TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION
02/04/2015 at 13:05
Moscow Bound is the first in a trilogy which shows the extent to which our leaders (our Puppet Meisters) will go to protect their malevolent, and sometimes criminal, activities.
The prologue opens with a scene of disconcerting, if not frightening, fiction. The story, however, is based on fact.
Many of the characters in the novel are composites of people I have met. They had to be, primarily because their real life activities were so interesting and introduced me to a world of which I was wholly ignorant until I began working as a commercial lawyer in USSR/Russia. I have been reading Russian literature and about Russian culture all my life, but nothing in my studies prepared me for the realities I faced on the streets of Moscow. To date, it has been the most fascinating period of my life.
In my novel, good guy General Pravda of military intelligence is summoned to his superior’s office, where he’s ordered to deliver up a “special patient” that he has removed from the secret city of Arzamas for medical reasons. The office is in a former Soviet Ministry building off Staropanksy Street, behind the Supreme Court, a few minutes’ walk from the Kremlin. My description of the room is summarised as follows: a 22-seater redwood table in the middle, ten chairs either side, a large map of the world on one wall; two of the other walls clad with brown wood panelling and the fourth wall comprising a line of windows with their blinds permanently closed and a threadbare green carpet resembling a relic from the days of Catherine the Great.
This was based on a real room I visited in the last years of the USSR in 1987/9, also located off Staropansky Street. It was occupied by a Soviet Ministry bureaucrat who’d accepted that the days of communism were over; hence it was not too difficult for me to gain access, with the right connections and sufficient dollars in my pocket – no “aspiring entrepreneur” could be bribed with roubles at that time.
The main difference between the two rooms, however, was that in the real room there were 15 antiquated red telephones (one for each Soviet republic) on a desk at the far end of the table. The bureaucrat told me they were used during Stalin’s 1930 show trials, when the concept of “telephone law” was implemented. This was the system by which the rule of law was ignored and high-ranking Kremlin members would call judges during trials to instruct them on what verdict and sentence to pronounce.
In the most important cases, Stalin would personally call the court and order the death penalty for some hapless wretch. Soviet apologists deny this ever happened, but there is plenty of authoritative literature that establishes the contrary. I had read about telephone law in my early Soviet studies, but that didn’t stop me from freezing when I saw these 15 instruments, innocuously arranged on the table – waiting to convey their messages of death.
The SilverWood Selection Box may be obtained free of charge from http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk/product/9781781323885/silverwood-selection-box
I invite you also to visit the blog sites of the other contributing authors, as follows:
Alison Morton www.alison-morton.com
Anna Belfrage https://annabelfrage.wordpress.com
Harvey Black http://harveyblackauthor.org/
Edward Hancox www.icelanddefrosted.com
Lucienne Boyce http://francesca-scriblerus.blogspot.co.uk/
Michael Brown www.poetbrownie.com
Helen Hollick www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com