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“There will be some innocent victims in this fight against Fascist agents. We are launching a major attack on the Enemy; let there be no resentment if we bump someone with an elbow. Better that ten innocent people should suffer than one spy get away. When you chop wood, chips fly.” — Nikolai Yezhov
Today is the 127th anniversary of the birth of Nikolai Yezhov. He was, for a time, the head of the NKVD (predecessor of the KGB and whatever the secret police in Russia is called this week) and Stalin’s right-hand man, the go-to guy for getting rid of political enemies. Until one day he wasn’t, and instead, he was just another chip of wood.
The left eats its own. Always. We see it today with the old constituencies being tossed aside for the new on the left. They call it progress. The old Progressives are no longer progressive enough. We progress to the next group, more progressive. We progress to the next leader, who can’t be associated with the last set of failures or murders. Yesterday’s working men and women are tossed aside for tomorrow’s gender-studies professors and activists. It’s not enough to be gay or bi, one now has to be trans. They churn and burn.
Nikolai Yezhov saw it coming. He spent the last few weeks before his arrest in an alcoholic haze. He knew the signs that Stalin was getting rid of him next. He was blamed for the Great Purge, and for allowing “massive, unfounded arrests of completely innocent persons.” Yeah, that’s why he was there. Beria followed him, and did the same thing, as had Yezhov’s predecessors, whom he had interrogated and denounced. The cycle continues on.Published in