The state is picking its enemies

Enough to scare the bejeezus out of anyone in Russia:

A mother of seven has been accused of treason for calling the Ukrainian embassy about Russian troop movements…

The woman — who faces between 12 and 20 years in prison — is being held at the high-security Lefortovo jail in Moscow…

Davydova’s husband told AFP that his wife… phoned the Ukrainian embassy last April and apparently told them the local military base in Vyazma was empty, suggesting soldiers there had been deployed across the border.

When reports of the arrest first appeared online, some appeared reluctant to believe such a case was even possible in modern Russia.

“There is no war but there are spies,” one woman… wrote on Facebook.

Immediately, Solzhenitsyn’s novel In the First Circle came to mind: a phone call to a foreign embassy is at the center of its plot. Wikipedia has it right, I believe:

Innokentii Volodin, a diplomat, makes a telephone call [to a US embassy] he feels obliged by conscience to make, even though he knows he could be arrested. His call was taped and the NKVD seek to identify who made the call.

The sharashka prisoners, or zeks, work on technical projects to assist state security agencies… [S]ome are also conscious of the overwhelming moral dilemma of working to aid a system that is the cause of so much suffering…

One of the imprisoned researchers, working on the voice identification problem, manages to narrow the list of possible candidates:

…to Volodin and one other suspect, both of whom are arrested.

By the end of the book, several zeks, including Gleb Nerzhin, the autobiographical hero, choose to stop cooperating, even though their choice means being sent to much deadlier camps.

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