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Who are the Borzoi, and How they fought with them in the Soviet Union
Who are the Borzoi, and How they fought with them in the Soviet Union

As soon as the October Revolution died down, the new authorities declared in Russia a struggle against "alien class elements." Ex-“bourgeois” - immigrants from the well-to-do strata of society were called such from now on. Lenin believed that in the case of idlers or, as they were called, parasites, any means are appropriate. Each citizen had not only to work, but to engage exclusively in activities approved from above. Parasitism was recognized as a crime punishable by law. In the USSR, everyone clearly knew: the unemployed is a parasite living at the expense of the people. And they treated those who, for some reason, did not fit into the image of a socialist worker, as with a full-fledged criminal and moral renegade.

The collective farm plows, and he waves his hands

Thematic Soviet poster

After 1917, the Bolsheviks introduced socio-economic transformations, which were designed to contribute to a quick victory in the Civil War and the construction of a new social community. By the Constitution of the RSFSR of 1918, citizens who lived on unearned income were deprived of their voting rights. Compulsory employment was also enshrined in the Stalinist Constitution in 1936. The main law of the country proclaimed: who does not work, he does not eat.

In 1951, tramps, beggars, and even officially unemployed were added to the antisocial element. The measures applied to such citizens were limited to expulsion from cities and short-term imprisonment. After the death of Joseph Vissarionovich, a "thaw" came in the form of an era of partial liberalization of all spheres of social and political life. The state control of "parasitism" has also somewhat weakened.

However, a few years later saw the light of the decree "On intensifying the struggle against persons who evade socially useful labor", and the Communist Party began to actively attack the "unwilling to work." Citizens who had income from housing, land and vehicles also fell under this article. They said about such people: "The collective farm plows, and he waves his hands."

Find and punish

Everyone was obliged to work

The search and capture of the parasitic element lay with the police officers. When the hands of law enforcement agencies were not enough, vigilante activists were involved in the case. Citizens who did not want to work or live on unearned income for more than four months in a row were put on the dysfunctional lists under the abbreviation BORZ (without a specific occupation). By the way, hence the jargonism "greyhound" - a person who does not strive to work. Only later did this word acquire a slightly shifted meaning and the greyhound began to be called an arrogant and self-confident person who did not obey generally accepted norms and refused to live according to the laws of society. Such citizens were punished severely.

After a fleeting court session, which uncompromisingly proved the parasite's guilt, all the property bought with unearned finances was confiscated from him. Then the convict was evicted to a specially designated area for a period of two to five and was involved in corrective labor at the place of settlement. Statistics show that over four years of this practice, at least half a million parasitic citizens inclined to an antisocial lifestyle were identified. About 40 thousand of them were convicted and evicted.

Andropov round-ups

Citizens were called upon to help the authorities fight parasites

"Hello, why aren't you at work?"In 1983, law enforcement officers asked such a question to anyone walking down the street or visiting a public place (cinema, bathhouse, cafe) during working hours. The police were authorized to check identity documents and draw up lists of violators of the labor regime. Further, the names were transferred to the management of the enterprises, which included suspicious citizens with the requirement to explain the reason for the absence of the labor machine during working hours.

These processes have remained in history under the name “Andropov round-ups”. Yuri Andropov, an ex-KGBist with an iron grip, who entered the post of General Secretary, immediately began to eliminate the spoiled people during the period of Brezhnev's stagnation. If we talk about the effectiveness of such programs for tightening labor discipline, then, together with some other measures, this approach led to an increase of 6% in the volume of production of the national economy. At least on paper.

The practice of round-ups ended in February 1984 with the death of Andropov. In the subsequent period, the authorities did not resort to radical methods of combating the insufficient level of labor discipline.

The famous "parasite"

A note about the parasite Brodsky

The famous poet of the 20th century, Joseph Brodsky, wrote poetry and was engaged in literary translations. Once "Vecherny Leningrad" published material under the title "Near-literary drone", in which Brodsky was called a dropout, accused of parasitism, and even undertook to assume that the poet was capable of treason. Readers' reactions to an adult male not employed in community service were immediate. Even representatives of the intelligentsia allowed themselves strong phrases about the poet. As a result, on January 13, 1964, Brodsky was arrested.

In the conversation with the judge, the writer did not see his guilt, calling versification the same work as standing at the bench. In full accordance with the decree on parasitism, Joseph Brodsky was sentenced to five years of remote forced labor in a harsh area - the poet went to the Konosha district of the Arkhangelsk region. In a later interview with the well-known journalist Solomon Volkov, the ex-prisoner said that he worked as a farm laborer in Konosha, but the conditions there suited him quite well.

The poet's soul readily accepted the almost literary image of the Russian north with its cold, austere rural lifestyle and frozen ground. A year and a half after the sentencing, Brodsky was released under growing public pressure. Subsequently, the poet will say quite tolerantly about everything that happened. He realized that others were much less fortunate, it was much more difficult and his case was a great luck.

It was not only for parasitism that one could please go to prison under the USSR. But also for same-sex love, moonshine and other offenses, which today seem wild.

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