Crime 23/12/19 “Broken”: what happened to the most warlike caste of the Gulag

the laws of the thieves ‘ brotherhood was not formed overnight, and long before the Gulag, they originated spontaneously. “Thieves move” dictated the criminals unwritten rules: no family, did not cooperate with the government, not work, not have luxuries, not to own private property, and all their belongings back-breaking labor of thieves to send to the common Fund.

the Harbinger of a future split of the established criminal community came in 1940, when the GULAG river flowed thieves from the Baltic States, Belarus, Western Ukraine and Bessarabia. “Polish thieves” (as they are called seasoned convicts) did not accept the standards of conduct traditional camp dorms. Many of them refused to perform the thieves ‘ code out of ignorance, others deliberately. Anyway, the conflict between the old and alien thieves began in earnest.

After the war, the situation in the camp world strained to the limit. The fact that in 1942-1943 special government decree on the front was sent over 157 thousand prisoners until the end of the war this number was brought almost to a million. Those lucky enough to survive, after the Victory returned to camp, however, the thieves family “veterans” was not accepted.

For thieves, they were “spun” by those who have transgressed the immutable law and went on to collaborate with the regime. Moreover, the “military” she was ready to create its own rules, regardless of the traditional thieves concepts. As wrote Varlam Shalamov in “Bitch wars”, they wanted to “legitimize a new symbolic reality. To include symbols of war and front in the thesaurus of the criminal world as a permitted and maybe even encouraged, the prestigious”.

In 1947 came the “bitch war”. Thieves cut “bitches”, “bitches” kill the thieves. The war had involved and other groupings formed on the basis of semlacof assets, ethnicity, front of the brotherhood. How many died as a result of a large-scale massacre – unknown, probably tens of thousands.

a Significant part of the “veterans” do not identify themselves neither black suit thieves, nor the red suit “spun”. Among them were many influential criminals, who counted on the acceptance of their special status. But the excuses that go to the front they forced the government, did not pass. If the thief didn’t want to fight, he ran. And there were many such cases.

a New caste of the prisoners immediately got a lot of nicknames: “the white bears”, “broken”, “alone on the ice”, and “Chelyuskin”, but the most persistent was “belted with a crowbar”. The most typical image of this caste – man-flint-willed and strong, indomitable, ready to go to confrontation with the thieves community, and with the government.

the New rules, “broken” had nothing to do with the same laws, moreover, the community structure is much more complicated. “Veterans” have organized an extensive clandestine network on the area and will have established contacts with the officials; they have also developed a set of measures to counter the camp administration.

the Last war, hardened front, always worked well and smoothly, no familiarity – only rigid subordination as in the army. Their unwritten rules – the uncompromising determination, bribery. To drop the attitude strictly business: how much you need to achieve the goal, so much will be spent. No collective decisions – all subject to the leader.

in Spite of major front school, “belted with a crowbar” was doomed in the war against the “legalists”. First, they were smaller. Of course, they tried to recruit into its ranks the newly arrived prisoners, but also part of the “Polish thieves” to build them was no one. “Belted”, feel marginalized in the area was often wet snow. However, they waited for either death in the taiga, or return to the camp intolerable conditions of existence.

secondly, on the side of “lawyers” was the camp administration. Traditional thieves system, as a form of self-organization of camp life, was beneficial and convenient to the authorities, so the prisoners tried to separate the zones, according to the suit. On the stage, usually concealed their affiliation to a particular caste, however, directly in front of the camp, there was division.

according to eyewitnesses, some “spun” and “belted” never reached the barracks. They were killed, sometimes in front of the guard. Very soon, with the tacit consent of the guards most of the “military” interrupted, the others gradually moved into the category of “spun”.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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