The Night Thread of Viktor Suvorov

Viktor Suvorov was the pseudonym of former GRU Captain Vladimir Rezun who defected to the UK in 1978. Having served 15 years in Soviet military and intelligence he had a wide variety of knowledge about Soviet Army and culture. Most famous for his Icebreaker Theory, a historical notion rejected by most historians that Stalin was actually planning a secret attack against Germany after the invasion of Poland and this was why he didn’t have sufficient defenses against the German invasion that scuttled his plans. His arguments are somewhat fanciful and unverifiable, a common situation among Soviet defectors, but he published many books about the Soviet military and special forces. This type of lurid “Behind the Iron Curtain” stuff was popular with the Western public despite this. Main points included the inherent aggression in the USSR despite a fatal weakness in their army for long term ground combat. I found his book “Inside the Soviet Army” at a used bookstore as a kid and loved it. I’d like to quote a passage about the induction process for draftees. In between these passages is a lengthy section about how to avoid military service, such as smashing your trigger finger or having someone insert a piece of aluminum foil in your back that will look like a spot of TB on an X-ray.

on the night of 28 May he drank himself into complete insensibility. Parents
realise that unless they hand over their drunken son to the assembly point by midday
he will be punished under military law.
A convoy takes the crowd of drunk and half-drunk youths to the station, where they
are put on a train and taken to their place of duty.

A column of new recruits is not a sight for anyone with weak nerves. Traditionally,
anyone joining the army dresses in such rags that you wonder where on earth he
found them. For recruits know that any more or less useable article–socks which are
not in tatters, for instance–will immediately be seized from them by the soldiers
escorting the column. So they dress in the sort of rags which should be thrown on a
bonfire–a mechanic’s boiler suit, solid with grease, a painter’s working clothes daubed
with paint of all colours, even a sewage-collector’s overalls. Many of them will have
black eyes, acquired in farewell fights with their local enemies. All are unshaven,
uncombed, shaggy, dirty–and drunk, into the bargain