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Sabotage in Magnitogorsk

Another American engineer, John Scott,  who worked at Magnitogorsk, recorded similar events in his book Behind the Urals. When describing the 1937 Purge, he wrote that there was serious, sometimes criminal negligence on the part of the people responsible. The machines at Magnitogorsk were deliberately sabotaged by ex-kulaks who had become workers. A bourgeois engineer, Scott  analyzed the purge as follows:

`Many people in Magnitogorsk, arrested and indicted for political crimes, were just thieves, embezzlers, and bandits ....'


Scott,  op. cit. , p. 184.

`The purge struck Magnitogorsk in 1937 with great force. Thousands were arrested ....

`The October Revolution earned the enmity of the old aristocracy, the officers of the old Czarist army and of the various White armies, State employees from pre-war days, business men of all kinds, small landlords, and kulaks. All of these people had ample reason to hate the Soviet power, for it had deprived them of something which they had before. Besides being internally dangerous, these men and women were potentially good material for clever foreign agents to work with ....

`Geographical conditions were such that no matter what kind of government was in power in the Soviet Union, poor, thickly populated countries like Japan and Italy and aggressive powers like Germany would leave no stone unturned in their attempts to infiltrate it with their agents, in order to establish their organizations and assert their influence .... These agents bred purges ....

`A large number of spies, saboteurs, and fifth-columnists were exiled or shot during the purge; but many more innocent men and women were made to suffer.'


Ibid. , pp. 188--189.

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995