      M. Louis Giscard d’Estaing, rapporteur. Nous apportons dans notre rapport des éléments sur la société ICS, mais je ne peux pas vous renseigner sur sa nationalité. Elle utilise plusieurs types d’avions en fonction de la charge à transporter : des Antonov 124, des Iliouchine 76, des Airbus A300, des Boeing 747 et des Hercule C130. Elle s’est engagée à baser un Antonov 124 sur l’aéroport de Châlons-Vatry, avec pour objectif de réduire les coûts. Les Antonov de la société Salis étaient basés à Leipzig en Allemagne, ce qui imposait des vols de positionnement chaque fois qu’ils devaient venir sur les bases françaises avant de partir sur les théâtres d’opérations, généralement en Afghanistan.

      Le général Philippe Carpentier qui est le responsable du centre multimodal de transport l’a reconnu lors de son audition le 6 avril dernier : à terme, même si nous disposons d’une capacité suffisante en A400M et MRTT, nous aurons toujours besoin d’un volume incompressible de 350 heures de vol par an d’Antonov 124 pour le fret hors gabarit. Se pose dès lors la question de savoir s’il vaut mieux affréter 350 heures de vol ou acheter un Antonov 124, sachant que les besoins de nos forces peuvent varier selon les années.

    • À propos des Antonov 124 : soupçons de #corruption (article du 4/12/2017)

      L’armée lâche son fournisseur de gros porteurs Antonov alors que le PNF enquête - Challenges.fr
      https://www.challenges.fr/entreprise/defense/l-armee-lache-son-fournisseur-de-gros-porteurs-antonov-alors-que-le-pnf-e

      Fin de partie pour ICS. Selon nos informations, le contrat liant l’armée à cette société française spécialisée dans l’affrètement d’avions de transport Antonov 124 n’a pas été renouvelé par le ministère des armées. Celui-ci a décidé le 30 novembre de ne pas procéder au renouvellement annuel prévu par cet accord signé en 2015, une décision confirmée à Challenges par l’hôtel de Brienne. Un nouvel appel d’offres devrait donc être organisé dans au second semestre 2018, «  sur la base d’une analyse nouvelle des besoins et de l’offre  », explique-t-on dans l’entourage de la ministre des Armées Florence Parly. Selon une source proche du dossier, c’est le cabinet de la ministre qui aurait imposé cette décision au CSOA (Centre du soutien des opérations et des acheminements), la division spécialisée dans le transport basée sur la base aérienne de Vélizy-Villacoublay. Ce dernier préconisait le renouvellement du contrat ICS.

      L’affaire est loin de se résumer à une simple renégociation commerciale. ICS était l’un des deux canaux utilisés par l’armée pour affréter des Antonov 124 russes et ukrainiens, seuls appareils de transport de taille suffisante pour le transport stratégique de certains matériels très lourds, une capacité essentielle pour la projection des force françaises. L’autre canal, toujours actif, est le recours à un contrat dit Salis, signé par plusieurs pays de l’OTAN pour accéder aux fameux Antonov. L’armée de l’air dispose bien d’une flotte d’avions de transports, mais celle-ci ne peut répondre qu’à un quart des besoins, du fait des retards de livraisons de l’A400M et de l’absence de très gros porteurs comme l’Antonov 124 ou le C-5 Galaxy américain. Le CSOA a donc toujours tenu à avoir une double source pour accéder aux Antonov 124, denrée rare sur le marché : un contrat privé (ICS), et le contrat Otan dit Salis.
      […]
      L’autre raison, plus officieuse, c’est que le fameux contrat liant cette micro-société à l’armée sent la poudre. Les conditions du contrat avaient déjà été dénoncées en mars dernier dans un rapport du député François Cornut-Gentille, dévoilé par Challenges et le Monde, qui évoquait des soupçons de #favoritisme, des prix jugés excessifs et des #irrégularités dans la passation de marchés publics. Dès son arrivée, la ministre des armées Florence Parly, avait d’ailleurs saisi la justice au titre de l’article 40 du code de procédure pénale, qui enjoint à toute autorité ayant connaissance d’un crime ou d’un délit d’en informer le procureur de la République.

    • Interrogée par Challenges en mars dernier, ICS assurait être victime d’une campagne de désinformation lancée par la concurrence russe, dont SAS serait l’aiguillon. ICS attaquait aussi régulièrement ses rivaux : la société s’était plainte en 2015 de l’attribution d’un marché de transport pour les forces spéciales à son concurrent Pegasus Air Drop, créé par Pierre-Louis Lavie de Rande... lui aussi ancien du CSOA.

      La mise à l’écart d’ICS ouvre la voie à un nouvel appel d’offres, qui risque de se limiter à une poignée de candidats, tant l’Antonov 124 est une denrée rare sur le marché. La grosse vingtaine d’An-124 disponibles dans le monde est en effet détenue par seulement trois compagnies, qui fournissent les avions aux affréteurs privés et même à l’Otan : une ukrainienne (Antonov DB) et deux russes (une privée, Volga-Dnepr, et une société publique, TTF Air 224). Quel que soit le scénario choisi, la France restera donc dans un état de dépendance inquiétant.

      (conclusion de l’article de décembre 2017…)

    • et donc, l’article de mars 2017

      Transport militaire : l’incroyable dépendance russe de la France - Challenges.fr
      https://www.challenges.fr/entreprise/defense/transport-militaire-l-incroyable-dependance-russe-de-la-france_463147

      Un Scud. Le député François Cornut-Gentille a jeté un sacré pavé dans la marre militaire en présentant devant la commission des finances de l’Assemblée nationale, mardi 28 mars, un rapport au vitriol consacré au transport stratégique de l’armée française.

      Le constat est double :
      • un, l’entrée en service de l’A400M ne va pas supprimer le recours des forces françaises aux gros porteurs ukrainiens Antonov An-124, aux capacités d’emport cinq fois supérieure à celle de l’avion européen
      • deux, cette situation met la France en situation de dépendance vis-à-vis de l’Ukraine, et surtout de la Russie. La grosse vingtaine d’An-124 disponibles dans le monde est en effet détenue par seulement trois compagnies : une ukrainienne (Antonov DB) et deux russes (une privée, Volga-Dnepr, et une société publique, TTF Air 224).

      La conclusion du député fait froid dans le dos. «  Dans les faits, ce sont les Russes et les Ukrainiens qui ont la maîtrise de la projection de nos forces sur les théâtres extérieurs, assène le député dans son rapport. C’est une véritable épée de Damoclès qui est suspendue au-dessus de la France.  » Une arme redoutable dans les mains du Kremlin, dont Vladimir Poutine s’est déjà servi, estime François Cornut-Gentille : l’élu de la Haute-Marne rappelle que la société russe TTF Air 224 a interrompu ses vols au profit de la France en septembre 2015… soit un mois seulement après l’annulation du contrat des porte-hélicoptères Mistral à la Russie, prononcée en août. «  La mise à disposition d’Antonov 224 devient un enjeu diplomatique, déplore François Cornut-Gentille. Une nouvelle dégradation des relations avec ces deux Etats [Ukraine et Russie] pourrait paralyser totalement les capacités de projection aérienne de la France. En dépit des grandes phrases, l’autonomie stratégique est en réalité virtuelle.  »

      98% de pièces russes
      Un compte-rendu de réunion de l’Agence européenne de défense et de la NSPA, (l’agence de soutien logistique) de l’OTAN, consulté par Challenges, confirme cette dépendance. Ce document, adressé en juin 2015 aux responsables du transport stratégique de l’armée française, évoquait des «  risques politiques de rupture de service élevés en raisons de la dépendance à des moyens sous contrôle de la Russie  ». Car si les Antonov sont des avions ukrainiens, «  98% des pièces de rechange viennent de Russie, les 2% restants de l’est de l’Ukraine  », soulignait le compte-rendu.

    • Transport aérien : soupçons de trafic d’influence dans l’armée (10/03/2018)
      https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/secrets-d-info/secrets-d-info-10-mars-2018

      C’est une véritable « bombe judiciaire » au sein de l’armée française.

      Favoritisme, irrégularités sur les marchés publics, usage de faux, et même trafic d’influence… La liste des soupçons sur lesquels enquête depuis l’été 2017 le Parquet national financier (PNF) agite le ministère des Armées.
      […]
      En octobre 2016, la Cour des comptes est la première à relever des «  anomalies  » dans le recours régulier à ICS. Le ministère de la Défense, alors dirigé par Jean-Yves Le Drian est informé, mais aucune procédure interne n’est déclenchée. Contacté, l’ancien ministre de la Défense, n’a pas souhaité répondre. Quelques mois plus tard, un courrier de dénonciation est envoyé par un mystérieux corbeau à la presse, au ministère de la Défense et à des sociétés concurrentes. Le dossier finit par atterrir sur le bureau des juges. À l’intérieur se trouvent des documents internes à ICS et des échanges de mails avec des responsables de l’état-major. «  Une entreprise de déstabilisation orchestrée par un ancien salarié  », pour le patron d’ICS, Philippe de Jonquières. Dans le petit milieu des entreprises privées qui concourent aux marchés du CSOA - elles sont une dizaine - les concurrents se frottent les mains, mais s’inquiètent de voir la justice s’intéresser à ce marché. «  C’est un marigot fait de contrats opaques, de clientélisme et de menaces contre ceux qui osent parler  » commente le responsable d’une entreprise du secteur.

      Les dysfonctionnements au sein du transport stratégique attisent la curiosité du député LR François Cornut-Gentille, qui publie en mars 2017 un rapport de la Commission des finances sur le sujet. «  On a eu du mal à comprendre les prix, qui sont difficilement explicables, commente le député. Curieusement, l’armée française utilise ICS qui est beaucoup plus cher. J’ai été assez saisi devant l’inertie des états-majors, du ministère. En dépit des questions qu’on a formulées, on n’a eu aucune explication claire.  »

    • Antonov ready to offer NATO AN-124 support as Volga-Dnepr bows out - The Loadstar
      https://theloadstar.co.uk/antonov-ready-offer-nato-124-support-volga-dnepr-bows

      Antonov Airlines is ready to provide any required additional support to the EU and NATO’s Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme, following the exit of Volga-Dnepr, the other major operator of the AN-124 aircraft.

      … 50% plus cher que les Russes…

      According to the German media, last year Volga-Dnepr performed 973 hours for SALIS, while Antonov operated for 629 hours. Antonov set its fee at €37,500, while Volga-Dnepr’s flying hour charge was €23,300.

      The largest user of SALIS services was the German armed forces, which reserved 1,080 hours for 2017 and 980 hours for 2018, and the French Air Force.

      As a French MP noted, replacing the AN-124 with the A400M military transport aircraft would require five aircraft instead of one, and the cost of flights would triple.


  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 12
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM12.htm

    Prisoners of the System

    “Let me introduce you," - colonel Kondakov said, ‘lieutenant-colonel Dinashvili.’

    I shook hands with a man in gray civilian clothes. His white shirt was open at the collar and he was not wearing a tie: an exaggerated negligence in civil attire, characteristic of the professional officer. A puffy face, whitish complexion, obviously long unacquainted with sunlight. A weary indifference in the black, staring eyes. A flabby handgrip.

    At the request of the M. V. D.’s Central Operational Group, Colonel Kondakov and I had gone to their headquarters. There were certain matters in their hands, which overlapped analogous material in Colonel Kondakov’s department, and so the M. V. D. had invited the S. M. A. into consultation and assistance. Kondakov studied the reports of previous examinations of certain prisoners, and other material relating to them. The first case was that of a former scientific worker in the laboratory at Peenemunde, the headquarters of German research into rocket-missiles.

    ‘A slight delay!’ the lieutenant-colonel said with a glance at the door. ‘I’ve given orders for him to be made rather more presentable first.’

    ‘Have you had him long?’ Kondakov asked.

    ‘Some seven months,’ Dinashvili answered in a drowsy tone, as though he had not slept a wink since the day of his birth. ‘We received certain information from agents, and decided to take a closer look at him.’

    ‘But why... in such circumstances?’ the colonel asked.

    ‘He was living in the western zone, but his mother is in Leipzig. We ordered her to write to him and ask him to visit her. And now we’ve got to keep him under lock and key until the question’s cleared up.’

    ‘But how did his mother come to agree?’

    ‘We threatened to expropriate her greengrocer’s shop if she didn’t. We told her we only wanted to have a friendly talk with her son,’ Dinashvili explained with a yawn.

    A little later a sergeant brought in the prisoner. The chalky whiteness of the man’s face and his feverish, deeply sunken eyes were more eloquent than all the M. V. D. endeavors to make him more presentable.

    ‘Well, you get to work on him, and I’ll take a rest.’ Dinashvili yawned again and stretched himself out on a sofa. The prisoner, an engineer and expert on artillery weapons, was of particular interest to us, for according to agents’ reports he had worked in the ’third stage’, as it was called, at Peenemunde.

    The ’first stage’ was concerned with weapons already tested in practice and being produced serially; the ’second stage’ dealt with weapons that had not gone beyond the phase of tests inside the works; the ’third stage’ was concerned with weapons that had not got farther than the planning phase. We knew all about the results of the work of the first two stages, but the ’third stage’ represented a gap in our knowledge, for almost all the designs and formulae, etc., had been destroyed at the time of the capitulation. No factual material whatever had fallen into our hands; our only source of information was the oral testimony of a number of persons.

    Judging by the reports of the interrogations so far made, the prisoner held for examination had worked among a group of scientists whose task was to produce guided rockets for anti-aircraft defense. The German decision to explore this line of activity had been due to the fact that the Allies’ air-offensive powers had greatly outstripped Germany’s air-defense resources.

    The rockets were planned to be shot from special mountings, without precise ranging on the target. At a certain distance from the target plane, highly sensitive instruments built into the rocket head automatically directed the missiles and exploded them in the target’s immediate vicinity. The Germans had already effectively exploited the same principle in magnetic mines and torpedoes, so causing the Allied fleets serious losses in the early days of the war.

    In the case of a rocket the problem was complicated by the much greater velocity both of the missile and of its target, by the smaller dimensions of the target, and by the fact that an aeroplane is constructed mainly of non-magnetic metal. Nonetheless, we had indications that the Germans had actually found the solution to these problems. But there were many contradictory opinions as to how they had done so, whether by radar, photo-electric cells, or in some other manner.

    The reports of the interrogations showed that the prisoner had been ordered to reconstruct all the formulae and construction plans of the V-N rocket out of his own head. Colonel Kondakov turned the inquiry in a very different direction. After comparing the available data he tried to determine the position the prisoner had occupied in the complicated system of the Peenemunde scientific staff. He clearly saw that one individual could not possibly know every aspect of the work on the project, as the M. V. D. demanded.

    ‘Would you be prepared to continue your work in a Soviet research institute?’ he asked the prisoner.

    ‘I’ve already asked again and again for an opportunity to prove the accuracy of my statements,’ the prisoner replied. ‘Here I can prove very little. You understand.’

    The gray form lying with his back to us on the sofa came abruptly to life. The lieutenant-colonel sprang to his feet. ‘You want your freedom? Then why did you flee to the West?’ He stormed and raged at the prisoner, who shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

    ‘I propose to place him at the disposition of General...’ Kondakov turned to Dinashvili, mentioning the name of the general who was in charge of the Soviet research station at Peenemunde. ‘There we’ll get out of him all he knows.’

    ‘But supposing he escapes?’ The lieutenant-colonel gave the prisoner a distrustful glance.

    ‘Comrade Lieutenant-Colonel,’ Kondakov smiled stiffly, ‘for us the decisive question is how we can extract the greatest possible advantage from each individual case. I shall apply to higher authority to have the man transferred to Peenemunde.’

    We turned to the next case, which was connected with an idea for a really fantastic invention. Plans had not gone beyond the stage of the inventor’s own calculations and sketches, and had never been tested by any official German organization. The man had been living in the French zone, and had offered his project to the French authorities for their consideration. The interested Soviet quarters had learnt of his plans through the intermediary of the French Communist Party, and they had put the case in the hands of the M. V. D.

    How the German inventor had been brought to the Soviet zone was not mentioned in the reports; one learned merely that he had been ten months in the cellars of the Potsdam Operational Group, and had been encouraged to continue work on his invention with all the numerous means it possessed of ’bringing influence to bear’.

    We were confronted with a fairly young man, by profession - an electrical engineer who had specialized on low-tension current problems. During the war he had worked in the research laboratories of several important electro-technical firms concerned with telemechanics and television. He had been working on his invention for a number of years, but the plans had only begun to take practical shape towards the end of the war, by which time the German military authorities were no longer interested in such things.

    He began to explain his invention, referring to the works of leading German scientists in the field of optics, for support. It was to consist of two instruments, a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter, a comparatively small instrument, was intended to be dropped some miles behind the enemy lines; and when in operation the receiver, situated on the other side of the front, would show on a screen everything that was happening between the two instruments; in other words, all the enemy’s dispositions and technical resources. The use of a series of transmitters and receivers would provide a survey of any desired sector of the front.

    There was no indication in the reports of the reason why the M. V. D. had held the prisoner for ten months. With their characteristic distrust, its officers assumed that he was attempting to conceal details from them, and tried every means of forcing him to say more than he actually knew.

    In this case Colonel Kondakov tried a different tack from the one he had taken with the rocket specialist: he attempted to find out how far the inventor had realized his ideas in practice. He was interested not only in the theory but also in the feasibility of its application. He plied the man with expert questions in the field of wireless telegraphy and television. The man passed the test with honor. But, with an obstinacy rarely met with behind the walls of the M. V. D., he hesitated to give up the key details of his invention. Possibly he was afraid the M. V. D. would liquidate him as an unnecessary and inconvenient witness when he had told them.

    ‘Would you be prepared to demonstrate that your plan is technically feasible within the walls of a Soviet research institute?’ Kondakov asked him.

    ‘Herr Colonel, that’s the one thing I wish for, the one thing I’ve asked for again and again,’ the man answered in a quivering voice.

    ‘He’s lying, the swine!’ a voice shouted from the sofa. Dinashvili sprang to his feet again. ‘He’s only looking for an opportunity to escape. Why did he offer his invention to the French?’

    ‘I propose to place this man at the disposition of Colonel Vassiliev in Arnstadt,’ Kondakov told the M. V. D. officer. ‘If Vassiliev takes a negative view of his proposals, you can have him back and settle the matter as you wish.’

    ‘The way you’re going on you’ll let all my prisoners escape,’ Dinashvili fumed.

    We devoted the rest of the day to examining various documents, chiefly agents’ reports on German scientists and technicians in the western zones. We had to decide how far these people could be of practical use to the Soviet Union. If we thought they could be, the M. V. D. took further steps to ’realize the opportunity’.

    We were finished late in the afternoon. Glancing at the clock, I decided to phone Andrei Kovtun. When I told him I was in Potsdam he invited me to call on him in his office.

    Several months had passed since our first meeting in Karlshorst. Meanwhile, he had been visiting me almost every week. Sometimes he arrived in the middle of the night, sometimes towards dawn. If I offered him some supper or breakfast, he only waved his hand wearily and said: ‘I merely wanted to drop in for a little while. I’ll have a nap on your couch.’

    At first I was astonished by these irregular, purposeless visits; he seemed to find a morbid pleasure in talking about our school and student days. He went over the tiniest detail of our youthful experiences again and again, always ending with the exclamation: ‘Ah, they were great days!’ It sometimes seemed to me that he came and talked to me simply to escape from his present circumstances.

    I asked Colonel Kondakov to drop me outside the building of the M. V. D. central administration, where Andrei worked. A pass was already waiting for me at the inquiry office. In the dusk of the summer evening I walked through the garden and up to the second storey, where Andrei had his room.

    ‘Well, pack up!’ I said as I entered. ‘We’re going to Berlin.’ “Hm! You’re finished for the day, but I’m only just beginning,” he snarled.

    ‘What the devil did you ask me to come here for then?’ I said angrily. After spending the day in Lieutenant-Colonel Dinashvili’s company I felt an urgent desire to have some fresh air as soon as possible.

    ‘Don’t get worked up, Grisha! I’ve often been to your place, and you’ve never been here before.’

    ‘I’ve already spent all day in a similar hole,’ I retorted, making no attempt to conceal my annoyance. ‘I’ve no wish to stick here. If you like, we’ll go to Berlin and see a show. If not....’

    ‘You’d like to see a show?’ he interrupted. ‘Well, you can see a good show here too. Things you’d never see in a theater.’

    ‘I don’t feel like it today,’ I insisted.

    ‘Now listen, Grisha!’ He changed his tone, and his voice recalled the days when he had sat astride my chair. ‘For a long time now I’ve been interested in a certain question. To make you understand, I shall have to go rather a long way back. You and I have nothing to conceal from each other. Nobody in the world knows me better than you do.’

    He was silent for a moment or two, then he added: ‘But to this very day I don’t know you....’

    ‘What is it you want to know then?’ I asked.

    He went to the door and turned the key. Then from sockets in the wall he pulled several plugs attached to cords running to his desk.

    ‘Do you remember our childhood?’ he said as he leaned back in his chair. ‘You were a boor just like me. And you must have had the same sort of sensitive reaction as I had. But you never said a word. In those days it used to make me mad with you. But now I must regard it as something praiseworthy. Do you know why?’

    I made no comment. After a moment he went on, staring under his desk:

    ‘It’s an old story. I was fourteen years old when it happened. On the very eve of the October celebrations I was summoned to the school director’s room. He had another man with him. Briefly and simply, this man took me to the G. P. U. There I was accused of having stuck cigarette butts on Stalin’s portrait, and other counter-revolutionary crimes.

    Of course it was all sheer lies. Then they told me that as I was so young they were prepared to forgive me if I was prepared to work with them. What could I do? I was forced to sign a document condemning me to collaboration and silence. And so I became a N. K. V. D. spy. I hated Stalin with all my heart, I decorated the toilet walls with anti-Soviet slogans, and yet I was a N. K. V. D. spy. Don’t get anxious! I never denounced anybody. When they pestered me too much I wrote in charges against similar spies. As I was in touch with the G. P. U. I knew their people. It didn’t do them any harm.’

    He fidgeted in his seat and said without raising his eyes: ‘I was mad with you in those days because you didn’t share your thoughts frankly with me. I was convinced that you thought as I did. When we were students... do you remember Volodia?’

    He mentioned the name of a mutual friend who had graduated from the Naval Academy shortly before the war broke out. ‘He used to talk to me openly. But you were always silent. And all the time it went on like that. I joined the Young Communists. You didn’t. Now I’m in the Party. You’re not. I’m a major in the State Security Service, and at the same time I’m a bigger enemy of the system than all my prisoners put together. But are you still a convinced Soviet citizen? Why are you so silent, damn you?’

    ‘What is it you want from me?’ I asked with a strange indifference. ‘An avowal of counter-revolutionary sentiments, or assurances of devotion to Stalin?’

    ‘Ah! You don’t need to tell me that!’ He shook his head wrath-fully. ‘I simply regard you as my best friend, and so I’d like to know what you really are.’

    ‘Then what am I to say to you?’

    ‘Why don’t you join the Party?’ He gave me the vigilant look of an interrogating officer.

    ‘It isn’t difficult for me to answer that question,’ I said. ‘It’s more difficult for you to answer the question: ’Why did you join the Party?’’

    ‘Wriggling again!’ he cried in a blind fury, and let slip a foul curse. ‘Forgive me, it fell out!’ he said apologetically.

    ‘It’s all because your life flatly contradicts your convictions, Andrei,’ I said. ‘But I do only just so much....’

    ‘Aha! So that’s why you don’t join the Party!’ he exclaimed with unconcealed malevolence.

    ‘Not entirely,’ I protested. ‘When I flew from Moscow here I had every intention of joining the Party on my return.’

    ‘You had?’ He stressed the word derisively.

    ‘There’s no point in arguing over grammatical tenses, Comrade Interrogating Officer.’ I tried to turn the talk into a joke. I had the singular thought that the major of the State Security Service sitting opposite me suspected me of sympathizing with communism and was trying to convict me of this sympathy.

    ‘Grisha, putting all jokes on one side,’ he said, staring straight into my eyes, ‘tell me, are you a blackguard or aren’t you?’

    ‘And you?’ I retorted.

    ‘Me?... I’m a victim....’ He let his eyes drop. ‘I have no choice. But you’re free.’

    There was a dead silence. Then that hysterical, toneless cry came again: ‘Tell me, are you a blackguard or aren’t you?’

    ‘I do all I can to become a good communist,’ I answered thought-fully. I tried to speak honestly, but my words sounded false and hypocritical.

    He sat for a time without speaking, as though seeking a hidden meaning in my words. Then he said calmly and coldly: ‘I think you’re speaking the truth, and I believe I can help you.... You want to learn to love the Soviet regime. Isn’t that so?’

    As he received no answer, he continued: ‘I had an acquaintance. Today he’s a big shot in Moscow. He did it like this: He arrested a man and accused him of making or planning to make an attempt on Stalin’s life, a blow against the Kremlin, of poisoning the Moscow water supply, and similar crimes. Then he handed him a statement already drawn up and said: ’If you love Stalin sign this!’’ Andrei smiled forcedly and added: ‘And I can help you to love Stalin. Agreed? I’ll arrange a little experiment for you. I’m sure it will help you in your endeavor to be a good communist.’

    ‘What am I to do?’ I asked, feeling thoroughly annoyed. This conversation was getting on my nerves, especially as it was taking place in the M. V. D. headquarters. ‘I have no intention of signing any statement. And I certainly shan’t come here to see you again.’

    ‘One visit will be enough.’ He smiled sardonically and looked at his watch. ‘The show will be starting in a moment. But now, not another word.’ He replaced the plugs of the telephone cords in their sockets. He opened a drawer and took out various documents, and after checking them reached for the telephone. From the conversation that ensued I gathered that the investigating officers sub-ordinate to Andrei were at the other end of the line. Finally he nodded with satisfaction and replaced the receiver.

    ‘Act one, scene one. You can think of your own title later,’ he said quietly, and switched on a dictaphone in front of him on the desk. Two voices sounded in the stillness of that large room: a pleasant, feminine voice in pure German, and a man’s voice speaking German with a pronounced Russian accent.

    ‘If you don’t mind, Herr Lieutenant, I’d like to ask about my husband,’ the woman said.

    ‘The only definite thing I can say is that his fate depends wholly and entirely on your work for us.’

    ‘Herr Lieutenant, it’s exactly a year since you promised me that if I fulfilled certain conditions my husband would be released in a few days,’ the woman said.

    ‘The material you’ve brought in to us recently has been unsatisfactory. It would be very unpleasant for me if we were forced to take certain measures. You might happen to meet your husband in a place where you wouldn’t wish to.’

    The woman gave a suppressed moan. Andrei switched off the dictaphone, took a sheet of paper out of a file and handed it to me. It was a decision of a M. V. D. military tribunal, condemning a man to twenty-five years’ forced labor ’for terroristic activities directed against the Soviet army’s occupation forces’.

    ‘He’d been a communist since 1928,’ Andrei explained. ‘Spent eight years in a Nazi concentration camp. One month after the beginning of the occupation he resigned from the Communist Party. He talked too much. You see the result. His wife works as a translator for the British. She enjoys their trust because she’s the wife of a man who has been persecuted by the Hitler regime. Since we imprisoned her husband they trust her even more. Until recently she was an extremely valuable agent of ours.’

    He nodded to me to be silent, and switched on the dictaphone again. This time two men were talking, also in German.

    ‘You’ve come well out of the test recently. Now we want to give you a more responsible commission,’ said a voice speaking with a Russian accent. ‘At one time you were an active member of the National Socialist Party. We’ve given you the chance to join the S. E. D. Now we expect you to justify the trust we’ve placed in you.’

    ‘Herr Captain, even when I was a member of the N. S. D. A. P. - and I was only a member because of circumstances-1 always sympathized with the ideals of communism and looked hopefully to the East,’ a voice said in pure German. ‘Today the S. E. D. has a large number of members who formerly sympathized with the ideas of national socialism,’ the first voice replied. ‘We’re particularly interested in these nationalistic tendencies among the S. E. D. members.

    Such people are really working for the restoration of fascism, and they’re the most bitter enemies of the new, democratic Germany. And as a former national-socialist you’ll be trusted by such people more than anyone else will. In future your task will be not only to register any such expression of opinion, but also even to sound your comrades’ moods and tendencies. You must pay particular attention to the following people.’ He read out a list of names.

    Andrei cut off the dictaphone and looked at a document: "A Gestapo spy since 1984. Has worked for us since May 1945. So far, on the basis of his reports 129 arrests have been made. He’s been accepted in the S. E. D. on our recommendation.

    ‘Ah, here’s a case of love in the service of the State,’ he remarked as he opened another file. ‘Baroness von... Since 1928 has been running a matrimonial agency for higher society and has simultaneously owned brothels. A Gestapo agent since 1936. Registered with us since July 1945. Has two sons prisoners of war in the U. S. S. R. The head of the prisoner of war camp has been ordered not to release them without the special instructions of the M. V. D. Are you interested in pretty girls? Look!’

    He handed a portfolio and a card index across the desk. On the portfolio cover was a series of numbers and pseudonyms; they corresponded with similar references in the card index, which contained personal details. At the top of the portfolio was the photograph of a gray-haired, well-set-up woman in a white lace collar.

    I opened the portfolio: it contained a number of sheets to which the photographs of young, beautiful girls were attached. These were the baroness’s protégées, and with their unusual beauty they were a credit to her philanthropic institutions. In addition to the normal personal details each sheet bore an entry: ’compromising details.’

    Beneath the picture of a happy, smiling, fair-haired girl this entry commented: ’Fiancé served in the Wafien-S. S. In Soviet hands since 1944. 1946, syphilis.’ The next photograph was of a girl with the eyes of a young doe; it had the note: ’Father a member of the N. S. D. A. P. Interned in U. S. S. R. 1944, illegitimate child.’ Next came a brunette and the comment: ’Registered with the police on account of prostitution. 1946: illegitimate child by a negro.’

    All the comments provided exact dates and factual material. ‘The baroness’s house is in the American zone,’ Andrei explained, ‘and her sphere of activities corresponds.’ He took the photo of the girl with doe’s eyes from me, noted the code number, took a file bearing the same number from his desk and said: ‘Look!’

    It contained the girl’s reports as an agent. Photos of American soldiers. Numbers; dates; love letters, for attestation of the signatures; details of places of service, personal manner of living, political attitude, American home addresses.

    ‘What are the American addresses for?’ I asked,

    ‘If we need to we can always make contact with the individual concerned. It’s even easier for us to do so there than here,’ Andrei replied.

    He pointed to a special folder in the file: it contained photographs of the girl in an American lieutenant’s company. First came Leica amateur snaps, reflecting all the stages of the progressive intimacy. Then, on a special sheet, numbered and dated, were photographs of a different kind. The technical finish revealed the work of an automatic micro-film camera. Unequivocal pornographic pictures, perpetuating love not only in its nakedness, but also in its perverted forms. On every photo the American lieutenant was clearly recognizable.

    ‘That young man’s also working for us now,’ Andrei grinned. “In America he had a young and wealthy fiancee. When he was faced with the choice either of compromise in her eyes, with all that it entailed, or quietly helping us, he preferred to help. Now he’s sending us quite valuable material.

    ‘That’s only just a sample of the baroness’s work,’ he continued. ‘We have others of her kind, all engaged in exploiting the prostitutes in all the four zones of Germany. Quite an extensive enterprise, as you see.’

    ‘But does it pay?’ I queried.

    ‘More than you’d think. Prostitution and espionage have always gone hand in hand. We’ve merely given these activities a new, ideological basis. We approach every single case individually. And in addition almost every one of these women has a relative in our hands. Our system is the cheapest in the world.’

    ‘You must have seen men condemned to death,’ I remarked. ’Tell me, have you often met men who died believing in the truth of what they were dying for?”

    At the beginning of the war I often saw S. S. men about to be shot," he said thoughtfully, rubbing his brow. ‘They used to shout: Heil Hitler!’ When I was with the partisans I sometimes had to stand by and watch while Germans hanged Russians. And as they stood with the rope round their necks they cursed the Germans and shouted: ’Long live Stalin!’

    I knew some of them personally, and I knew they had never said words like that before. Yet as they stood waiting for death they shouted ’Long live Stalin!’ I don’t think it was because they believed them, I think it was a matter of personal courage. They simply wanted to give expression to their contempt for death and the enemy.’

    ‘And now you’re engaged in destroying the enemies of the State,’ I continued. ‘According to the History of the C. P. S. U. the capitalists and landowners have long since been exterminated. So those you have to fight against today are children of our new society. If they’re enemies, how are they to be classified? Are they ideological enemies, or are they simply people who by force of circumstances have done something punishable under the M. V. D. code?’

    ‘Why do you ask that?’ He looked at me distrustfully.

    ‘The question’s interested me for some time now, and who could answer it better than a major in the M. V. D.?’

    ‘Damn you, Grisha!’ He sighed unexpectedly. ‘I thought I’d put you through it and so relieve my own feelings. But there you sit like a post, and now you’re starting to grub around in my soul. You’ve raised a question that’s been troubling me for a long time.’ He spoke more slowly. ‘If it’s a question of ideological enemies, then today all the nation is our ideological enemy. Those who fall into the hands of the M. V. D. are only victims of a lottery. Out of every hundred charges brought by the M. V. D., ninety-nine are pure inventions.

    We act on the principle that every man is our enemy. To catch an enemy red-handed you have to give him the opportunity to commit a hostile act. If we wait, it may be too late. For their name is - million. So we seize the first to hand and accuse him of what you will. Thus we liquidate a certain proportion of the potential enemy and simultaneously paralyze the will of the others. That’s our prophylactic method. History itself has forced us to resort to it. But such a system has certain positive aspects too...’

    ‘You still haven’t answered my question,’ I said. ‘Have you ever met a real enemy? A man who gazed straight into your face and declared: ’Yes, I am against you!’?’

    The major looked up at me from under his brows. ‘Why don’t you yourself come and work for the M. V. D.? You’d make a remark-ably good examining officer,’ he muttered. ‘I’ve deliberately been dodging the question; you see, I have a living answer to it... Only, I didn’t intend to bring him to your notice. I’m afraid it might have an unhappy effect on our friendship.’

    He looked at me expectantly, and hesitated. As I raised my head I saw the clock. It was long past midnight, but the building was living its own life. From the corridor came sounds comprehensible only to people intimate with the work of the M. V. D. From time to time there was a cautious knock at the door, and Andrei went out of his room, locking the door behind him. Again and again our conversation was interrupted by telephone calls.

    ‘Good!’ he said at last, as I did not reply. ‘But I ask you not to draw any conclusion about me from what you see.’ He picked up a telephone: ‘Comrade Captain, what news of 51-W? Still the same? Good! Have him brought up for examination. I shall come along with another officer.’

    We went down to the next floor. Here there was no carpeting in the corridor; the walls were painted with gray oil-paint. We entered a room. At the desk opposite the door sat a captain of infantry. Andrei answered his greeting with a nod, went to a sofa by the wall, and buried himself in examination reports. I sat down at the other end of the sofa.

    A knock at the door - a sergeant in a green cap reported: ‘Prisoner No. 51-W, at your disposition, Captain.’ He was followed by a dark figure with hands crossed behind him. A second guard closed the door.

    ‘Well, how are things, Kaliuzhny?’ the captain asked in a friendly tone.

    ‘Is it such a long time since you saw me last, you hound?’ The words burst from the prisoner in a cry of boundless hate and con-tempt, suppressed pain and mortal yearning. He staggered right up to the desk and stood there, his legs straddled. I saw that his wrists were handcuffed. The M. V. D. handcuffs only prisoners who are candidates for death, or are particularly dangerous.

    ‘Well, what’s the position?’ Have you remembered anything yet?" the captain asked, without raising his head from his scrutiny of the papers on his desk. The answer came in a rushing, largely in-comprehensible stream of curses directed against the captain, the M. V. D., the Soviet government, and, finally, the man whose portrait hung on the wall behind the desk. The prisoner leaned forward, and it was impossible to tell whether he was on the point of dropping with exhaustion or making ready to strike his tormentor. His guards, one on either side, seized him by the shoulders and thrust him down on a seat.

    ‘Now let’s talk to each other quietly,’ the captain said. ‘Would you like a smoke?’ He beckoned to the guards, and they removed the handcuffs. There was a long silence, while the man took a greedy draw at the cigarette. A gurgling sound came from his chest; he coughed painfully and spat into his hand.

    ‘Here, enjoy this, Captain!’ He stretched his hand across the desk, revealing black clots of blood in the bright light of the desk lamp. ‘They’ve damaged my lungs, the hounds!’ he croaked, as he wiped the blood on the edge of the desk.

    ‘Listen, Kaliuzhny...’ the captain said in a pleasant tone. ‘I’m terribly sorry you’re so pigheaded. You were a model citizen of the Soviet Union, the son of a worker, a worker yourself. A hero of the patriotic war. Then you go and make one mistake....’

    ‘That was no mistake!’ The words came hoarsely from the other side of the desk.

    ‘We know how to value your past services,’ the captain continued. ‘Atone for your guilt, and your country will forgive you. I only want to make your lot easier. Tell us who the others were. Then I give you my word as a communist...’

    ‘Your word as a communist!’ The bloody rattle conveyed inexpressible hate. ‘You viper, how many have you already caught with your word of honor?’

    ‘My word is the word of the Party. Confess, and you will be given your freedom!’ The captain had difficulty in controlling himself.

    ‘Freedom?’ came from the bloody mask that had been a face. ‘I know your freedom! I shall find your freedom in heaven...’

    ‘Sign this document!’ the captain held out a sheet of paper.

    ‘You wrote it, you sign it!’ was the answer.

    ‘Sign!’ the officer ordered in a threatening tone. Forgetting the presence of the two men sitting silently on the sofa, he swore violently and snatched up a pistol lying on his desk.

    ‘Give it here, I’ll sign!’ the prisoner croaked. He took the sheet of paper and spat on it, leaving clots of blood clinging to it. ‘Here you are... With a genuine communist seal!’ His voice rose in malignant triumph. He slowly raised himself out of his chair and slowly bent over the desk to face the pistol barrel. ‘Well, now shoot! Shoot, hangman, shoot! Give me freedom!’

    In impotent fury the captain let the weapon sink, and beckoned to the guards. One of them sent the prisoner to the floor with his pistol butt. The steel handcuffs clicked.

    ‘You don’t get away so easily as that!’ the captain hissed. ‘You’ll call for death as if you were calling for your mother before we’re finished!’ The guards hoisted up the prisoner and stood him on his feet. ‘Put him to the ’stoika’,’ the captain ordered (Torture by being kept constantly in a standing position.).

    With an unexpected, desperate writhe the man wrested himself free. With a vehement kick he sent the desk over. The captain sprang away, then, howling with rage, flung himself on the prisoner He brought his pistol butt down heavily on the man’s head; a fresh purple patch appeared above the crust of congealed blood.

    ‘Comrade Captain!’ Andrei Kovtun’s voice sounded sharply.

    As the man was dragged out of the room the captain gasped out ‘Comrade Major, I ask permission to close the examination procedure and transfer the case to the tribunal.’

    ‘Keep to the instructions I’ve given you,’ Andrei replied coldly and went to the door.

    We walked silently along the corridor.

    ‘You wanted to see for yourself,’ Andrei said moodily as he (closed the door of his room behind us. He spoke hurriedly, as though anxious to justify himself, to forestall what he felt I was bound to say.

    ‘Why was he arrested?’ I asked.

    ‘For the very question you were so interested in,’ Andre answered as he dropped wearily into a chair. ‘He was a man who openly declared: ’Yes, I’m against you!’ All through the war he was with us, from the very first to the very last day. He was wounded several times, decorated several times. He was to be demobilized after the war, but he voluntarily signed on for longer service. And then, a month ago, he was arrested for anti-Soviet propaganda in the army. His arrest was the last straw. He tore his shirt at his breast and shouted: ’Yes, I’m against you!’’

    ‘How do you explain his change?’

    ‘Not long before he had had leave in Russia. He went home - and found the place deserted. His old mother had been sent to Siberia for collaboration with the Germans. To avoid starving, during the war she had washed crockery for them. And in 1942 they send his young brother to work in Germany; after the lad’s repatriation he was condemned to ten years in the mines. And apart from that, our prisoner saw what was happening at home. When he returned to duty he began to tell others what he had seen and heard. The rest you know for yourself.’

    ‘What did the captain mean by his reference to ’the others’?’ I asked.

    ‘Oh, the usual story.’ Andrei shrugged his shoulders. ‘Out of one man we’ve got to unmask a whole counter-revolutionary movement. There you have the clear evidence that every man is an enemy,’ he continued in a monotonous tone. ‘Outwardly he was an exemplary Soviet man. One of the sort that during the war died with the shout ’Long live Stalin!’ on their lips. But when you go deeper...’

    ‘So you regard him as an ideological enemy?’ I asked.

    ‘He hasn’t any idea yet,’ Major Kovtun answered. ‘But he’s already come to the point of saying ’no’ to the existing regime. He is dangerous chiefly because he is one of millions. Throw a lighted idea into that powder barrel and the whole lot would go up!’

    I was silent. As though he had divined my thoughts, Andrei whispered helplessly: ‘But what can I do?’ Then, with sudden vehemence, he cried: ‘What did you want to see it for? I’d already told you...’

    In the dusk of the room his face changed, it expressed his weariness. His eyes were dull and expressionless. He fidgeted with restless, nervous fingers among the papers on his desk.

    ‘Andrei!’ I cried, and turned the lampshade so that the light fell full on his face. He huddled himself together, raised his head and stared at me blankly. I glanced into his eyes: they were fixed and dilated; the pupils showed no reaction to the strong light.

    ‘You know what light-reaction is, don’t you?’ I asked as gently as I could.

    ‘I do,’ he answered quietly. His head sank on to his chest.

    ‘It means you’ve reached the end of your tether,’ I said. ‘In a year or two there’ll be nothing left of you but a living corpse.’

    ‘I know that too,’ he muttered still more quietly.

    ‘Can’t you find any other way out than morphine?’ I asked, putting my hand on his shoulder.

    ‘I can’t find any way at all, Grisha... I can’t,’ his lips whispered. ‘You know, I’m often pursued by delusions,’ he said in a perfectly expressionless tone. ‘Always and everywhere I’m followed by the scent of blood. Not just blood, but fresh blood. That’s why I come to you sometimes so unexpectedly. I’m trying to get away from that smell.’

    ‘Pull yourself together, Andrei!’ I rose from my chair, took my cap down from the hook, and glanced at the clock. ‘It’s six already. Let’s go for a drive.’

    He opened a cupboard and took out a civilian suit. ‘Every one of us has to own a suit of civilian clothes,’ he explained as I gave him a questioning look. ‘Nowadays I use it to get away from the accursed stench.’

    Before we finally left the room, he took a book out of his desk drawer and handed it to me, saying: ‘Take and read it. I’ve seldom read anything to compare with it.’

    I read the name of the book: Abandon Hope... and of the author: Irene Kordes.

    ‘I don’t get much time for reading,’ I answered, as a rapid glance at its pages showed that the book was about the Soviet Union. ‘And I’ve read enough of this stupid kind of literature. And look at its date of publication: 1942!’

    ‘That’s just why I want you to read it,’ he answered. ‘It’s the only German book about the Soviet Union that every German ought to read. I personally find it particularly interesting because she spent four years in prison; she was held for interrogation by the M. V. D.’

    Later I did read the book. The writer, Irene Kordes, was living with her husband in Moscow before the war. During the Yezhovshchina period (The period of the great purges of 1936 - 1938 to which most of the political émigrés living in the Soviet Union fell victims. Yezhov was head of the N. K. V. D. at the time; in 1939 he himself was dismissed and shot.) they were both arrested simply because they were talking German in the street.

    That was sufficient for the M. V. D. to charge them both with espionage. There followed four years of misery and torment, four years of examination in the cellars of the notorious Lubianka and other Soviet prisons. After the Soviet Union signed the pact of friendship with Hitlerite Germany in 1939 she was set free and sent back to her own country. Her husband disappeared within the N. K. V. D. walls.

    It is a striking circumstance that the book was published in 1942. This German woman displayed a true grandeur of spirit. After living for four years in conditions that would have led anybody else to curse the regime and the country, and even the people, who willingly or unwillingly bore the responsibility and guilt for the Soviet system, Irene Kordes had not one word of reproach or accusation to say against the Russian people. She spent four years in hell, together with hundreds of thousands of Russian people who shared her fate; and during that time she came to know the Russians as few foreigners have done.

    The first rays of the rising sun were gilding the crowns of the trees as Andrei and I left the building. He drove our car along the autobahn. He sat silent; his features seemed waxen and sunken in the gray light. His driving was spasmodic and restless. As we drew near to the Wannsee he took his foot off the accelerator and looked at the clock. ‘You haven’t got to be in the office till ten,’ he said. ‘Let’s drive to the lake and lie for an hour on the sand.’

    ‘Good!’

    Gentle waves were curling over the surface of the lake. Mews were flying overhead, or gliding low to send up spray from the crests with their wings. The fresh morning breeze drove away the leaden weariness of my sleepless night. We undressed and plunged into the water. The farther we swam from the bank the more strongly was I conscious of the freedom and expanse, of an inexplicable desire to swim on and on. I felt a rare inward relief, as though the waves would wash us clean of the blood of the past night.

    After bathing we lay on the sand. Andrei watched the few early bathers. I gazed at the sky, at the white, fleecy clouds.

    ‘Well, have I helped you in your endeavors to become a true communist?’ he asked in a wooden tone, and tried to smile.

    ‘You’ve shown me nothing new,’ I answered. ‘Many things in this world look unpleasant when seen close up.’

    ‘So you excuse all these things?’

    ‘One must attempt to comprehend not merely a part, but the whole. Not the means, but the end.’

    ‘So the end justifies the means?’ he said bitterly. ‘You’ll make a better bolshevik than I.’

    ‘I am a child of the Stalin epoch,’ I replied.

    ‘So in your view everything is for the best!’

    ‘I’d like to believe that....’

    ‘Then what stops you now?’

    ‘I’m afraid I lack the wider vision,’ I said slowly. ‘When I’ve solved the problem of the expediency or inexpediency of the final goal it will be easy.... In either case it will be easy.... That is my final answer, Andrei. Until then we’d better drop further talk on the subject. Meanwhile, I think you should take some leave and have a thorough rest.’

    ‘That won’t help,’ he sighed. ‘I need something else.’ “You must either find a faith that justifies your present activities, or...” I did not know how to go on.

    ‘It’s rather late for me to seek, Grisha.’ He shook his head and stared at the sand. ‘I’ve burnt my wings. Now I must creep.’

    Little Lisa was a charming child. When she went for walks with her old governess along the Gogolevsky boulevard in Moscow the people sitting on the benches used to say reprovingly to their children: ‘Just look at that pretty little girl. See how well she behaves!’

    On hearing such remarks, Lisa would pull haughtily at her velvet dress, and deliberately speak in a louder tone to her German governess. The people whispered in surprise: ‘They must be foreigners.’

    Lisa’s father was one of those men who have the gift of adjusting themselves to life. He had joined the Party at the right time, he knew when to say the right word, and even better when to keep a still tongue in his head. Thus he rose to the directorship of a large commercial trust in Moscow. High enough to exploit to the full all the material advantages of his official position, yet not high enough to be forced to take the risk of responsibility for the undertaking.

    He had prudently brought up his sons in the spirit, which had ensured himself a successful career. But he had intended to marry his daughters to men who could guarantee them not only material well-being, but brilliant society life. Lisa was the younger daughter, and her father’s favorite. From earliest childhood she was the subject of rapturous admiration on the part of her relations and family acquaintances, and the naive envy of her child companions.

    The years passed, she grew up, and graduated from school. When the time came to decide on what she should do next, after consultations with her father she resolved to enter the Moscow Institute for Foreign Languages. There she could be sure of comparatively easy studies and the prospect of an equally easy position when she left; the Institute was known to be a starting point for careers in the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, the Commissariat for Foreign Trade, and other governmental bodies. The young girls of Moscow retailed many strange rumors of the massive yellow building in Metrostroyevskaya Street; Lisa thought of its doors as opening on to a terra incognita.

    Thanks to her excellent knowledge of German, and her father’s connections, she had no difficulty in entering the Institute. In her very first year she won the professors’ notice by her keen intelligence and her success as a student. She considered it a matter of honor to be outstanding in her subjects. She had always been used to admiration, and as the years passed she had developed a morbid craving for it.

    Now she attempted to win the admiration and envy of those around her. She went to great trouble to excel the other students in every possible respect: in study, in behavior, and in dress. The professors began to hold her up as an example to the others, while her colleagues looked down their noses at her eccentric behavior. The young men turned to stare after her slender figure and were astonished at her provocative conduct and her dress.

    One morning in the autumn, during her second year at the Institute, on reaching the door of the lecture hall she was called aside by a senior girl, who whispered: ‘Lisa, you’re wanted in the Special Department. You’re to report there at once.’

    The Special Department was situated next door to the rector’s office. None of the students knew exactly what functions the department performed: they could only surmise. Lisa knocked shyly at the door, and went in. Behind a desk sat a woman with the exaggeratedly self-confident air of women who occupy men’s positions. Now this woman took a file from a steel cupboard behind her, and glanced first at the file, then at Lisa. The minutes seemed endless. Lisa stared with longing through the window at the house-roofs opposite and thought: ’It’s either arrest or expulsion from the Institute.’

    The woman held out a sealed envelope to her, and said: ‘At nine this evening you’re to call at the address on this letter. Hand in your name at the inquiry office. They’ll be expecting you.’

    Lisa glanced at the address: the letters began to dance before her eyes. They read: ’Lubianskaya Square, entrance 8, room 207.’

    That day she was unusually abstracted. She heard very little of what the professors said, but in her head the words drummed incessantly: ’Lubianskaya Square, nine o’clock.’ Punctually at five to nine she passed through the gates of the N. K. V. D. central offices in Lubianskaya Square. The lieutenant on duty phoned to someone then handed her a pass. She went to the room given on the letter and knocked almost inaudibly with her knuckles.

    ‘You’re punctual; that’s a good sign.’ The young man in civilian dress who opened the door smiled as he spoke. ‘Please come in!’ He pointed affably to a comfortable chair by the desk. She dropped into it, and planted her feet firmly on the floor.

    The young man smiled again, pleasantly. ‘May I offer you a cigarette?’ He pushed a box of expensive cigarettes across the desk. Her fingers trembled, she had difficulty in opening the box and taking out a cigarette. She did not know what to make of this warm reception.

    ‘Would you like some tea? Or coffee?’ the obliging young man asked. Without waiting for her answer he pressed a button on his desk, and a few moments later a tray of coffee, cakes, and a tablet of chocolate arrived. To cover up her uncertainty and shyness she took a cake. But somehow she had difficulty in getting it down.

    ‘Have you any idea why I’ve invited you to come and see me?’ he asked, lighting a cigarette and studying Lisa from one side. ‘No... I haven’t,’ she answered in a trembling voice. ‘We’ve been interested in you for a long time now,’ he began, leaning back more comfortably in his chair. ‘You’re a cultivated and an attractive girl. I might go so far as to say very attractive. And you’re from a good Soviet family. Your father’s an old Party member. You yourself have been active as a Young Communist in the Institute. We’ve received very favorable reports about you.’

    He paused and glanced at her, to study the effect of his words. The expression of anxiety and excitement gradually faded from her face, to be replaced by one of tense expectation.

    ‘We not only punish enemies of the Soviet regime,’ he continued. ‘We’re even more concerned to see that the numbers of genuine Soviet people should increase. As we’ve had such good reports about you we consider it our duty to take some interest in your future career.’ He paused again. ‘Tell me, we’re right, aren’t we, in regarding you as a true Soviet citizen and in wishing to help you in your career?’

    ‘I’m still too young,’ she said in some embarrassment. ‘So far I’ve not had the opportunity...’

    ‘Oh, I quite understand,’ he interrupted. ‘You’ve always wanted to prove your devotion to the Party, but so far you haven’t had the opportunity: that’s it, isn’t it?’

    ‘I... I’ve always tried...’ she stammered.

    ‘I know. I’ve taken some trouble to find out about you before asking you to come and see me. And now we think we can test you in action. You’re studying in the Institute for Foreign Languages. You know that after graduating many of the students will be given the opportunity to work together with foreigners, or even abroad. That’s a great honor. I’m sure you’d like to belong to that select few, wouldn’t you?’

    ‘Of course. Comrade,’ she readily answered; but then she prudently added: ‘If it’s in the interests of the Party and the government.’ She now realized that this evening visit to the N. K. V. D. by no means held out the unpleasant prospects it had suggested to her. And she resolved to exploit all her powers to grasp the attractive possibility that seemed to be looming up on the horizon.

    ‘Call me Constantine Alexievich,’ the man said in a friendly manner, as he pushed the tablet of chocolate across to her. ‘I see you’re a clever girl. Work with foreigners, or even abroad: you know what that means! It means Lyons silks, Parisian perfumes, and the best restaurants in the world. It means special privileges, high-society. An easy and fine life filled with pleasure. Men at your feet...’

    He took a breath and gave her a swift glance. She was sitting motionless as though entranced; her eyes were shining with excitement. The chocolate began to melt in her fingers.

    ‘But all that is possible only on one condition,’ he said with a hint of regret. ‘That is, that you have our complete trust. Not everybody has that. It has to be won.’

    His last words seemed cold and hard. For a second she again felt helpless and afraid. But in a moment her longing for a brilliant existence and admiring glances shattered all her doubts and fears.

    ‘What have I got to do?’ she asked practically.

    ‘Oh, we’ll give you various commissions that will provide you with opportunities to show your devotion to the party,’ he explained in a careless tone. Then, as though she had already indicated her assent, he added in a businesslike tone: ‘You will be given additional schooling. And instructions will be issued to you for each separate commission... as well as the requisite means to achieve the task.’

    ‘But perhaps I shan’t be equal to your demands,’ she feebly objected, for she hadn’t expected matters to develop so quickly, and instinctively she tried to secure a way of retreat.

    ‘We shall help you. Besides, from the personal knowledge we already have of you we know very well what you can do. Now may I ask you to sign this document?’ He pushed a form across the desk and showed her where to sign. She glanced rapidly through it: it was a formal promise to collaborate and not to talk; in the event of breaking this promise she was threatened with ’all necessary measures to defend the State security of the Soviet Union’. Her radiant vision of a brilliant future seemed to turn a little dim. He handed her a pen. She signed.

    Thus she achieved her desire for a brilliant life. And thus the N. K. V. D. added one more to its list of agents. Before long, without interrupting her studies at the Institute, Lisa was transformed into a model siren.

    During the war there were no Germans in the true sense of the words living in Moscow. So she was introduced into the small circle of German anti-fascists who had arrived as political émigrés in the Soviet Union and had managed to survive the continual purges. But soon this work proved to be without point, as the only German communists left in freedom were themselves secret agents of the N. K. V. D., and that organization had introduced her to them only in order to provide yet one more cross-check on the reliability of their spies. But the Germans had grown cunning through experience, they glorified Stalin and repeated the fashionable slogan: ’Smash the Germans.’ She was disgusted with this way of showing devotion and grew angry at the lack of opportunity to prove what she could do.

    Constantine Alexievich, who was her immediate superior, quickly became convinced of her keen intelligence and unusually wide cultural horizon. She was capable of starting and carrying on a conversation on any subject. Now she was entrusted with the task of spying on higher Party officials, and had the opportunity to visit the exclusive clubs of the various People’s Commissariats and even the very special club attached to the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.

    The results of her work were stored away in the N. K. V. D. files and prisons. The fact that she was kept at work on the ’internal front’ for a long time is testimony to her success. In the N. K. V. D. view, work among foreigners is comparatively unimportant. Where foreigners are concerned the N. K. V. D. is interested in external details and factual material. But spies working among the ’beavers’, i. e., the important Soviet Party men, are expected to discover their secret thoughts and moods: a complex task, and calling for real art on the part of those engaged in it.

    In the spring of 1945 Lisa graduated from the Institute as one of its best students. At this period many of the graduates were sent to work in the S. M. A. in Berlin, and Lisa went with them. Once more she was given special commissions. She was appointed translator to a member of the Special Dismantling Committee under the Council of People’s Commissars, simultaneously acting as his N. K. V. D. control.

    When this general was recalled to Moscow on the completion of his task she was appointed to the personnel department of the S. M. A. Her personal file contained the remark: ’Employment to be given in agreement with the Administration for State Security.’ A few days later she became personal interpreter to General Shabalin, the economic dictator of the Soviet zone.

    That was when I first met her. Soon afterward Major Kuznetsov gave me his secret warning concerning her. Did the general himself know what sort of people he had around him? After a time I came to the conclusion that he had good reason not to trust anybody.

    His orderly, Nikolai, had served in the N. K. V. D. forces at one time. As is the custom in the Soviet Union, anyone who has ever had any kind of relations with the N. K. V. D. - not only their former workers, but even their former prisoners always remains in touch with them. Of course the general knew that quite well. Nikolai was his master’s orderly, and simultaneously his control.

    Shabalin’s maid, Dusia, was a pleasant, quiet girl. At the end of 1945 all the Russian women who had been brought to Germany during the war and had later been employed by the Soviet authorities to fill subordinate positions were sent back home. To everybody’s astonishment Dusia remained behind. People assumed that she owed this to the general’s protection. But when the general returned to Moscow while Dusia still remained in Karlshorst it was assumed that she must have some other highly placed protector. Only a few suspected the truth.

    She was a very pleasant girl, but I always felt that she suffered from some personal sorrow and vague depression. She knew what had happened to her friends who had been sent back to Russia, and she knew that in the end she would share their fate. Yet she had to work as an instrument in the hands of those same men who sooner or later would become her jailers.

    Thus the general’s orderly, his maid, and his personal interpreter were all N. K. V. D. agents. I don’t think the general was so stupid as not to realize it. Even if he hadn’t noticed it, he must have known from experience that it must be so. And so, to simplify matters, he regarded all those who worked in close touch with him as informers for the N. K. V. D. Including me.

    After Kuznetsov’s warning I was more on my guard with Lisa. I found out more about her from former friends of hers who had studied with her in the Institute, and who were working as translators in the Supreme Staff. She was not only inordinately ambitious, but also inordinately talkative; and in such circumstances the M. V. D. trust could not remain a secret for long. I gleaned other details of her from various sources.

    One evening shortly after General Shabalin’s recall to Moscow, while she was waiting to be given a new appointment, she dropped in on me on some pretext. In Karlshorst we all had a habit of calling casually on one another, without waiting for special invitations. After looking round my apartment she made herself comfortable on the couch and declared: ‘You’re a poor sort of lady’s man, Gregory Petrovich. And to make matters worse, you’re a skinflint.’ As she tucked her feet up on the couch she added: ‘Bring a bottle of wine out of your cupboard and let’s feel at home.’

    ‘I already feel at home,’ I answered.

    ‘Don’t be so detestable!’ She purred like a cat. ‘I’m going away soon. Though I simply can’t endure you, I’d like to celebrate our parting.’

    ‘The feeling is mutual,’ I retorted. ‘And yet I’m sorry you’re going.’

    ‘So you really are sorry to part from me?’ She gazed at me with her dark brown eyes. ‘You admit it!’

    So far as her feminine charms were concerned; what I found most attractive in her was the polish acquired from residence in a great city, her culture and knowledge, in combination with a superlative vulgarity. Such a combination involuntarily attracts by its very novelty.

    ‘I find you as interesting as the beautiful skin of a snake,’ I confessed.

    ‘But why do you avoid me, Gregory Petrovich?’ she asked. ’By all the signs you and I ought to understand each other better than anybody else."

    ‘That’s just the very reason, Lisa,’ I said. ‘Don’t be annoyed with me. Shall I tell you your fortune? You’ll marry an elderly general. That’s the only way in which you’ll be able to satisfy your demands on life. You regard life soberly enough to know that I’m telling the truth.’

    She was rather disconcerted uncertain how to take my words, in joke or earnest. Then she began to talk sincerely and passionately, as though she wanted to justify herself:

    ‘Good! One confidence deserves another! Yes, I shall marry a man in the highest possible position. I don’t suppose he’ll be young. What is so-called ’pure love’ in comparison with what a man in a high position can offer me? I can pick up handsome young men in any street, and they’ll do as I tell them! Let other women run about without stockings and act ’pure love’. One must have power: money, or a high position. Then, and only then, can one understand how cheap love is...’

    ‘It’s a matter of taste.’ I shrugged my shoulders.

    ‘Not of taste, but intelligence,’ she retorted. ‘You’re old enough to understand that life is a struggle. That there are strong and weak. If you want to live, you must be strong. If you’re weak, you must serve the strong. Equality, brotherhood? Beautiful fairy stories for fools!’

    ‘You take a very critical attitude to life!’ I observed.

    ‘Yes. I want to be on top, not underneath,’ she continued in a dreamy tone. ‘You can only comprehend life when you see it from above. And to do that you need wings...’

    ‘I like you today, Lisa,’ I said almost sincerely. ‘Life is often far from easy. Often one looks for a fine fairy-story. As you say, fairy-stories are for fools. But... do you remember the story of Icarus? That’s a story for the wise. He, too, wished to have wings ... Do you know how the story ended?’

    She looked up at me blankly. ‘What are you getting at, Gregory Petrovich?’ she asked uncertainly.

    ‘Oh, nothing! It’s just a mental association,’ I replied.

    At the beginning of 1946 Lisa was appointed a translator to the Soviet delegation at the Nuremberg trials. She remained in that position for a year. Of course she had other tasks, her real tasks, to perform there too. But she is of interest because she is a shining example of a new type of Soviet personality, someone who is the educational product of the Stalin epoch, and exploits all the prerequisites for a successful life under Soviet conditions.

    They have grown up in a milieu, which excludes mental freedom, freedom of thought, and their consciousness is automatically focused on the material aspect of existence. Their driving impulse is the desire to climb as high as possible up the social ladder. The means? People of Lisa’s type are trained not to think about the moral aspect of their activities. Soviet morality justifies everything that serves the Party interests.

    One cannot help drawing a comparison between Andrei Kovtun and Lisa Stenina. They both serve one and the same institution. He carries out his task with all his inner being protesting, but with no possibility of changing his position in any way. Lisa, on the other hand, does her job quite willingly and deliberately. Andrei has already learnt only too well that he is the helpless slave of the system. Lisa is striving to get higher. And yet possibly she, too, will be pursued by the stench of blood before long.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide


  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 11
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM11.htm

    King Atom

    “Siemens in Arnstadt: that’s under your control, isn’t it?”

    “Yes.”

    “Read this.”

    The head of the Administration for Industry handed me a code telegram struck across diagonally in red to indicate that it was secret. It read: ’Electronic measuring instruments discovered. Object of use unknown. Suspect atom research. Awaiting instructions. Vassiliev.’

    Colonel Vassiliev was the S. M. A. plenipotentiary at the Siemens works in Arnstadt, as well as the director of the scientific research institute for television, which was attached to the works. He was an experienced and reliable man: if he mentioned ’atom research’ he had reason for doing so. I held the telegram in my hand, waiting for Alexandrov to say more.

    “We must send someone there. As the works is under your direction it would be best if you went yourself,” he said.

    “It would be as well to take someone from the Department for Science and Technique with me,” I observed.

    Half an hour later the deputy head of the Department for Science and Technique, Major Popov, and I left Karlshorst for Thuringia. We reached Arnstadt just before midnight, and went straight to Colonel Vassiliev’s house, right opposite the works. He had been phoned that we were coming, and he and his assistant were waiting for us.

    “What have you discovered, Comrade Colonel?” Major Popov asked.

    “Let’s go to the works at once and you’ll see for yourself,” Vassiliev said.

    Accompanied by the commander of the works guard we made our way through the darkness to the far end of the yard, to the warehouse for raw materials and finished production. A guard challenged us outside; and inside, before a sealed door, we found a second armed guard. When the seal was removed we passed into a great warehouse packed with half-assembled electrical equipment: unfinished war production-a scene common to all the German factories immediately after the war.

    Vassiliev halted beside several large, long wooden cases. They contained enormous glass utensils with spherical swellings in their middle; they were packed with great care, and held by special clamps.

    The equipment was similar to the ordinary cathode tubes used in oscillographs, but was much bigger. It was an easy deduction that it was connected with electrical measurement, and the type of insulation used showed that it was intended for high-tension current of enormous voltage, such as is employed in cyclotrons for experiments in atom-splitting. One of the pieces had a special attachment for taking photo of the process. Judging by its construction it was not intended for measuring continuous charge, but a single, sudden, enormous application of current.

    The cases were marked: ’With great care, glass’, but we vainly looked for any indication of where they had come from or whom they were consigned to. They bore only indecipherable rows of numbers and letters.

    “How did they get here?” I asked Vassiliev. “They couldn’t have been produced in this works.”

    He only shrugged his shoulders.

    Next morning we opened an official inquiry. All the people who might be expected to have some knowledge of the mysterious cases were summoned one by one to Vassiliev’s office. The warehouse men knew nothing, for the cases had not been opened on delivery to the warehouse, and had lain until Vassiliev had discovered them. The technical staff said the instruments had not been produced in Arnstadt, but had probably come with other material from the Telefunken and Siemens chief works in Berlin. We felt convinced that they did not even know precisely what instruments they were being asked about.

    We decided to send a wire direct to Karlshorst, asking for the help of experts from the Special Group. The Special Group is the highest Soviet organization for scientific research in Germany, and is attached to the M. V. D. Department for Science and Technique in Potsdam. They have full powers to make direct contact at once, if necessary with all the scientific research organizations in the Soviet Union.

    It did not surprise us to find the mysterious apparatus in the Siemens warehouse at Arnstadt. During the later years of the war all the large German works shifted their industrial plant and established branches and depots in areas less subject to air attack. Moreover, immediately before the capitulation the more valuable installations and stores of raw material were removed and secretly deposited in various remote parts. We often came across most interesting material in the least expected places.

    It was of great importance to find out who had ordered this apparatus to be made, and whom it was intended for. To discover this, we must first ascertain where it had been produced. Only a very few German works could have made it, the most important of these being at Siemensstadt, in the British sector of Berlin. That was beyond the scope of our authority - at least, officially.

    On the other hand, the Telefunken works were at Erfurt, and they were concerned with producing huge transmitter valves for broadcasting stations. Telefunken-Erfurt was perfectly able to handle such a contract. Moreover, the technical directors at Erfurt were in constant business contact with Siemensstadt, and had a pretty good idea of all that went on in other Telefunken works. There we should find the threads linking up with the mysterious apparatus at Arnstadt.

    We decided that Colonel Vassiliev should await the arrival of the Special Group experts, while Major Popov and I visited the Telefunken works at Erfurt.

    We notified the S. M. A. control officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Yevtikov and Lieutenant Novikov, that we were coming to Erfurt, and found them waiting for us in the former directors’ office. When we explained the reason for our visit they breathed a sigh of relief; they had obviously been expecting one of the regular inquiries into their failure to comply with production plans and reparations deliveries.

    We questioned all the engineers working in the department for transmitter valve production, and came upon several essential clues. Shortly before the capitulation they had executed some special orders for gigantic electrodes and other parts for some quite unknown and completely new type of construction. The constructional plans had come from Berlin, and the parts, when manufactured, were to be sent there, presumably for assembly. The work was strictly secret. When we persisted in asking the origin of the commission and the constructional plans, the technical head of the transmitter valve department said uncertainly: “Berlin-Dahlem ... I think...”

    That was good enough. During the war Berlin-Dahlem had been the headquarters of the secret laboratories for atomic physics engaged in atom-splitting experiments.

    At this stage Colonel Vassiliev telephoned from Arnstadt to report that the Special Group experts had arrived. I knew that Lieutenant-Colonel Yevtikov was a sluggish sort of individual, so I asked Lieutenant Novikov to get reliable men to start a thorough search immediately for anything that could have any connection with the mysterious order, and to place anything found under lock and key and post a military guard over it. Lieutenant Novikov was an energetic and able man, an engineer by profession, who later, when the Telefunken-Erfurt was transformed into a Soviet A. G. company, was appointed chief engineer to the works. While he set to work on the inquiries, Major Popov and I drove back to Arnstadt.

    In Vassiliev’s office we found a group of men who were obviously scientists and thoroughly at home in laboratories and research institutions. Together with them there were several taciturn men in civilian dress, which took no part in the discussion of technical points and kept mainly in the background. But one could see that they were the real bosses: they were the M. V. D. shadows.

    The experts had already examined the mysterious apparatus, and without asking them any questions we felt that they confirmed our suppositions. Major Popov reported on our visit to Telefunken-Erfurt. Now we had the unpleasant feeling that our report was acquiring the features of a judicial interrogation; it was as though the M. V. D. shadows suspected that we might be concealing something. Even in dealings with Soviet officers that institution applies its quite distinctive methods.

    A searching examination of the technical employees at Arnstadt continued all that day. Each individual had to pledge himself in writing to the strictest secrecy. Towards evening the apparatus was all taken to Berlin, under reinforced escort and with the greatest of precautions.

    Accompanied by Major Popov and myself, the Special Group experts went on to Erfurt. Yevtikov had already been ordered not to let anybody leave the works who was likely to be required for questioning.

    The inquiry went on all night: the taciturn men with the pale faces seemed to make no difference between night and day. The inquiry was held in Yevtikov’s office, but he, Major Popov, and I, spent the night in an adjacent room, whence one or another of us was summoned to establish some fact or to give information, as we were well acquainted with the activities of the Telefunken works. The Special Group acquired not only a mass of fresh material, but also a list of the German scientists and engineers who had been directly concerned with carrying out the secret commission. Once more the threads linked up with the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute and the secret laboratories for atomic physics in Berlin-Dahlem.

    One of the leading German atomic physicists was Dr. Otto Hahn, a pupil of Max Planck. A number of the German scientists who had been working in his laboratory fell into the hands of the Soviet authorities after the capitulation and were taken to the Soviet Union, where they were afforded every possibility of continuing their research. Such famous German scientists as Professor Herz and Dr. Arden are now working in Soviet Research Institutes connected with atomic research under the general direction of Professor Kapitza, who is also head of the Supreme Administration for the scientific research organizations attached to the Ministry for Special Weapons.

    By the last few months of the war the Germans had cyclotrons for atom splitting at their disposition. But the catastrophic situation at the fronts and the destruction of the German heavy-water plant in Norway by the R. A. F. forced them to suspend attempts to solve the secret of the atom. Before the final capitulation they scattered all the atom laboratory equipment in spots which seemed safe from discovery. The Soviet authorities set up Special Units to search exclusively for the secret weapons on which Hitler had set such great hopes.

    During the month following our finds at Arnstadt all who had had anything to do with it were once more summoned to Potsdam-Babelsberg, to the headquarters of the Special Group. Somehow or other it had got hold of some valuable clues, both from German scientists working in the Soviet Union and from many others living in the German western zones. At times one cannot but feel admiration at the precision and speed with which the M. V. D. works. It is with good reason that this highly responsible field of research has been en-trusted to it.

    While the Special Group was solving the problem of the Arnstadt equipment the S. M. A. made a further important discovery. From Suslov, the Scientific and Technical Department’s representative for Thuringia, the head of the department, Colonel Kondakov, received a telegram announcing that ’The Levkovich Group has come upon a secret store of equipment whose purpose is unknown’.

    Colonel Levkovich was the head of the Dismantling Group operating in Thuringia. Such discoveries were by no means rare; dismantling teams had more than once come across double walls, with special installations or machinery concealed between them. Because of this a circular had been issued, instructing that all the walls of dismantled works were to be sounded. The dismantlers also searched systematically for plant removed from factories and works immediately before the capitulation.

    Kondakov sent two of his officers to Thuringia immediately. In the abandoned galleries of an unfinished underground factory, situated in a forest, they saw carefully packed apparatus which apparently had been intended for use in connection with very high-tension transformers or discharges such as are required in laboratories researching into the problems of high-tension current.

    They were especially struck by the remarkable scale of this apparatus, and especially the insulation. Although the experts from Karlshorst had never had anything to do with cyclotrons, they thought at once of atomic research, and cabled for experts from the Special Group.

    A few hours later the experts arrived from Babelsberg; their car was escorted by a second containing a force of soldiers in green caps: M. V. D. special troops. One glance at the plant convinced the experts of the significance of the find. A cipher cable was sent to General Pashchin, in the Ministry for Special Weapons at Moscow, and the following day a group of M. V. D. experts left Moscow to take over the plant. As soon as they arrived the area, with a circumference of several miles, was sealed off with M. V. D. guards. From that moment neither the men from Karlshorst nor those of the Special Group from Babelsberg were allowed to visit the area until the entire equipment had been removed to the Soviet Union.

    Later, Colonel Kondakov explained that we had not discovered anything new in the sphere of atomic research in Germany. Similar equipment was being made in the U. S. S. R. before the war, under the supervision of Professor Kapitza. Owing to wartime difficulties, Germany had been unable to conduct the research on any large scale. The purely scientific and theoretical aspects of problems associated with the atom have been known to the scientists of many countries for many years past, and Germany failed to find the solution to the problem of splitting the atom chiefly because of technical difficulties -above all, that of constructing the necessary plant and providing the energy for splitting the atom.

    One must remark on the striking difference between the Soviet and the foreign press in its handling of atomic questions. We - officers from Soviet Russia, who stood on the bounds between two worlds, saw the difference more clearly than anybody else did. While in general the Soviet press maintained an excessive silence, the foreign press was vociferous, and reminded one of a woman going into hysterics at the sight of a mouse. The fuss made over the atom bomb is indicative of fear and shows a lack of sense of reality. In the last resort the atom bomb alone cannot decide the destiny of the world. Man has already produced the atom bomb, and he will always be mightier than the atom.

    “It’s amazing how much fuss is being made over the atom bomb,” Colonel Kondakov remarked one day.

    “Yes, and the reports always come from ’reliable sources’,” his assistant. Major Popov smirked. “Sometimes from circles close to Karlshorst, sometimes ’direct from Moscow’.”

    “To tell the truth, the foreign press knows more than we ourselves do,” the colonel sighed. “Their continual quest for the sensational...”

    His remark was typical of the attitude of responsible Soviet officials. Each of us knew exactly so much as he had to know in order to perform his duties. And the majority of us went to great trouble to know as little as possible. While the world was shivering with atom fever our life pursued its normal course. I am reminded of a comparatively unimportant yet significant incident that occurred in my everyday life about that time.

    Shortly after my return from Thuringia the Administration for Reparations sent me a file containing constructional plans, accompanied by a note: ’We send you the prototype plans for a standard house-cottage intended for workers’ colonies in the Soviet Union, in accordance with reparations Order No... We re-quest you to check the electrical installations for the proposed project and confirm them. We also request you to prepare an overall plan of electrical installations for a total of 120, 000 houses, and to notify us which works are in a position to execute such an order. Petrov: Head of the Electro-Industry Department of the Administration for Reparations.’

    The plans included constructional diagrams for an ordinary German one-family house, consisting of three rooms, kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. In the basement there were a coal cellar and washhouse.

    I and several other engineers studied the plans with much interest. “When we go back to Russia we’ll get a little house like that,” one of us remarked.

    The electrical installations were checked, the plans approved, and the Administration for Reparations sent them on to Moscow for final approval.

    A little later I found the file again on my desk, with an accompanying note: ’On the instruction of the U. S. S. R. Ministry for the Building Industry I request you to make certain requisite modifications in the project. Petrov.’

    Curious to see what improvements Moscow had ordered, I unfolded the plans. To begin with, the washhouse had been abolished; the Ministry considered that the washing could be done just as well in the kitchen. Second, the verandah was eliminated. Quite understandable: the tenants weren’t to loll around on verandahs.

    After the modifications had been made accordingly, the project was returned to Moscow for approval. A few weeks later I found it on my desk yet again, this time accompanied by the laconic remark: ’Please make the necessary alterations. Petrov, ’

    This time the changes were pretty drastic. Without a word of explanation the bathroom and the toilet had been abolished. Every workers’ colony has public baths, so why a bathroom to each house? But the toilet? Apparently the Moscow authorities were of the opinion that such things were unnecessary so long as there were bushes around.

    The plans for electrical installations had been provided with a plentiful crop of thick red question marks. For instance, in the bedroom there were question marks against the wall plug, the bedside lamp to be attached to it, and the cord to enable it to be worked from the bed. The 120, 000 workers’ dwellings had been refashioned to meet the Soviet requirements. The cottages had been turned into ordinary huts. As finally ’modernized’, the project was the subject of bitter jest among the engineers of our department, and none of them expressed any desire to live in such a house.

    From one-fourth to one-third of the budget for the current five-year plan for the ’re-establishment of Soviet Economy’, i. e. some 60 milliard rubles, goes directly or indirectly into atom re-search and development. But if a man, the lord of creation and the creator of the atom bomb, needs to perform his natural functions, let him run to the nearest bush. So the State interest requires!

    In the high summer of 1946 a number of commissions from various Soviet ministries arrived in Karlshorst to inquire into the possibilities of allocating reparations orders and of exploiting the finished production lying in the warehouses of German industrial works. Two representatives from the Soviet Ministry for Shipbuilding invited me to travel with them through the Soviet zone to study the situation on the spot.

    Colonel Bykov, Captain Fedorov, and I set out from Karlshorst to go to Weimar. On the road I got to know my companions quite well. They were both extremely pleasant fellows, and ignored military regulations so far as to use the familiar Christian name and patronymic, rather than the prescribed rank and surname. They were not professional officers but engineers. And besides, they were in the navy; anybody who has had anything to do with seamen knows the difference between the navy and the army.

    On our arrival at Erfurt we put up at the Haus Kossenhaschen, which had been turned into the staff headquarters of the dismantling teams working in Thuringia. We sat in the old-fashioned, oak-paneled hall, talking while we waited to be called to lunch. I had been here often before, so the scene was familiar to me. But my companions had left Moscow only a few days previously, and they were keenly interested in all that was happening.

    “Tell me, Gregory Petrovich, what’s going on around here? Are they preparing for an expedition to the North Pole?” Colonel Bykov asked me in an undertone. The strange inquiry was due to the fact that all the dismantling officers bustling to and from were wearing enormous boots of reindeer hide, although it was a very warm summer day. And these men in fur boots carried sporting guns with them wherever they went, even taking them into the dining hall.

    “No,” I answered. “It’s only that the dismantlers have found a store of German airmen’s arctic equipment somewhere or other, and now they’re enjoying the pleasure of trying it out. And they’ve got their guns with them because they’re going off to hunt immediately they’ve had their dinner.”

    “An amusing lot!” The colonel shook his head. “Haven’t they really got anything else to do?”

    “The position’s rather complicated,” I explained. “The main work of dismantling was finished some time ago now, and the majority of them haven’t anything to do. But they aren’t having a bad time here, so their chief activity in life at present is to drag out whatever they’re doing. As they’re directly under Moscow control, the S. M. A. can’t do anything about it.”

    “In Berlin we were told that many of them have accumulated enough to retire for the rest of their lives,” Fedorov remarked.

    “Recently the S. M. A. Department for Precision Tools did take up one case,” I said. “It involved the director of the State Watch and Clock Works No. 2. He had been sent to Germany to dismantle the watch and clock industry. Soon after his return to Moscow the S. M. A. discovered that while here he had acquired many thousand gold watches and several dozen kilograms of gold illegally.”

    “That certainly should provide for the rest of his life,” Fedorov remarked with conviction in his tone. “If only for a lifelong free lodging.”

    “I doubt whether he’ll get that,” I commented.

    “Why do you?” The captain was astonished.

    “Well, the circumstances were reported to the higher authorities, and they hushed it all up.”

    “But why?” Fedorov still failed to understand.

    “Don’t ask me!” I replied. “Apparently they prefer not to bring such people into disrepute. ’Don’t wash dirty linen in public’, says the old saying. His wasn’t the first case of its kind.”

    “And he’s a Soviet director!” the colonel exclaimed indignantly.

    I could not help smiling bitterly. Nodding towards the dismantling officers bustling about, I said: “In the Soviet Union all these people are either high ministerial officials or factory directors. And hardly any of them are very different from that director I’ve just told you of. You can take my word for it. We in the S. M. A. are getting more and more of that sort of case brought to our notice.”

    There was an awkward silence, broken only when the headwaiter summoned us to the dining hall.

    We spent two days visiting factories and works in the Erfurt district. My companions were especially concerned with orders for special electrical installations in warships, and in particular in U-boats. I was struck by the interest they showed in the life going on around us - I had been more than a year in Germany now, and I was not so impressed by the contrasts as I had been at first.

    Among the works we visited was the Telefunken factory; my companions wanted to find out whether it could undertake reparations orders for naval receiving and transmitting apparatus. As we drove along the drive to the offices the colonel exclaimed: “Look at that, Victor Stepanovich! Tennis courts!”

    Captain Fedorov also stared through the window at several courts surrounded with a high wire-mesh wall. Around the courts there were flowerbeds, and a little square where one could rest. The captain gazed with intense curiosity at the tennis courts, the garden, and the nearby factory buildings, as though the very fact that they were all to be found together within the factory walls was noteworthy in itself.

    In the Soviet Union it is continually being proclaimed that the workers need to have opportunities for rest and recreation within the factory area. But as a rule the idea never gets beyond the proclamation stage, and such facilities are to be found only in a few works which serve as showplaces. But now, in Germany, the two Soviet officers were seeing things, which they had been told at home, were the achievement exclusively of the Soviet system.

    Not far from the office building there were several rows of cycle stands all of them empty.

    “But where are the cycles, Gregory Petrovich?” the captain asked me.

    “Now that’s really too simple!” I retorted. “In Russia, of course.”

    “Oh, of course!” he smiled. “But there must have been a lot here at one time. Almost one per worker.”

    After we had discussed our business with the Soviet control officers and the Telefunken directorate’s representatives, Colonel Bykov turned to me with an unexpected request: “Couldn’t you arrange for us to go over the works? So that we can get to know the labor processes and organization?”

    The technical director was quite willing to take us round. We went right through the production departments, from beginning to end of the process. In a great hall where electrodes were being wound and assembled for wireless valves several hundred women and girls were sitting at tables. The director explained the details, but Colonel Bykov did not listen to him. The colonel had fallen a little way behind, and was unobtrusively surveying the hall.

    His eyes passed slowly over the huge windows, over the high walls, the ceiling, and rested for a moment on the glass partitions that separated one sector from another. As a high ministerial official and head of one of the main departments in the Ministry for Shipbuilding he was well acquainted with working conditions in the Soviet Union, and it was obvious that he was quietly comparing them with conditions in this German works.

    As we were leaving the hall Captain Fedorov drew me back. “Gregory Petrovich,” he said, “how do you like this seat?” He perched himself on one of the seats, all of the same pattern, used by the women workers. It was fitted with a padded backrest, and its height was adjustable.

    “What do you find interesting about that seat, Victor Stepanovich?” I asked him.

    "To start with, it’s comfortable. For a worker it’s absolutely luxurious. But quite apart from that, did you notice the seats they had in the factory office?”

    “No, I didn’t.”

    “They’re exactly the same,” he said with a faint smile. “Directors and workers, they all sit on the same seats. And they’re really comfortable, too.”

    As we went on, the technical director began to complain of the difficulties they met with in regard to labor power; workers tended to come and go as they liked, and this had a detrimental effect on output. “It takes four weeks to train a new worker,” he said. “But many of them don’t stay longer than a fortnight. And absenteeism is very common.”

    “But haven’t you any means of stopping it?” the colonel asked in astonishment.

    The director shrugged his shoulders. “A worker can be away three days without good reason,” he explained. “If he’s away any longer he must obtain a doctor’s certificate.”

    “Then how do you stop slacking and shifting from one works to another?” the colonel asked.

    “If the worker comes within the categories I have just referred to we have no powers of dismissal. On the other hand, if he wishes to throw up his job we can’t make him work,” the director replied.

    “I’m not thinking of dismissal, I’m thinking of the necessity to make a man work,” the colonel persisted. The director stared at him blankly. “I beg your pardon?” he said. The colonel repeated his remark.

    “We have no legal means of compelling a worker to work. We can only dismiss a worker who violates the labor code,” the German answered.

    There was an awkward pause. The worst punishment a German worker could suffer was dismissal. In the Soviet Union dismissal was frequently a worker’s one, unachievable, dream. A Soviet director can deal with a worker entirely as he wishes. He can put a man on a poor and badly paid Job, and he can, or rather must, hand a man over to the law for arriving late, even if it were only a few minutes. But the worker has no right whatever to change his place of work without the director’s agreement.

    Arbitrary absenteeism is liable to lead to imprisonment. We Soviet officers were used to such discipline, and so we could not understand the German director’s impotence. And he for his part was highly astonished at what he evidently regarded as our absurd questions. Two worlds: two systems.

    “You were speaking of the labor code, just now,” the colonel went on. “What labor legislation governing relations between employer and employee is in force today? Laws dating from the Hitler regime?”

    “The German labor code dates mainly from the time of Bismarck,” the German answered. “It has suffered only insignificant modifications since then.”

    “The time of Bismarck?” Bykov sounded incredulous. “But that’s something like seventy years ago....”

    “Yes,” the director answered, and for the first times a look of pride showed in his face. “Germany’s social legislation is one of the most progressive in the world... I mean in Western Europe,” he hurriedly corrected himself as he remembered that he was talking to Soviet officers.

    The colonel looked at the captain. The captain, for his part, looked at me. I was used to this kind of mute dialogue; it was the normal reaction of Soviet people to things that made them think, but which could not be discussed.

    I took advantage of the fact that none of our control officers was near to ask the director why there had been a sudden fall in radio valve production during the last few months. When one inspects a factory it is best to talk with both sides separately.

    “The main reason is the shortage of wolfram and molybdenum wire,” he answered.

    “But you were recently allocated a supply securing the production plan for six months,” I retorted. “Haven’t you received it from Berlin yet?”

    “Yes, Herr Major, but don’t you know...” he muttered in his embarrassment. “Hasn’t Herr Novikov reported to you...?”

    “He’s reported nothing. What’s happened?”

    The director hesitated before answering:

    “We needed the wire so urgently that we sent a lorry to Berlin to fetch it.”

    “Well?”

    “On the way back the lorry was stopped....”

    “What happened to the wire?”

    “Herr Major, our men couldn’t do anything....”

    “But where’s the wire?”

    “As our lorry was approaching Leipzig at night another lorry blocked its way. Armed men with machine pistols forced our driver and the dispatching clerk to get out, and they took over the lorry and drove off. The wire...”

    “Who were the bandits?”

    “They were wearing Soviet uniforms,” he answered reluctantly.

    As we got into our car after leaving the director, Captain Fedorov asked:

    “But who could have been interested in that lorry and its wire? D’you think it was some diversionists trying to sabotage reparations deliveries?”

    “We’re well aware of that kind of diversionary activity,” I told him. “The lorry will be found abandoned in a forest in a day or two, with the wire still on it, but stripped of its tires and battery. I expect that’s what Novikov is hoping for, too. That’s why he hasn’t reported the matter yet.”

    “But who goes in for that sort of thing?” the captain asked.

    “You live here for any length of time and you’ll find out.” I avoided a direct answer.

    From the Telefunken works we drove to a Thiel works for precision instruments and clocks. It was situated in a small village which we had difficulty in finding on a map. There were several other quite large industrial works engaged in armature production in the same village. It lay in a narrow valley between wooded hills, along the sides of which the Thuringian houses, brightly painted clung in rows. It was difficult to believe that this place was a workers’ settlement.

    “It looks more like a sanatorium,” Fedorov remarked, and his voice expressed envy, or regret. “In this country workers live as if they were staying at a health resort.”

    We called on the S. M. A. control officers, who had taken up their residence in the villa of one of the factory owners. As we came away the colonel laughed and said: “Victor Stepanovich, what do you think these brothers of ours are most afraid of?”

    “Lest they should be transferred somewhere else,” the captain replied without stopping to think. And we all understood what he meant by ’somewhere else’.

    People living in the West would never guess what it is that most astonishes Soviet people, especially engineers, on their first visit to a German factory. It might be thought that the Soviet officers would gaze open-mouthed at the enormous buildings, the innumerable modern machines and other technical achievements. But such things have long since lost any power to surprise us. It is rather the western peoples who would be astonished at the size of Soviet factories and the scope of their technical achievement.

    It is not western technique, not western machinery, that are new to us, but the place which man occupies in society and the State. We have to recognize the fact that men in the western system of free development of social relations enjoy far greater rights and liberties, that, to put it simply, they get much more out of life than do the Soviet people of the corresponding social stratum.

    As we were traveling on to our next point of call that evening, not far from Jena a fault developed in our car’s dynamo, and it stopped charging. To avoid running down the battery completely we switched off our headlamps and drove slowly through the night. On one side of the narrow road a steep cliff overgrown with trees towered above us, on the other side the cliff fell away into bottomless darkness. In the most God-forsaken spot of all, in the middle of a gorge, our auto petered out completely. We got out to stretch our legs while the driver examined the engine by torchlight.

    A dark form pushing a cycle loomed out of the darkness.

    “Can you tell us where we are?” I asked the German.

    “You’re at Goethe’s castle,” he answered. “It’s right above your heads.”

    “But is there a village anywhere near?”

    “Yes. You’ll come to a bridge a little way along the road, and there’s a village on the other side of it.”

    “I can’t do anything to it, Comrade Colonel,” our driver reported a moment or so later. “It’ll have to go to a garage.”

    “Now what shall we do? Spend the night in the car?” my companions fumed.

    “Of course not!” I said. “There’s a village not far off. We’ll go there for the night.”

    “God forbid, Gregory Petrovich!” the two sailors exclaimed in horror. “We can’t find a commandatura or an hotel for Soviet officers there.”

    “And very good, too!” I answered.

    “Cut it out!” they objected. “We’re not tired of life yet.”

    “Why did you say that?” It was my turn to be astonished.

    “Have you forgotten where we are? Not a day passes without a murder being committed. It’s been drummed into our heads that we’ve got to take the utmost care. We’ve been told not to let our driver spend a night in a car alone, for he’s sure to be murdered if we do. You know for yourself what things are like.”

    “And where were you told all this?”

    “In Moscow.”

    I couldn’t help laughing. “Well, if that’s what you were told in Moscow, it must be so. But you get a different view of it when you’re close up to it. We shall sleep better in the village than in any commandatura hotel: I guarantee you that. After all, we’ve all got pistols in any case.”

    After long argument they agreed to take the risk of spending the night in a wild and strange village. They told the driver he was to remain in the car, and we set out to walk.

    “But where shall we sleep there?” The captain was still dubious. “You can’t wake people up in the middle of the night and force your way into their house.”

    “Don’t worry, Victor Stepanovich. The very first house we come to will be a hotel. Would you care to bet on it?”

    “But how can you be so sure that it will be an hotel?” Captain Fedorov asked. “Anyway, if you’re right, we’ll open a bottle of cognac.”

    “It’s quite simple. We’re traveling along a country road, and in Germany the hotels are always found in the main street, at the beginning and end of the village. That’s an easy way to win cognac!”

    “All the same, I don’t like it.” The captain sighed mournfully.

    Some ten minutes later a bridge loomed up ahead of us. Immediately beyond it we saw light streaming through the chinks of window-shutters.

    “And now we’ll see who’s right, Victor Stepanovich,” I said, as I shone my torch on to a signboard, depicting a foaming tankard, fixed above the main door. “Here’s the hotel.”

    A few minutes later we were sitting at a table in the bar-parlor. My companions cast suspicious glances around the room, as though they expected to be attacked at any moment. The room was decorated in the Thuringian manner, and had heavily carved dark oak furniture, and antlers on all the walls. The ceiling- and wall-lights were fashioned from antlers, too. At the back gleamed the chromium-plated taps of the bar, and two girls in white aprons stood smiling behind the counter.

    After we had arranged rooms for the night, we ordered hot coffee. From our cases we took bread, sausage, and a bottle of cognac which the captain had brought with him as a ’remedy against the flu’!

    “Ah, Gregory Petrovich, it’s all right to drink, but we’ll be slaughtered like quails later on,” the captain sighed as he drew the cork. “You’ll have to answer for it all to St. Peter.”

    “Would you like me to betray my little secret to you?” I said. “Then you’ll sleep more quietly. I have to do a lot of traveling about on official business, and I’ve driven through Thuringia and Saxony again and again with a fully loaded lorry. In such cases there is a certain amount of danger, and you have to be on your guard. And when evening comes on and I have to look for quarters for the night... do you know what I do?”

    “You make for a town where there’s a commandatura hotel, of course,” the captain answered with the utmost conviction.

    “I did that once; but only once. After that first experience I’ve always tried to avoid towns where there’s a Soviet commandatura and garrison. I deliberately pull up in the first village I come to and spend the night in an hotel.”

    “But why?” Colonel Bykov asked.

    “Because it’s safer that way. During my twelve months in Germany I’ve had to draw and fire my pistol three times... and in every case I had to fire at men in Soviet uniform... out to commit a robbery,” I explained after a pause.

    “Interesting!” the captain said through his teeth.

    “I spent one night in an officers’ hotel at Glachau,” I went on.

    “To be on the safe side I drove the lorry right under my bedroom window. Hardly had I gone to bed when I heard it being dismantled.”

    “Amusing!” the colonel commented.

    “It wasn’t at all amusing to have to chase through the streets in my underclothes and waving a pistol,” I retorted. “I rounded up two Soviet lieutenants and a sergeant, called out the commandatura patrol, and had them arrested. Next morning the commandant told me: ’I quite believe you, Comrade Major, but all the same I shall have to let the prisoners go. I haven’t time for such petty matters.

    Let me give you some good advice for future occasions. Next time, wait till they’ve robbed your car, and then you’ll have evidence to show. Then shoot them out of hand and call us in when you’ve done it. We shall draw up a statement on the affair and be very grateful to you. It’s a pity you were in such a hurry this time.’”

    At that moment a fashionably dressed young woman and a man entered the bar-parlor. They sat down at a table opposite us and lit cigarettes.

    “All very well!” the captain said. “But there’s one thing about this place I don’t like: the people are too well dressed. Look at that fellow sitting opposite us with that dame. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re former Nazis, who’ve hidden themselves away in this lonely spot. And now we’ve come and stirred them up. And did you notice that group of youngsters a little earlier? They came in, stood whispering to one another, and then slipped out again! It strikes me as highly suspicious.”

    “Well, I think the best thing to do is to go to bed,” I proposed.

    “Bed, maybe! But sleep?” the colonel retorted. “I think our first job is to see which side our window looks out on.”

    As soon as we went to our bedrooms upstairs, the colonel and the captain made a security check. They opened and closed the windows and tested the shutters. “We were told they throw hand-grenades through the window,” the captain explained. He went into the corridor and tried to discover whether the adjacent rooms were occupied by members of the Werewolf organization (The organization planned by Nazis to carry on guerrilla resistance and terrorism after the war. - Tr.).

    Finally he tested the door lock. My companions occupied one room, and I had the one next to it. Now, for the first time since I had arrived in Germany, I felt a little dubious. I bolted the door, thought for a moment, then took out my pistol and slipped it under my pillow. After undressing I put out the light and plunged beneath the enormous feather bed.

    The following morning I knocked at my companions’ door to awaken them. I heard sleepy voices, then the bolt was shot back. They were weary and worn out. I gathered that they had sat up till long past midnight, discussing whether they should get into bed dressed or undressed. Now, in the morning sunlight, all their fears and anxieties were dispelled, and they began to pull each other’s leg.

    “Tell us how you went to the toilet in the middle of the night with your pistol at the ready, Victor Stepanovich!” the colonel said, winking at me.

    “Do you know who that well-dressed couple were yesterday evening?” I asked him. “The village shoemaker and his wife. And he’s an old communist, too. I asked the landlord. And you took them for Nazi leaders!”

    We had asked the landlord the previous evening to arrange for a mechanic to help our driver first thing in the morning. When we returned to the car we found them both hard at work. To pass the time, we climbed the steep path up to Goethe’s castle, and were shown over the place by the caretaker-guide. When we returned the car was in order, and before long we were on our way again.

    We journeyed through the length and breadth of Thuringia and Saxony for several days, controlling, sequestrating, requisitioning current production, and allocating orders on behalf of the Administration for Reparations. It was during this trip that I first began to experience an unusual feeling. It made me realize that the year I had spent outside the Soviet Union had not passed without leaving its effect on me. Somehow, a change had taken place within me. I was conscious of that as I worked and lived together with my two naval companions.

    They provided a kind of standard measure against which I could check the process that was going on inside me. As I talked with them I was disturbed to realize that my thoughts and my outlook had been modified by comparison with those of Soviet people. What I felt was not a simple renunciation of what I had believed in favor of something else. It was an enlargement of my entire horizon.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide


  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 06
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM06.htm

    Occupation Authorities at Work

    “Go and wait for me in the auto,” the general told me when I reported to him one day. He had a habit of not revealing where we were going. We might be visiting the Control Commission, or we might be going to the flying-ground to fly to Moscow or Paris. Either he considered that his subordinates should guess his thoughts, or he kept the route secret, in the manner of prominent personages, to prevent attempts on his life.

    His secrecy did not prevent his grumbling at his fellow travelers for not making preparations for the journey and arming themselves with the requisite materials, or even for traveling with him at all. Before the war he had been the first secretary of the Party District Committee in Sverdlovsk. During the war he was a member of the War Council and commander of the rear behind the Volkhov front-line army group; he was the Party’s eyes and ears in the army organization. These Party generals never directly intervened in the planning or execution of military operations, but no order was valid until they had countersigned it.

    I found Major Kuznetsov sitting in the auto. “Where are we going?” I asked.

    “Somewhere or other,” the adjutant replied unconcernedly. He was used to the general’s ways and did not worry his head about the object of the journey.

    We took the autobahn and drove to Dresden, where we drew up outside the Luisenhof. Innumerable red-pennoned automobiles surrounded it. On the steps of the hotel a group of generals was standing among them the double hero of the Soviet Union, Colonel-General of the Tank Army and military governor of Saxony, Bogdanov. These generals were the various military commanders of Saxony, and they had been summoned to Dresden to report to the high command of the S. M. A. Dresden and Berlin. The S. M. A. had received a mass of complaints and accusations concerning the activities of the local commandaturas. The various military commanders had received no instructions whatever after the capitulation and each was pursuing whatever policy he thought fit. The majority of them were half-educated men who had come to the forefront during the war, and they were completely unfitted for the tasks arising from peacetime occupation.

    Before General Shabalin went off with General Bogdanov to have a consultation prior to the conference he whispered something into his adjutant’s ear. Major Kuznetsov turned away and took me with him. “Come and help me look for an automobile,” he said.

    “What sort of automobile?” I asked in surprise.

    “One for the general,” he said briefly. “You’ll see how it’s done.”

    With the air of people objectively interested in car models we walked along the row of cars in which the commandants of the Saxony towns had come to the conference. As soon as a commander took over a city after the capitulation, thus becoming its absolute ruler, his first concern had been to requisition the finest car available. So now we were attending an exhibition of the finest models of the German automobile industry, from the rather conservative Maybach to the most modern creations of Mercedes-Benz. The new owners were already gone to the hotel, leaving the drivers, ordinary soldiers, in the cars.

    Major Kuznetsov made a leisurely examination of the various cars, kicking the tires with his toe, testing the springs, and even looking at the speedometers to see what mileage had been covered. Finally his choice fell on a Horch cabriolet.

    “Whose car is this?” he asked the soldier lolling comfortably behind the wheel.

    “Lieutenant-Colonel Zakharov’s,” the soldier answered in a tone suggesting that the name was world-famous.

    “Not a bad little bus,” Kuznetsov decided. He ran his fingers over the buttons of the instrument panel, took another look at the car, and said: “Tell your lieutenant-colonel he’s to send this car to Karlshorst, for General Shabalin.”

    The man gave the major a sidelong glance, but only asked distrustfully: “And who is General Shabalin?”

    “After the conference your lieutenant-colonel will know exactly who he is,” Kuznetsov answered. “And report to him that he’s to punish you for not saluting General Shabalin’s adjutant.”

    Looting activities were organized strictly in relation to rank and merit. The ordinary soldiers acquired watches and other small items. Junior officers picked up accordions; senior officers... The classification was complicated, but it was closely observed. If fate put a lieutenant in the way of acquiring a double-barreled sporting gun of the Derringer mark, it was no use his hoping to keep it. It was better for him to relinquish it voluntarily rather than have it taken from him. Sooner or later it would find its way into a major’s possession. But it would not remain with him long, unless it was well concealed. This general principle was applied with particular severity to cars. You couldn’t hide a car.

    The Saxony commandants had lost their sense of proportion through their exercise of local plenipotentiary powers and had committed a tactical error in bringing such a large number of attractive cars to their superiors’ notice. They paid for this by losing half the cars that were parked outside the hotel. When a second conference was held some months later many of the commandants arrived almost in carts. Of course they had got hold of quite good cars again by then, but they had left them behind.

    Some three hundred officers, ranking from major upward, were assembled for the conference. They included several generals, the commandants of Dresden, Leipzig and other large cities, who also were to take part in the exchange of experiences. The heads of the Dresden S. M. A. were seated at the presidium table, which was covered with red cloth. General Shabalin sat with them as the representative of the S. M. A. supreme authorities at Karlshorst.

    General Bogdanov opened the conference by stating that certain things had come to the ears of the S. M. A. which suggested that the commandaturas had a warped idea of their tasks. He called on the officers present to ’exchange their experiences’ and to submit the defects in the commandaturas’ work to pitiless criticism. He gave it to be understood that the S. M. A. was much better informed than they realized. So it would be better to discuss these defects themselves rather than wait for the S. M. A. to attack. In other words, if any one of them felt guilty he should expose as many of his neighbors’ sins as possible in order to obscure his own.

    A lieutenant-colonel was the first to speak: “Of course there are certain defects in the work of the commandaturas, but they’re chiefly due to the lack of control from above. The military commandaturas are left to their own devices, and that leads to....” The officer who had undertaken the task of self-castigation began very uncertainly and looked round at his comrades as though seeking their support. But they all had their eyes fixed attentively on their toecaps. General Bogdanov tapped his pencil expectantly on the table. The lieutenant-colonel went on: “Many commandants are losing sight of their duty; some of them have been demoralized and bourgeoisified. So far as they’re concerned the moral cleanliness of the Soviet officers is... er... er...” He felt that he had flown too high, and resolved to bring the question down to earth. “Take Major So-and-so, head of the commandatura in the town of X, for example....”

    “No pseudonyms, please,” General Bogdanov interrupted. “We’re all friends here.”

    “Well then, take Major Astafiev, for example,” the lieutenant-colonel corrected himself. “Since his appointment as commandant of the town of X it’s notorious that he’s gone to pieces. A little way outside the town there’s a castle, formerly belonging to a prince, which he’s made his residence. And there he lives in a style that not even the tsarist courtiers and boyars knew. He keeps more servants in the castle today than its former owners had. Every morning, when Major Astafiev deigns to open his eyes, he hasn’t got the least idea where he is until lie’s drunk half a bucket of pickled-cucumber liquor to clear his head after the previous night’s drinking bout. And then, as befits a real gentleman, the major sticks out his dainty feet and one German woman draws the stocking on to his left foot and another German woman draws on the right. A third stands ready with his silk dressing gown. And he can’t even put on his trousers without help from abroad.”

    There was a ripple of laughter in the hall. The gallant major’s style of living obviously impressed the conference.

    “But these are only the flowers; the fruits are still to come,” the lieutenant-colonel exclaimed. "Major Astafiev has reduced cohabitation with German women to a system. He has a special commando squad whose one task is to scour the district to get hold of women for him. They’re locked up for days in the commandatura cellars before they arrive at the major’s bed.

    “Recently, after one of his regular orgies, the major felt quite a longing for some fish soup. Without thinking twice about it he ordered the sluices of the castle lake to be opened so that the fish could be caught for him. He had a few small fishes for his supper, but many hundredweight of fish perished. Surely, comrades and officers, such behavior must arouse your indignation?”

    His words provoked amusement rather than indignation. Each of the officers recalled similar incidents within his own experience, and shared his impressions with his neighbors.

    “Major Astafiev’s case,” the speaker ended, “is of interest simply because it is typical. The situation is fundamentally the same in commandatura after commandatura. It is our duty to show up and brand such shameful activities, to call the fools to order and make them realize the existence of proletarian legality.”

    The look of amusement vanished from the other officers’ faces; their eyes again studied their boots. With the mention of responsibility and legality the affair had taken an unpleasant turn. The Soviet officers were well acquainted with Soviet law. It is based on the principle of the psychological education of the collective, and so it often resorts to the use of ’scapegoats’ who have to atone for the collective sins. In such cases the law is applied with unusual severity, as a deterrent.

    Soviet law turns a blind eye to peccadilloes. A man is not run in for simply knocking out someone’s tooth or breaking a window. There are more important matters to be attended to; for instance, a man can be given ten years for gleaning socialist ears of corn from the fields, or five years for stealing a piece of socialist sugar in a factory. Teeth and windowpanes are still private property, and so do not merit the protection of socialistic law. The result is that all feeling for legality is lost, and if this process goes too far, steps are taken to find a ’scapegoat’. It is highly unpleasant to be a scapegoat. One can get away with a great deal, only to find one is in danger of death for some really trifling offense. If the higher authorities of the S. M. A. had decided to put salutary measures into force under the pretext of harmless self-criticism, the situation must be pretty bad. And then some of the town commandants would be going before a military tribunal. Who would be the scapegoat? There was a distinct feeling of strain and nervousness in the hall.

    General Bogdanov’s calculation was sound. The lieutenant-colonel’s opening speech, which quite possibly had been arranged in the S. M. A., was followed by a succession of recriminations. The commandants devotedly flung muck at one another, while the secretaries took down every word in shorthand. Finally it came to the generals’ turn; the commandants of Dresden and Leipzig added their say. It was a rare sight to see a general standing like a schoolchild in the center of the hall and making confession of his sins. And if he referred to his general’s epaulettes and tried to justify his conduct a voice shot at him derisively from the presidium: “No mock modesty, General. We’re all friends here.”

    It revealed the mentality of a mass trained in absolute obedience. If the order comes from above to confess their sins, they all confess. Those who cannot boast of past sins confess their future ones. The commandants expose their ’deficiencies’ and swear to be good children in future, and pay attention to papa. For the papa in the Kremlin is always right.

    Someone in the hall rose and addressed the presidium: “May I ask a question, Comrade General? It isn’t quite to the point, but I’d like to have advice.”

    “Well, out with it. What’s troubling you?” Bogdanov said in a friendly tone.

    “My commandatura is right on the Czech frontier,” the speaker began. “Every day a horde of naked people are driven over the frontier into my area. I’ve put them all into cellars for the time being, we can’t have them running about the streets like that, and I’ve nothing I can dress them in.”

    “How do you mean, ’naked’?” General Bogdanov asked.

    “Just naked,” the commandant replied. “Like newborn babes. It’s shameful to see them.”

    “I don’t understand. Where do these naked people come from?”

    “They’re Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia. The Czechs first strip them, and then send them across the frontier to me. They tell them: ’You came here naked, and you can go back naked.’ They’re being transferred to Germany under the Potsdam Agreement. It’s a joke for the Czechs, but it’s a headache for me. What am I to dress them in, when my own men are going about in rags?”

    “There’s a bank in my town,” another commandant added his bit. “The bank director and I have inspected the private safes in the strongroom. They contain a large quantity of gold and diamonds, a real mountain of valuables. I’ve ordered it all to be sealed up. But what am I to do with it?”

    It was characteristic that not one of the commandants complained of difficulties with the German population. They had no diversionist activities to report, or unrest. Their own men gave them much more trouble.

    “The occupation machinery must be in control of the tasks set by our occupation policy,” General Bogdanov told the assembly. “We must maintain the prestige of our army and our country in the eyes of the people of the occupied country. The commandaturas are the lowest link in our contacts with the German population.”

    After the conference there was a banquet for all who had been present. Major Kuznetsov, an officer of the S. M. A. Dresden, and I had a table in a window niche. The commandants had recovered a little from the unpleasant experiences of the conference and were trying to restore their lost self-confidence by relating their heroic deeds of wartime. In this they had much assistance from the unlimited amount of drink available. The officer of the Dresden S. M. A. looked round the hall and remarked to me:

    “This reminds me of the Moscow Underground. The Under-ground’s wonderful, but the people using it don’t match it. Marble all round you, and hunger clothed in rags.”

    I asked Major Kuznetsov, whom because of his position, as adjutant was familiar with the general procedure: “What do you think will happen to Major Astafiev and the others who have been censured?”

    “Nothing!” he answered with a smile. “In the worst case, they’ll be transferred to other commandaturas. Even professional rogues are needed. Besides, these dolts are genuinely devoted to the Party, and to such men much is forgiven.”

    I was surprised to hear the major and the other officer expressing their opinions so frankly. But the frankness was due to the remark-able atmosphere that prevailed in the Party and all over the Soviet Union after the war. Everybody had the feeling that they had won their freedom, they had come out victorious. The feeling was general, but it was strengthened in those who had contacts with the west and could observe the striking contrasts between the two worlds.

    During our stay in Dresden General Shabalin was a guest of General Dubrovsky, head of the Administration for Economy of S. M. A. Saxony. Dubrovsky’s villa had formerly been the residence of some big German businessman. It had a beautiful garden, and after the conference Major Kuznetsov and I walked about the garden for a time. While we were out there Misha, the general’s chauffeur, brought us an order that we were to go at once to General Dubrovsky’s room.

    There we found a rather different kind of meeting in progress. The two Soviet generals were sitting on one side of the desk, and opposite them were the German city fathers, the head of the German administration for Saxony, and the burgomaster of Dresden. The burgomaster spoke perfect Russian, and until recently he had been a lieutenant-colonel in the Red Army. They were discussing Saxony’s economic tasks under the occupation regime. This subject was disposed of with amazing ease. The burgomaster was not only an obedient executive, but also a valuable adviser as to local conditions. We made no orders or demands; the burgomaster recommended efficacious measures, and we confirmed them.

    Only once did the burgomaster clearly reveal any consciousness of his German origin. When the great shortage of pitprops came up for discussion General Shabalin proposed:

    “There’s plenty of forest around here, cut it down.”

    The burgomaster, the former lieutenant-colonel in the Red Army, clapped his hands in horror. “If we cut down the forests, in five years our nourishing land of Saxony will be a desert!” he exclaimed. A compromise decision was come to, to look for other resources, and meanwhile to exploit the local forests.

    The head of the German Saxony administration was only a figurehead; a member of some democratic party, he was a feeble creature, ready to sign any document without looking at it. At his back was our man, a German who yesterday had been wearing Soviet uniform, but today a hundred per cent German, a burgomaster. He shrank from no effort to extract as large an amount of reparations as possible. The ’class-enemy’ had been displaced overnight, the other members of the population were paralyzed with terror, and our people worked under the guise of a ’new democracy’.

    Next day we drove to Halle, the capital of the province of Saxony. Here Shabalin met his old friend General Kotikov, head of the S. M. A. Administration for Economy at Halle. Later, General Kotikov acquired wider fame as the Soviet commandant of Berlin. He was a very pleasant man, and a hospitable host.

    At Halle there were similar conferences to those at Dresden. First an intermezzo with the town commandants, and then General Shabalin checked up on the work of the new democracy. The local German leader had lived for fifteen years in Pokrovsky Street, in Moscow, so he and I were almost neighbors. He was even more assiduous in his task than his colleague at Dresden. General Shabalin had to dampen his ardor as he presented a long list of measures to be taken in the direction of socialization.

    “Not so fast!” Shabalin said. “You must take the special features of the German economy and the transition stage into account. Put your proposals before General Kotikov for consideration.”

    On our way back to Berlin there was an unforeseen delay: one of our rear tires burst. Our driver had neither a spare cover nor a spare inner tube, and not even repair materials. The general raged. Whatever happened he wanted to be in Berlin before nightfall. Apparently he had no great trust in the efficiency of the city commandatura.

    Kuznetsov and I exchanged glances: we would have to do some-thing to get hold of a tier, for in his fear Misha had lost all the powers of invention for which Soviet drivers are renowned. There was only one possibility: we would have to ’organize’ a tier from a passing auto. Nowadays that was an everyday incident on the German country roads. We blocked the road according to all the rules of the military art, held up cars and submitted them to a thorough inspection. We found not one tier to fit our ’Admiral’s’ wheel. To the amazement of the people we held up, they were allowed to continue their journey. Our control post must have been an imposing sight: the general himself stood at our side, displaying his badges of rank.

    After some time a remarkable procession of automobiles came slowly along: several covered lorries, painted in rainbow colors, and plastered with garish playbills. A traveling circus. Only a blackhaired Carmen was lacking to complete the scene. A jeep closed the picturesque column with an American captain at the wheel.

    I tried to discover who was in charge of this show. But while I was wondering what language I would need to use in order to make myself understood, a modern Carmen jumped out of the jeep and addressed us in the genuine washerwoman’s lingo of the Berlin district of Wedding. For a moment Major Kuznetsov and I forgot what we had halted all these lorries for. That flower from Wedding was devilishly beautiful! No wonder the American captain was risking the dangerous journey along the roads of the Soviet zone. For such a woman one would forget all Eisenhower’s and Zhukov’s regulations taken together. We tore ourselves with difficulty from the enchanting view and began to examine the tiers. Finally we came to the jeep.

    “What about the jeep? Will its wheels fit?” Kuznetsov asked Misha.

    “The holes fit. We’ll limp a bit, but they’ll get us home.”

    So the problem was solved. Soon we would have a supplementary delivery on lend-lease account. In any case the jeep had a spare wheel: an unnecessary luxury.

    I told Carmen what we wanted, and pointed to the jeep’s spare wheel. The general mentally recalled the Potsdam agreement and the technique of intimidation. “Ask the American if he has a pass for the Soviet zone. And what he’s driving in these parts for?”

    But both the artist and her patron were glad to get away so cheaply without any psychological pressure: a car wheel in exchange for violating the Potsdam Agreement and a journey through the Soviet zone! I made a note of the captain’s Berlin address, so that we could return the expropriated wheel to its owner. Later I told Misha more than once to do so, but I fear the wheel got transformed into a bottle of vodka and found its way into his stomach. If the American captain should ever chance to read these lines, I express my thanks to him again and my apologies for the incident.

    Night was falling as we approached Berlin. The general grew fidgety and told Misha he was not to drive through the American sector on any account. He was to find a road through Rudow.

    That was easier said than done. Whichever way we turned, we found ourselves on roads running through the American sector, and so in the end we had to pass through it. The general flatly refused to take the normal route along the Potsdamerstrasse, and ordered Misha to wind his way through the southern suburbs until we reached the Soviet sector. Misha only shook his head. To have to travel through Berlin at night in the summer of 1945, and through unknown suburbs, was a difficult task.

    The general was pulling the wool over our eyes. He could not have been seriously afraid of an attempt on our lives or some under-hand design. There was no ban on Allies traveling through one anther’s Berlin sectors at that time. We had no secret documents with us. So, obviously, even on this occasion he was putting across some ideological bluff. Our auto crept slowly through the back streets. From time to time our headlamp picked out the figure of an American sentry. Or rather, figures, for they were always in pairs!

    The gallant soldier blinked angrily in the powerful beam, but his lady-friend quickly got over her alarm and smiled. Needless to say, they had no suspicion that a Soviet general was gazing at them from the darkness of the car. Shabalin snorted; it was all further evidence of the moral degeneration of the American army.

    After long wanderings among the ruins and allotments of the Berlin suburbs, in the light of our headlamp we saw a yellow arrow with the inscription: Karlshorst.

    The first post-war conference of the Big Three was held in Potsdam from 17 July to 2 August; it has gone down in history as the Potsdam Conference.

    In thinking of the Big Three at the Potsdam Conference one is inevitably struck by a gap: the familiar name of President Roosevelt was missing. He had died only a few days before the victory to which he had devoted so much strength and energy. One may find some consolation in the circumstance that he did not have to witness the crumbling of his illusions, on which he had based all his plans for a new ordering of the post-war world.

    During the conference Stalin went with the supreme representatives of the Western Allies on a car-tour of Berlin. One consequence of this trip was an order to the experts of the S. M. A. Air Administration to make a report to Stalin himself on the details of the Allied attacks on the city. The ruins of Berlin spoke more clearly than the newspaper reports and the statistics of bomb tonnage. As one drove through Berlin and saw the endless ruins, one might have thought that someone had shattered the enormous city with an equally enormous hammer. A comparison of the effects of the German air attacks on Moscow with the state of Berlin after the Allied attacks was provocative of thought. It was no casual interest that prompted Stalin to call for a special report.

    While the Big Three were negotiating, the S. M. A. was going on with its work. One of the first Soviet measures to have a radical influence on the internal structure of German economy was Marshal Zhukov’s Order No. 124. In this he decreed the confiscation of the vast wealth of former National Socialists and further, apparently quite incidentally, issued directions that preparations were to be made for the State to take over basic industries and for a plan of land reform to be drawn up. The German authorities were not yet used to Soviet methods, and could not read between the lines.

    Order No. 124 contained no precise figures. It was packed with demagogic phrases and it conferred comprehensive powers on the German authorities. The German ’people’, in the persons of their ’finest representatives’, were themselves to draft the plan and present it to the S. M. A. for consideration and confirmation. Simultaneously with the issue of Order No. 124, General Shabalin was given secret instructions on how it was to be put into force. These instructions laid down the precise nature of the reforms whose formulation was ostensibly to be left to the German autonomous authorities.

    I had more than one opportunity to see how the process of creating a land reform was carried through in General Shabalin’s private office. A solid-looking Maybach auto drove up to the entrance of the Administration, and a colorless individual in civilian clothes got out irresolutely. He was the Landrat, by favor of the S. M. A. the head of a district administration, and one of the ’finest representatives’ of the German people. In the general’s waiting room he stood in a cringing attitude, his coat over his arm, a shabby document-case gripped under his elbow, his hat pressed against his belly as though to defend him against a blow. With an ingratiating smile he cautiously lowered himself into a chair and waited patiently for an audience.

    At last he was summoned into the general’s room. An interpreter explained to Shabalin the Germans’ plan for land reform in the federal State of Saxony.

    “What do they propose as the upper limits of land-holdings this time?” the general asked.

    “One hundred to two hundred morgens, according to the individual case, Comrade General,” the interpreter answered after a glance at the land-reform draft in his hand.

    “Idiots! The third draft and still no good whatever! Tell him we can’t agree to it.”

    The interpreter translated. The Landrat kneaded his document-case helplessly between his hands, and began to explain that the proposed draft had been drawn up to secure the greatest possible economic advantages from the land, in view of the conditions of the State. He tried to explain the specific conditions of Saxony’s agriculture, and said that under the hard conditions imposed by nature it was absolutely vital to observe a close constructive relationship between cattle-breeding, forestry, and agriculture. Then he dealt with the peculiar features of the thorough mechanization of German agriculture; mechanization based on small farm conditions. He expressed a genuine desire to find the best solution to the problem raised by Order No. 124.

    Even when it was not absolutely necessary that I should attend, I always tried to be present at discussions of this kind. On closer inspection, Germany’s apparently planless economy proved to be organically so interlocked that it afforded a very interesting study for a Soviet expert. It was an exceptionally precise and complicated piece of mechanism, in which there was very restricted scope for experiment. Frequently I saw the German experts throw up their hands in despair when the general gave them advice or submitted demands which would have perfectly fitted Soviet conditions in new planning or reconstruction. They exclaimed with one voice: “That’s equal to suicide.”

    And so it happened this time. The general played with his pencil, puffed thoughtfully at his cigarette, blew out the smoke in rings. He did not even ask for the German’s arguments to be translated to him. He regarded it all as empty noise. When he considered he had given enough time to the matter he knitted his brows and turned to the interpreter:

    “Tell him the plan has got to be revised. We must look after the interests of the German peasantry, not those of the large landlords.”

    The general was a classic example of the Soviet official, who, being only an automatic executive organ, is incapable of considering argument put forward by the other side or of subjecting an issue to independent criticism. Yet he was deciding the whole economic future of the Soviet zone.

    The German rose to his feet in consternation. All his arguments had been useless. The draft of the land reform would be subjected to many further revisions, until the ’independent’ German proposal corresponded in every detail with the secret instructions, which the general kept in his safe.

    The land reform was not so much an economic as a political measure. Its object was the destruction of one of the strongest groups in German society, above all economically, and to create a new group in sympathy with the new regime. In the next phase, i. e., after the consolidation of the new regime, the first group would be physically destroyed, while the second would make acquaintance with the formula so well known in the Soviet Union: ’The land to you, the fruits to us.’

    I often felt sympathy for the Germans I met in General Shabalin’s office. The majority was communists. In one way or another they had fought the Hitler regime, and many of them had suffered for their convictions. After the German collapse they welcomed us joyfully, some regarding us as their liberators, others as their ideological allies. Many came to see us because they wanted to work for the benefit of a future Germany. It goes without saying that among them were the inevitable opportunists.

    Before any German was entrusted with any responsible position the S. M. A. subjected him to a thorough test of his political reliability. As they regarded us as their ideological allies, they did not hesitate to express their views frankly. And then one saw all too clearly what a great conflict there was between the convictions and desires many of them possessed and the instructions they received from the S. M. A. The S. M. A. wanted silent executives, not equal partners. The time was bound to come when these men would be faced with a choice: either to carry out orders without protest and become obedient tools, or clear out and make room for others.

    We had other visitors to the administration besides the German official authorities. The Scientific and Technical Department had some particularly interesting callers. Before the war the head of the department, Colonel Kondakov, had been head of the Department for Higher Military-Educational Institutions, a sub-section of the All-Union Committee for Higher School Affairs. He was an elderly and very cultivated man who knew his job and had much human understanding.

    One day Kondakov came up to me in the corridor. He had a look of despair on his face. “Gregory Petrovich,” he said to me, “be a good sort and give me a hand.”

    “Why, what’s wrong, Comrade Colonel?” I asked.

    “Some German in my room’s reducing me to despair. He’s invented some devilish device and is offering it to us. He won’t tell us the details, and we can’t make any sense of what he’s saying.”

    In the colonel’s room I found a fair-haired German; he introduced first himself then his young, doll-like wife to me.

    “Well, what is it you’ve got?” I asked.

    “First of all, Major, I must draw your attention to the fact that I am greatly interested in offering my invention to the great Soviet Union, where it will be used for the benefit of the toilers...”

    “Good, but what is it?” I interrupted as he paused for breath.

    “I don’t want my invention to fall into the hands of the Americans, though I know they’d pay me more. I don’t like the imperialists. I’m a convinced communist and...”

    “All right! We’ll take that for granted,” I interrupted again. “What exactly is your invention?”

    After an hour I was still no more able to make any sense of his remarks than the colonel had been. He had invented some very mysterious motor with an incredible performance and many other attractive features. He gave us to understand that it would bring about a revolution in warfare, and assured us he had kept it secret for years at the risk of his life, because he didn’t want the ’fascists’ to use it to the detriment of humanity. He asked to be given the opportunity to carry on his work and prepare models. The trouble was that all his calculations; plans and models had been destroyed during the American bombing attacks. In exchange for our assistance he bound himself to place the patent at the service of the Soviet government.

    I asked him to supply me with a list of the things he needed for his work. As though that was all he had been waiting for, he opened his case and handed me a statement which included all the desires of the heart: money, means of existence, even cigarettes, but none of the things which were necessary to an inventor of such a machine. He asked for a period of six months in which to carry it all through.

    I felt a strong desire to kick him out, and was sure he was trying the same trick on all the four occupation authorities. The colonel decided to give him a chance to justify his claims. But he muttered to himself: “You wait! If you’re trying to make a fool of me you’ll find yourself in a cell.”

    Such characters were regular visitors to all our departments. But it goes without saying that the Scientific and Technical Department was chiefly occupied with more important work. The people it was interested in did not come to the S. M. A. of their own accord. Usually they had to be sought for and brought in.

    The Scientific and Technical Department was really only a collecting and clearing point for the similarly named department attached to the Narcomvnudel. Colonel Kondakov sifted the incoming material, assessed its value, and passed it on to the cognate department of the Narcomvnudel in Potsdam, where highly qualified Soviet experts in all branches of science and technique were installed. From which one can assume that Moscow had more faith in the Narcomvnudel than in the S. M. A.

    The chief task of the S. M. A. Department was to search for brains. Moscow had a high estimation of German brains. So, for that matter, had the Western Allies, and consequently from the very first day of the occupation bitter struggle went on between the western and eastern allies. At the capitulation, Thuringia and a large part of Saxony were in the hands of the Americans. Two months later, in accordance with agreements, this area was handed over to the Soviet occupying authorities.

    During his inspection tours General Shabalin asked the military governors how far the S. M. A. order to seek out and register German experts had been carried through. He was astonished and indignant at the rapid and thorough work, which the ’damned Allies’ had put in. During their brief stay in Thuringia and Saxony the Americans had mopped up all the cream of the German scientific and technical spheres. Outstanding scientists, valuable research laboratories, technical archives, were all carried off.

    Scientists who received instructions to be evacuated could take with them not only all the material they needed for their work, but whole establishments together with their scientific collaborators, as they thought fit. In this province the Soviet authorities found only comparatively unimportant lecturers and assistants. The Zeiss works at Jena were regarded as particularly valuable booty. But from Jena, too, the Americans had been able to withdraw all the leading technical staff. Zeiss could manage to carry on with the staff that remained, but it could not advance. The same applied to the research institutes in Dresden and Leipzig.

    Another circumstance of great importance was the fact that the majority of the leading German scientists had fled westward while the Red Army was advancing. And so the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, one of the greatest scientific institutions in the world, and of especial interest to Moscow, proved to be as useful to us as the ruins of the Coliseum.

    To put up a good show to Moscow, the S. M. A. did its best to represent that the third-rate scientists who fell into their hands were men of the utmost importance. Assistants in Messerschmitt’s laboratory were declared to be his closest collaborators. The usual methods of Soviet leadership: the plan descended from above, and sand was flung up from below.

    On the plea that it was a necessary step to secure the peace, the S. M. A. sought all over Germany for military experts. Its representatives hunted assiduously for constructors of V2’s, jet-planes, and heavy tanks. And swarms of petty swindlers haunted the S. M. A. offices, offering their services in the perfection of deadly weapons.

    Colonel Kondakov’s assistant in the Scientific and Technical Department was a Major Popov. One day he and I were discussing the latest technical achievements of the air-arm, with particular reference to the Luftwaffe and the American Flying Fortresses, the B-29’s. “We’ve got them now,” he said casually. “You remember the papers reporting in 1943 that several Flying Fortresses went off their course after a bombing attack on Japan, and were interned in the Soviet Union?”

    “Yes, I remember,” I answered.

    “That was a really delicate affair,” he commented. “And rather different from how the papers reported it. When the Forts were discovered over our territory a squadron of especially fast Soviet fighters was sent up after them. They overtook the Americans and signaled to them to land. The Americans had been ordered that they were not to land in any unknown area with Flying Fortresses. The Forts were the latest achievement of American aviation technique, and they were a dead secret. In the event of a forced landing being necessary, the crews had orders to take to their parachutes and blow up their machines in mid-air.

    So the Forts continued to fly over the Siberian taiga without taking notice of our pursuit. The Soviet fighters fired a warning salvo with their rocket-guns, broke up the bomber formation and forced one to land on the landing ground at Khabarovsk. The crew was given a right hearty reception. But despite all attempts to persuade them, the Americans refused to leave their machine until an American consul had arrived.

    A consul wasn’t to be found all that easily, but in the presence of the crew the whole machine was sealed up, from nose to tail. Our people solemnly stuck the seal in the American commander’s pocket, and assured them that everything was in order, they could spend a couple of hours quietly in the Intourist hotel until the consul arrived. But while Intourist was entertaining the crew with all the pleasures of earth the cables between Moscow and Khabarovsk hummed with secret requests and answering secret orders. Planes loaded with the finest Soviet experts were hurriedly dispatched from Moscow.

    The Americans were persuaded, and where necessary forced, to spend the night in the hotel and meanwhile a feverish activity set in on the landing ground. The seals were removed, and the Soviet engineers, technicians, and constructors swarmed over the machine by the light of searchlights. I was one of the technicians sent to carry out the Kremlin’s order ’to commit everything to paper’. We spent several days studying the bomber, while the American crew were kept interned.”

    The fact that a B-29 had landed in the Far East of Soviet Russia was reported at the time by Tass, and one could take it for granted that everything went as Major Popov declared. But, after discussing the difficulties of the job and the services he personally had rendered, he gave the story a more romantic ending:

    "One of the members of the crew, who suspected that there was something wrong somewhere, managed to get out of the hotel at night and make his way to the landing ground. There he saw what was happening to the ’sealed’ machine. He returned and told his comrades. They had a short-wave transmitter which was to be used in emergencies, and they at once sent a code message to American headquarters. Meanwhile Washington and Moscow were engaged in a lively exchange of notes over the interned aircraft.

    By the time the crew’s report reached Washington the Soviet technical brigade had done its job. The crew was escorted to the landing ground, and the commander was solemnly invited to convince himself that the seals had not been broken. Stalin sent an extremely cordial cable to President Roosevelt, informing him personally of the machine’s release. A few minutes before the B-29 was due to leave, Stalin received a cable from the President: ’Accept the B-29 as a present from me.’

    "When the Soviet pilots took over the gift in order to fly it to Moscow, they came up against unexpected difficulties. It was far from easy to get the gigantic craft airborne. So one of our best test pilots for heavy machines was specially sent from Moscow. After studying it for two weeks he managed to get it up and flew it safely to Moscow. For which he was awarded the title of ’???? of the Soviet Union’.

    “Several of the Central Construction Bureaus attached to the People’s Commissariat for Aviation In Industry were assigned the task of preparing the manufacture of this type of machine. The first test machines were ready by the last year of the war. A little later a number of aviation works in the Urals began serial production. Tupolev and the gifted designer Petliakov were entrusted with the creation of the Soviet ’Flying Fortresses’.”

    As time passed more people arrived to work in the S. M. A. On entering General Shabalin’s outer office one day I saw a young woman leaning back in an armchair. She had one leg crossed over the other, a cigarette in one hand, and was conversing gaily with Major Kuznetsov. She left brilliant crimson traces of lipstick on her cigarette when she took it out of her mouth. She threw me a swift, appraising glance, then turned back to the major. There was something distinctive about her behavior, the exaggeratedly slovenly attitude, the way she took deep draws at her cigarette, the twist of her carmined lips. She was waiting to see the general. When she had gone in I asked Kuznetsov:

    “Who is that beauty?”

    “She’s been an interpreter to one of the dismantling generals. Now he’s gone back to Moscow and the chief of staff has recommended her to our boss. Apparently she’s to be his interpreter.”

    And so Lisa Stenina became General Shabalin’s interpreter, his private interpreter, as she always emphasized. She spoke German perfectly, was well educated, well read, and clever. And she had several other unusual qualities.

    She used make-up far too much. Although she looked at least twenty-five, she maintained that she was not more than seventeen. And although all her documents referred to her as Elizaveta Yefimovna, she always introduced herself as Elizaveta Pavlovna. Yefimovna was plebeian, but Pavlovna sounded like a Pushkin heroine.

    Lisa was not in the army, but she always wore an officer’s coat with lieutenant’s insignia over her silk dress, declaring she had nothing else to wear. Of course, that was sheer imagination: she wore the coat only for show. She had an unbridled tongue. And she was fond of discussing very delicate political questions. But above all she liked to impress. At every opportunity she mentioned that her sister was married to General Rudenko. If her audience failed to show any sign of interest, she added that General Rudenko was head of the Soviet Purchasing Commission in America. And if that didn’t do the trick, she confided that he wasn’t simply our trade representative in America, he was head of Soviet intelligence there.

    Once she was absent from the office a whole day without permission. She turned up in the interpreters’ room late in the evening, but in a shocking state: terribly scratched, her clothes torn, her head bound up.

    I was informed by phone of her arrival ten minutes before the close of office hours. I went to find out what had happened.

    “Where have you been?” I asked her anxiously.

    “A colonel invited me to go for a ride and took me into the forest. Well, and then....”

    “And then I suppose you made a fool of him,” I surmised.

    “Where’s your cap?” someone asked.

    “Lost,” she answered, to convey all the seriousness of the situation from which she had emerged victorious.

    “And have you lost nothing else, my dear Lisa?” I asked, in an assumed anxious tone. She gave me a devastating look.

    “Now what are we to do with you?” I asked commiseratingly. “As you’re a lieutenant, you should be put under arrest for arbitrary absence from duty. What will the general say?”

    “That’s my concern; you needn’t worry about that, Comrade Major.”

    “Poor Lisa!” I sighed.

    A day or two later Major Kuznetsov remarked to me casually: “I hear you’re always teasing Lisa. You want to be careful with her.”

    “But why?”

    “Take my advice. Even the general’s afraid of her. Give it a moment’s thought. She hasn’t been assigned to the general by chance. Understand?” He lowered his tone. “I tell you as a friend: don’t play with fire.”

    Later on I learned rather more about Lisa Stenina and her past.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide


  • En #Allemagne, les travailleurs d’Amazon trouvent des soutiens
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/270318/en-allemagne-les-travailleurs-d-amazon-trouvent-des-soutiens

    De Berlin à Leipzig, la campagne « Make #Amazon Pay » tisse des solidarités entre activistes des gauches alternatives et travailleurs précaires dans les entrepôts Amazon du pays. Quatrième volet de notre série sur les batailles de l’ubérisation en Europe.

    #International #France #grèves #Italie #Jeff_Bezos #Numérique #Pologne #social #syndicats


  • En #Allemagne, les travailleurs d’Amazon trouvent de nouveaux soutiens
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/270318/en-allemagne-les-travailleurs-d-amazon-trouvent-de-nouveaux-soutiens

    De Berlin à Leipzig, la campagne « Make #Amazon Pay » tisse des solidarités entre activistes des gauches alternatives et travailleurs précaires dans les entrepôts Amazon du pays. Quatrième volet de notre série sur les batailles de l’ubérisation en Europe.

    #International #France #grèves #Italie #Jeff_Bezos #Numérique #Pologne #social #syndicats


  • De #crapaud ou de porcelaine, le livre dans tous ses états s’adjuge magnifiquement. La collection d’un bibliophile - Drouot Richelieu -
    http://www.lecurieuxdesarts.fr/2018/02/de-crapaud-ou-de-porcelaine-le-livre-dans-tous-ses-etats-la-collect

    Isidore Ducasse, dit le comte de Lautréamont. Les Chants de Maldoror avec cinq lettres de l’auteur et le fac-similé de l’une d’elles. Paris, Au Sans Pareil, 1925. Reliure demi-veau vert bronze, plats de veau naturel brun avec, incrustées, les deux parties d’une peau de grenouille


    William Blake. Ausgewählte Dichtungen. Übertragen von Adolf Knoblauch. Berlin, Oesterheld & Co. Verlag, 1907. 2 volumes in-4.Tirage limité à 670 exemplaires numérotés. L’impression a été partagée entre Poeschel & Trepte à Leipzig, pour le premier volume, et l’officine berlinoise d’Otto von Holten, pour le second.

    Encore plus étonnant, pour rester dans le domaine des amphibiens, cet « hymne à la rigueur et à la beauté » comme le qualifient les experts. Cette reliure fut conçue par la Wiener Werkstätte, en peau de crapaud teintée, doublée et signée de Josef Hoffmann, sur des plats de bois ondulés, doublures de peau de crapaud teintée de même composées de plusieurs pièces, gardes de soie taupe.


  • As court case looms, Germany’s likely leaders pledge to protect diesel
    https://www.clientearth.org/court-case-looms-germanys-likely-leaders-pledge-protect-diesel

    As court case looms, Germany’s likely leaders pledge to protect diesel

    News / 6 February 2018

    Germany’s incoming government has vowed to do everything in its power to stop diesel restrictions coming into force. Environmental lawyers have denounced the move, criticising protection for industry at the expense of public health.

    Germany’s air quality is so poor that it is in the midst of legal proceedings by the European Commission, as well as a spate of regional court cases taken by ClientEarth and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). Triggered by this wave of court actions, three separate German cities (Münich, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf) have been asked to introduce “Dieselfahrverbote” – areas where diesel vehicles older than a certain age will not be allowed to drive. According to German courts, restricting diesel vehicles is by far the fastest way to bring down illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution.

    –------

    Juin 2017
    Pollution : Munich tire le coup de grâce contre le #diesel
    https://www.tdg.ch/economie/entreprises/Munich-tire-le-coup-de-grce-contre-le-diesel/story/31014351

    Après Hambourg et Stuttgart, Munich veut chasser le diesel de son centre. La ville du siège de BMW prévoit d’interdire de circulation tout véhicule ne répondant pas aux normes Euro 6, environ 300 000 voitures. « Je ne vois pas d’autre alternative pour réduire la #pollution, les niveaux sont devenus effrayants », a déclaré mardi le maire social-démocrate Dieter Reiter (SPD). Quand on sait qu’en Allemagne deux BMW sur trois roulent au diesel, une telle mesure est loin d’être populaire.

    A l’automne, le Tribunal administratif fédéral de Leipzig doit donner son avis sur le droit des communes à restreindre la circulation. Si les juges donnaient leur feu vert, le maire de Munich légiférerait dans la foulée, du moins l’a-t-il promis.

    Le lobby #automobile riposte

    BMW et le lobby de l’automobile ne se laisseront pas faire. Une interdiction généralisée exclurait en Allemagne près de 13 millions de véhicules des centres, a calculé la puissante association ADAC. « C’est ni plus ni moins une dépossession de bien », peste son vice-président, Ulrich Klaus Becker.

    La résistance s’organise également à Stuttgart, ville de l’automobile par excellence avec Porsche, Daimler (Mercedes) mais aussi le sous-traitant Bosch. Lovée dans une cuvette, la capitale du Bade-Wurtemberg accuse les plus hauts pics de pollution du pays. Le maire écologiste, Fritz Kuhn, a décidé au début du mois de mai de procéder à des interdictions dès 2018.

    #écologie


  • « Make Amazon pay » : entretien avec Anton Kramer sur les luttes et la logistique à Leipzig.
    https://makeamazonpay.org/2017/12/21/make-amazon-pay-entretien-avec-anton-kramer-sur-les-luttes-et-la-logi

    Emblème du rêve capitaliste d’un monde sans crispations ni frictions, Amazon est l’une des plus grandes firmes existantes. Cet entretien avec Anton Kramer, militant d’une alliance de solidarité avec les travailleurs.se.s en lutte au sein de l’entreprise, revient sur le parcours de mobilisation construit depuis plusieurs années à Leipzig, dans le nord-est de l’Allemagne. Il éclaire notamment le rôle politique de la logistique dans les transformations de la production, de l’échange et de la consommation (...)

    #Amazon #domination #travail #travailleurs #surveillance #Verdi


  • La culture du Paléolithique moyen ancien en Inde autour de 385-172 ka redéfinit les modèles de migrations dit « Out of Africa ».
    Early Middle Palaeolithic culture in India around 385–172 ka reframes Out of Africa models | Nature
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25444

    La découverte, présentée dans la revue Nature, jeudi 1er février, par une équipe indo-française, repose la question épineuse de l’origine de ce type d’innovation technique.

    http://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2018/01/31/des-outils-sophistiques-vieux-de-385-000-ans-decouverts-en-inde_5250039_1650

    Que dit l’article ?

    La datation par luminescence sur le site préhistorique stratifié de Attirampakkam en Inde a montré que les processus étudiés montrent la fin de la culture acheuléenne et l’émergence de la culture du paléolithique moyen vers 385 ± 64 ka, soit beaucoup plus tôt que prévu pour l’Asie du Sud.
    Le paléolithique moyen s’est poursuivi à Attirampakkam jusque vers 172 ± 41 ka.

    Notes : la chronologie des technologies du Paléolithique moyen dans les régions éloignées d’Afrique et d’Europe sont cruciales pour :
    1/ tester les théories sur la origines et l’évolution précoce de ces cultures
    2/ comprendre leur association avec les humains modernes ou homininés archaïques
    3/ comprendre leur liens avec les cultures acheuléennes précédentes et la propagation de la technique Levallois.

    La situation géographique de l’Inde et de ses riches archives du Paléolithique moyen sont idéales pour traiter ces problèmes. Cependant, les progrès dans les connaissances ont été limités par la rareté des sites et des fossiles homininés ainsi que par les contraintes géochronologique.

    Qu’a-t-on relevé à Attirampakkam ? Une désaffection progressive pour les bifaces, une prédominance des petits outils, l’apparition de flocons Levallois distinctifs et diversifiés... Tout cela souligne de façon notable qu’on s’éloigne des technologies précoces acheuléennes à grandes flocons.
    Ces résultats montre qu’un changement de comportement s’est produit en Inde vers 385 ± 64 ka, contemporain avec des processus similaires enregistrés en Afrique et L’Europe.

    Ainsi, cela suggère donc qu’il y a eu des interactions complexes entre un développement local et des transformations globales en cours. Toutes ces observations appelleraient donc une reformulation des modèles qui font débuter les origines de la culture indienne du Paléolithique moyen au moment de la dispersions des hommes modernes vers 125 ka même si

    Yanni Gunnell et ses collègues ne vont pas jusqu’à écrire qu’Homo sapiens était le fabricant des Levallois d’Attirampakkam. « Cela relèverait plus du sentiment que de la preuve », admet-il.

    Quelques éléments en faveur de la diffusion d’une telle invention, au gré des déplacements des populations humaines :

    Les fourchettes très larges des datations pourraient rendre un tel scénario envisageable : si l’on prend la marge haute de la datation des fossiles marocains (315 000 ans + 34 000 ans) et la plage basse pour le site indien (385 000 ans – 64 000 ans), les incompatibilités temporelles s’effacent.

    Sachant qu’à la même époque, on a enregistré un épisode de « Sahara vert », le tableau se complète : « Les chasseurs-cueilleurs auraient ainsi rencontré entre l’Afrique et l’Asie du Sud un continuum d’écosystèmes de steppe et de savane sans interruption majeure par une barrière désertique, favorable à la dispersion des faunes cynégétiques avec lesquelles ils ont co-évolué

    Yanni Gunnell (dans le communiqué de presse qui accompagne la publication dans Nature).

    Maintenant, qu’en disent les contradicteurs ?

    Une technologie comme le débitage Levallois [a pu être] « inventée » de façon indépendante dans diverses régions du monde, par des espèces tout aussi diverses. « Cette hypothèse de la convergence technologique correspond à l’opinion dominante

    Jean-Jacques Hublin (Collège de France, Institut Max-Planck, Leipzig)

    Les pierres taillées présentées « ne sont pas du Levallois ». [ Eric Boëda, spécialiste de la taille des outils lithiques (université Paris-X Nanterre) ] estime qu’elles correspondent à « une analogie non contrôlée » avec cette méthode de taille, à « un début de production normalisée, un débitage même pas suivi de façonnage, une simple recherche de tranchant ». Mais pas au fruit de l’anticipation subtile qui permet de débiter une série d’outils à partir d’un bloc initial.

    Mais , Vincent Mourre (Institut national des recherches archéologiques préventives), lui aussi spécialiste de la production des industries lithiques,

    estime que les doutes émis par Eric Boëda « ne sont pas justifiés » - même si la qualification de « laminaires » de certaines production « pourrait sans doute être tempérée ». La critique de son confrère « ne tient pas compte de la variabilité des méthodes Levallois dans le temps et dans l’espace ni de la nécessaire adaptation aux matières première locales, en l’occurrence, du quartzite ». Une des planches présentant des « nucléus », ces noyaux de pierre dont sont tirées les lames, lui semble « particulièrement convaincante ». « En l’absence de fossile humain ancien bien daté dans le sous-continent indien, les retombées immédiates sont peut-être un peu plus modestes que ce que laisse entendre le titre de l’article de Nature », tempère cependant le chercheur.

    Affaire à suivre...

    #préhistoire #industrie_lithique #inde #Levallois #paléolithique_moyen #paléolithique_supérieur
    #385-172ka


  • Amazon veut équiper ses salariés de bracelets électroniques
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/internet/amazon/amazon-veut-equiper-ses-salaries-de-bracelets-electroniques_2591282.htm

    Si un employé place ses mains au mauvais endroit, ou ne touche pas le bon objet au moment de la collecte, le bracelet pourra se mettre à vibrer, résume Mashable.

    Oui oui oui. On part furieusement en vrille, il n’y a rien à dire !
    #travail #exploitation #Amazon #déshumanisation #GAFAM


  • #Andreas_Gursky on the photograph that changed everything: ’It was pure intuition’ | Art and design | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/jan/18/andreas-gursky-each-photograph-is-a-world-of-its-own-best-photograph-sa

    It was 1990 and I was out driving with my family, sightseeing in and around Naples. Late in the afternoon, we came across this view over the harbour of Salerno. The sun was setting over the city so I had to hurry. I set up my tripod and my 4x5 inch camera, then took four frames. There was no time to weigh up whether it was worth it or not.
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    Visually, everything was completely at odds with what I had been taught. My teachers, the conceptual artists Bernd and Hilla Becher, had told me to avoid photographing with sunlight, blue sky or strong shadows. But I thought the warm sunlight here made for something quite kitsch. Also, up until this point, human beings had been the focus of my work – but here there were none in sight. Yet I was overwhelmed by what I saw: the complexity of the image, the accumulation of goods, the cars, the containers. I hadn’t been sure the photograph would work. I just felt compelled. It was pure intuition.

    #photographie


  • 34C3 à Leipzig - Compte-rendu de conférences 2017 sur le Libre & Open Source
    https://linuxfr.org/news/34c3-a-leipzig-compte-rendu-de-conferences-2017-sur-le-libre-open-source

    4 janvier 2018, par Valérie Dagrain aka wanda CC-by-SA 4.0 Le contexte du 34C3

    Depuis 1984, le CCC, Chaos Computer Club, accueille chaque année des intervenants sur les thèmes de la sécurité informatique, du hardware et "making", aux sciences, à la société et la politique, l’art et la culture.

    En 2016, un nouveau thème était dédié au spatial. En 2017, on assiste à l’apparition de plus d’interventions sur le changement climatique, l’Internet des Objets et près de 20 conférences sont consacrées à la résilience.

    Le congrès s’est déroulé en 2017 à Leipzig et c’est la 34ème édition. Étant organisé par le CCC (C3), l’événement se nomme 34C3. La devise du congrès 2017 est "Tuwat", de « Tu etwas » en allemand pour « fais quelque chose » et qui fait écho à "Do It". Ce nom est lié au texte fondateur à partir duquel le Chaos (...)