RUSSIA: Whodunit, Party Style

Among the few people close enough to the late Dictator Stalin to address him by his nickname "Koba" was a fellow Georgian, Sergo Ordzhonikidze (rhymes roughly with poor-Johnny-kids-me), an oldtime Bolshevik who had risen to be top commissar of heavy industry. One day in 1936, during what Russians now call the Ezhovshchina (the purge which carried off some 7,000,000 Russians to Siberian prison camps and mass graves), Ordzhonikidze learned that his precious engineers were being arrested. Victor (1 Chose Freedom) Kravchenko, a minor executive of the Commissariat, later told of Ordzhoni-kidze's...

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