David SimsEssays

Solzhenitsyn on Infiltrators in Dissident Groups

A map of the gulags in the old Soviet Union; Americans have their own system, too.

by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I HAD NOT YET even heard the word “nasedka” — “stool pigeon” — nor learned that there had to be one such “stool pigeon” in each cell. And I had not yet had time to think things over and conclude that I did not like this fellow, Georgi Kramarenko. But a spiritual relay, a sensor relay, had clicked inside me, and it had closed him off from me for good and all. I would not bother to recall this event if it had been the only one of its kind. But soon, with astonishment, and alarm, I became aware of the work of this internal sensor relay as a constant, inborn trait. The years passed and I lay on the same bunks, marched in the same formations, and worked in the same work brigades with hundreds of others. And always that secret sensor relay, for whose creation I deserved not the least bit of credit, worked even before I remembered it was there, worked at the first sight of a human face and eyes, at the first sound of a voice — so that I opened my heart to that person either fully or just the width of a crack, or else shut myself off from him completely.

This was so consistently unfailing that all the efforts of the State Security officers to employ stool pigeons began to seem to me as insignificant as being pestered by gnats: After all, a person who has undertaken to be a traitor always betrays the fact in his face and in his voice, and even though some were more skilled in pretense, there was always something fishy about them. On the other hand, the sensor relay helped me distinguish those to whom I could from the very beginning of our acquaintance completely disclose my most precious depths and secrets — secrets for which heads roll. Thus it was that I got through eight years of imprisonment, three years of exile, and another six years of underground authorship, which were in no wise less dangerous. During all those seventeen years I recklessly revealed myself to dozens of people — and didn’t make a misstep even once. I have never read about this trait anywhere, and I mention it here for those interested in psychology. It seems to me that such spiritual sensors exist in many of us, but because we live in too technological and rational an age, we neglect this miracle and don’t allow it to develop.

* * *

Source: The Gulag Archipelago (1973) via David Sims

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7 Comments

  1. 22 May, 2017 at 4:56 pm — Reply

    One thing I have noticed about spies in the movement is that they are never completely relaxed. They are always alert and psychologically on guard.

    Of course, movement snitches are almost always amateurs who have been “turned,” either for money or in exchange for consideration in legal charges against them (or both). When the time comes when we warrant infiltration by trained, professional agents, they will be harder to detect.

    • Anthony Collins
      23 May, 2017 at 5:59 am — Reply

      “When the time comes when we warrant infiltration by trained, professional agents, they will be harder to detect.” Such agents can occupy very sensitive positions and be very hard to detect. A good example of this would be the fact that Malcolm X’s bodyguard Gene Roberts was an undercover police agent. Now that is what you call being tailed.

  2. Joe
    25 May, 2017 at 1:13 am — Reply

    Wow. I must read the entire “Gulag Archelago”. I’ve had it for years, but these tidbit extracts entice me to delve into it more. Thank you, Alexander.

  3. 25 May, 2017 at 2:33 pm — Reply

    ▶ “When the time comes when we warrant infiltration by trained, professional agents, they will be harder to detect.”

    ▶ “Such agents can occupy very sensitive positions and be very hard to detect. A good example of this would be the fact that Malcolm X’s bodyguard Gene Roberts was an undercover police agent. Now that is what you call being tailed.”

    An even better example is Tony Evola, who infiltrated the World Church of the Creator and became Matt Hale’s “Chief of Security”. Now Hale’s serving a 40 year sentence because of this fact. After Hale was convicted, he claims to have known Evola was an informant all along. But, if so, then why didn’t he terminate him? That’s a mystery that’s never been answered. In the end, the lesson here is that security is negligible to non-existent in white nationalist/alt-right groups, as incidents like Richard Spencer and “the punch heard round the world” have proven time and again.

    • Anthony Collins
      26 May, 2017 at 8:25 am — Reply

      On a side note, perhaps the most notorious double agent in history would be the Jew Yevno Azef. As the Wikipedia entry on him notes, he “was a Russian socialist revolutionary who was also a double agent and agent provocateur, working both as an organizer of assassinations for the Socialist-Revolutionary Party and a police spy for the Okhrana, the Imperial secret police. He rose in the ranks to become the leader of the party’s terrorist branch, the SR Combat Organization, from 1904 to 1908.” (Yes, I know that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but this information corresponds more or less with the little that I’ve read about Azef elsewhere.)

  4. Bruce Arney
    26 May, 2017 at 12:56 pm — Reply

    The ability to spot a snitch is a talent worth cultivating. They are quite resourceful in embedding themselves in all significant movements. Another example of well-known snitches is Martinez turning against Bob Matthews of the Brotherhood.

  5. Thomas Plaster
    2 September, 2017 at 3:50 pm — Reply

    I would not be surprised if Kessler, of Charlottesville fame, turns out to be LEFTIST provocateur. He was just not long ago an Obama supporter, and something else like Occupy Wall Street. Very suspicious.

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