"Our experience has shown that the muzhik Marei (unless he became an apparatchik) readily understands the intellectual who has been exiled to his village. I have had occasion to drink tea or share a bottle of vodka with him while we talked in whispers for fear of being overheard by informers. I also got on well enough with the ordinary working women whose husbands had been sent away along the same road as M. They are now lying together in the same burial pit with identical tags on their legs. Nobody shied away from me because I was Jewish. Anti-Semitism is propagated from above and brews in the caldron known as the apparat. Between these ordinary people and myself there was not the slightest misunderstanding or breach. If there ever had been anything to separate us, we were now joined together by a common fate and mortal terror of the authorities: all the oprichniks, apparatchiks, bosses, informers, toadies, and various other kinds of hangers-on."
Hope Abandoned, Nadezhda Mandelstam