In The Gulag

I seldom have a story about real forced feminization so I'll pass this along basically as told to me by an old man from Russian who was a friend of mine. He lived on a boat near mine in our marina many years ago. This is not a topic that would not come up in normal conversation and it is a tale that was only recounted to me after I carelessly left my computer on causing a stir.

Dmitry and I had become good friends while I was living on my boat and building a house in town. We would often cook dinner for each other and had breakfast together. Whenever I'd made a run to the store, I'd ask if he needed anything and vice versa, so when he showed up at my boat on a Saturday afternoon and let himself in, it wasn't an unusual event. He knocked on the side of the boat first to let me know he was there, opened the door and entered. I welcomed him and offered him some ice tea or a beer and he choose the beer. I don't like beer but I always keep some on hand for guests if they are not too selective about a brand preference. Anyhow, I went below into the galley to get a cold beer and a soft drink out of the refrigerator and when I got back up through the companionway into the saloon there was a strange look on his face. As I handed him the beer he had an expression that was a combination of puzzlement and revulsion. "What is this?" he said pointing to my monitor. "Is this what you like? Boys dressed like servant girls? That's an evil disgusting perversion!"

I had been online earlier and gotten distracted, so I had moved away from my computer, started doing something else and forgot about it. After a few minutes the screen went black, but the connection to the website was still active. I had forgotten all about it, but Dmitry anticipating arrival of his beer and needing a spot to set it down had moved my mouse clearing a space on my computer desk and the screen came back on. I no doubt blushed, remembering the screen I had been on. It was a picture of some sissy maids and an accompanying story. I could see he was visibly shaken by the picture and by his discovery of his friend's interest in the subject.

Then in what I considered a reaction totally out of proportion to the situation, the man suddenly sat down and broke down in tears with his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands. "I grieve for the loss of our friendship as you are my best friend in the world and a kind person but your sin is too grave to be forgiven" he said in his strong Russian accent.

Totally blindsided by his reaction, I said "What sin are you talking about? I just think the outfits are cute and dressing up in such an outfit and looking like that has always been a fantasy of mine, but I'm too fat and ugly to ever really look like that so I live vicariously. How would a simple fantasy rise to the level of evil? I'm sorry you found out my secret, but I'm still the same person I was ten minutes ago and I'm still your friend. You are greatly over reacting."

He looked up and his facial expression had changed from revulsion to surprise. "Do you mean to say that you want to be one of those serving the food? In a dress? You want to be the slave and not the enslaver? I was wrong about you. You are not evil. You are a fool!" I couldn't believe his reaction to a simple benign picture. I don't have a lot of real friends so I won't write off a friendship readily. Besides that, Dmitry had even fewer friends than I and the loss of our friendship would have been very hard on him. I must admit, that was the first time someone had ever called me a fool and really meant it. He didn't mean it as an insult, but as an accurate observation. In that context, it's much worse!

If friendships are based on mutual respect and hopefully even admiration, then one would not be friends with a fool assuming one does not respect fools. So, if our friendship was going to survive this incident, his new opinion of me would have to be dispelled. "Why are you acting this way Dmitry? You are normally very reserved and cerebral. I think your reaction to the sissy maid picture is way out of line for such a trivial matter."

"Trivial matter? Oh sure the girls and boys you see on your computer are pretty in their little feminine outfits, but their lives are not trivial to them. You would not call it trivial matter if you were forced to be one of those - what did you call it? Sissy maids? And, it wouldn't be trivial if you had to work twelve hours a day seven days a week at your master's beck and call. It wouldn't be trivial if you knew your mistress was going to beat you with a fireplace poker and you could do nothing but cry out in pain and despair begging her to stop.

That's such a pretty term that you use. You Americans dump sugar on everything. You like everything too sweet. Your bread is too sweet and your tea is too sweet. Even your chocolate candy is too sweet and your term for this picture is much too sweet. What I saw on that screen is very ugly and has an ugly name - slavery."

"Holly shit Dmitry, you are completely off base. You are reading something into this that isn't there. This is an innocent game. You don't know what you're talking about." In a flash, his face filled with anger and as suddenly as it appeared, it was gone replaced with an expression of adjunct pity for his friend whom he suddenly realized, truly was a fool. Dmitry, still with tears in his eyes, said, "Oh yes I do! When I saw the picture of that boy in a dress holding a tray serving his master, I saw a slave. I saw myself as a twelve year old orphan and believe me, it was no game for me. It was life or death! I was what you just called a "sissy maid" for five years and my master and mistress did with me as they pleased. They could have killed me with impunity as I know they had killed others. I would have been buried in a field or thrown into a mass grave or hung on a lamp post to rot and nobody would have cared.

Oh, you don't understand. You must think I am horrible to come onto your boat and accuse you of atrocities based on just one picture that we obviously interpret differently. You Americans have no idea how blessed you are. I have never told the story to anyone. I've never told it out of shame, but so you don't think I have gone mad, I will explain for you my reaction to that picture. I have one condition, however. You mustn't reveal what I tell you to anyone while I'm alive because I am still deeply humiliated by what was done to me. First, you need to understand that my country was nothing like you have experienced. Imagine a place where the educated and cultured people and all of the dregs of society suddenly switched places and the government, courts and police departments were suddenly turned over to opportunists, sociopaths and sadists dragged out of a nihilist political faction, prisons and even mental hospitals. All guns are turned over to them and they are given complete control.

An illiterate imbecile who in the past could never contribute to society in a meaningful way is suddenly put in a position of responsibility because he killed many people during the civil war. He killed mostly innocent people, because he was a psychopath who enjoyed killing, but all who could protest their innocence were dead so he was a hero of the people.

He is then rewarded with a position and can pass judgment on a concert pianists who, going to work on a bus one day, carelessly folded his newspaper in such a way that the fold passed over the dear leader's face – a counterrevolutionary act, making him an enemy of the people.

The illiterate asked him how much money he makes banging on a piano. "Why are you rewarded so richly for making nothing but noise?" he asked. Having denigrated all the years of practice and effort that went into developing the man's natural talent, it's payback time. It's time to punish all those who contributed to society in ways that illiterate and lazy people like him never could, and were thus rewarded in ways that they never were. It's time to pay for the injustice their greater talent and greater effort and greater rewards had inflicted on people like him through most of his life. Decades of resentment and envy bubbled up, and pay they did!

To the gulag! A fiver for you. And off he goes north of the Arctic Circle to mine copper or to cut down virgin timber with all the other Zeks. There he will be slowly starved, frozen and worked to death and learn the ways of life and death in the camp system of our great worker's paradise. If he survived his term he might be released, but he didn't survive. He was my father.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is an old adage. In 1917 the Tsar's prisons were emptied. The crimes committed by the occupants of those cells were crimes against the Tsar's laws, not our laws. They were crimes against private property or individuals. But, in our brave new world, private property should not exist so their crimes were forgiven. Rapists and murderers only violated individual rights, not the new more enlightened collective rights, so many of them were also freed. The rights of the collective were all that really mattered and with group rights came group punishment", Dimity said with his voice dripping of sarcasm. "Any crime against state property netted 10 years but a crime against individual property netted only 1 year. Thrives are not stupid. They saw the handwriting on the wall and police didn't investigate most private property crimes so the crime stats would stay low.

And all those Tsarist prison cells were emptied just in time, because that space was needed for more dangerous criminals; priests and nuns, intellectuals, artists and former Tsarist officials or officers. All those were class enemies of the people as were their children forever bared from advancement in our new Utopia. Meanwhile, the skills and attitudes of the former inhabitances of the Tsar's prisons could be put to good use by the Cheka."

"Cheka? What's that?" I asked him.

"Chekists were the Bolshevik secret police, the VChK that later became the NKVD. The translation of their name was the "Central Punitive Department" and the mere mention of them struck terror into the hearts of all. An army general with his red shoulder boards would yield to an MKVD lieutenant with his blue shoulder boards because he could ruin anyone. They became the nation's elites and positions were passed down from father to son. They protected all in their brotherhood and everyone pandered to them. It was such pandering that lead to my enslavement.

Former convicts, men who always rejected private property and were unrestrained by antiquated concepts like traditional ethics were natural allies of our new philosophy and they found a natural home in that organization working their way up the ladder. They had no compunction against intimidating the weak or hanging or shooting the occasional Kulak."

"OK, what's a Kulak?" I said.

"Jesus Christ, you don't know shit. Haven't you ever read a history book?"

"Yes, but why should I study Russian history. It's nothing to me." I sheepishly replied. "Because those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it, and you are better off learning from our mistakes so you don't make the same mistakes. If everyone in America is as ignorant as you this whole country is doomed." he replied.

He then continued, "When the Tsar freed the serfs in 1861, a system of tenant farming sprang up with land owners collecting rent. Peasants farmed the same lands they had always farmed. Some of them worked hard and saved money their entire lives so during land reforms before World War One they were able to buy their land, setting up privately owned farms that were large enough to have cattle and horses and even hired hands. Those prosperous farmers were called Kulaks.

Anyhow the Kulaks were "class enemies" because they didn't want to donate the land they had worked so hard to buy and donate their knowledge to the new collective farms the state was creating. They had to be dealt with, so in the early 30's they were arrested, exiled, and we even killed three million of them. Their wives and children were then sent to the camps as free labor. But having killed all the best farmers, suddenly the country had no food. Who could have foreseen such an outcome? But, Joe Stalin – you have heard of him, haven't you?"

"Yes, I've heard of Stalin." I replied sarcastically.

Dmitry continued, "He would say; "Never let a crisis go to waste", so if people have to starve he would choose which people it would be. You didn't want to be on this guy's bad side! He intentionally starved six to twelve million Ukrainians to death in the Holodomor genocide which newspapers in the west covered up because they didn't want to be on his bad side."

"But weren't they Soviet citizens too? Or, at least regarded as human beings" I asked.

"Oh no they were not!" Dmitry said mockingly, obviously no longer believing a word of what he, in his youth once took as gospel truth. "We were told they were pariahs and vermin. You didn't dare preach that golden rule stuff or you too are an enemy of the people too. The Orthodox Russian Church offered their golden rule and "thou shall not steal" nonsense so off to the Gulag with them. First, the Tsarists were vermin so we killed them and then their children. Then the White Russians were vermin. Then the Kulaks, the Orthodox, the Jews and the Ukrainian peasants were all enemies of the people. But then one day, Uncle Joe played a trick on all his friends. He suddenly called them enemies of the people and the NKVD sent them off to the gulag too. Oh, I love irony!" he said looking up with a satisfied grin.

He continued, "If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then by extension the friend of my enemy is also my enemy. After my father was arrested for folding his newspaper wrong, my mother was arrested because she, his wife, must have been an enemy of the people too. So I never saw her again. I became a six year old orphan put in a state orphanage.

Please don't take people's innocence too seriously. At this point most people in the gulag were innocent but we had become addicted to free labor for public works and some dangerous state enterprises. The state bureau of labor would simply tell the NKVD how many people they needed to make up for deaths and expired prison terms and that many arrests would be made. Forget your American notions. If you accept the more widely held view that people exist to serve the state, then if you are needed in the gulag and the state put you in the gulag, your presence was serving the revolution so there was no injustice for the true believer - only for others. And those others were enemies of the people so they belonged in the gulag anyhow. Perfection!

So now we have gotten to my part of this grand drama. How does an orphan boy become what you call a sissy maid? Remember, even pilfering a single spool of thread from a state factory would net you 10 years hard labor in the camps but crime against individuals was not so important, so street crime was rampant. There was, however, a unique way to protect one from this rampant crime and enjoy all the benefits of prohibited private property ownership that was available only to the elites. It was as you Americans would say – "a loophole"

"State property personally assigned to a VIP" could be treated like private property but was protected as state property so thieves avoided such high risk targets like dachas. That loophole combined with the desire to pander to almost anyone in the NKVD brings us to my story.

Millions of Russian children were orphaned by the civil war that followed the revolution, the famines that followed the extermination of the kulaks and by deaths of parents in the gulags. They infested the streets and stole everything they could. And yes, real thieves were sent to the camps, but they prospered there. They would fall in with other thieves and terrorize the 58's. Or they would become stoolpigeons for their jailers.

The People's Commissariat of Justice established Article 12 so juveniles could be sentenced for theft assault and other crimes. They could also be sentenced under Article 58 as political prisoners. Because of my parents, I would have a potential Article 58 hanging over my head in Russia for the rest of my life. In 1935 they lowered the age to be sentenced as an adult including death sentences to the age of twelve. So by age 12, I was effectively an adult.

The Headmaster of our orphanage noticed me when I was about nine years old and began grooming me for what he called a "special position". I was small and had a feminine face which led to me being bullied by the other boys. Suddenly, I had a protector, and the bullies left me alone. Just as suddenly, I stopped getting haircuts, which was unusual, because our hair was kept very short for hygiene purposes, but I was told no haircut for me.

I was moved out of the barracks when I was ten and given a small room, actually a closet, in a teacher's apartment where ostensibly, I was being tutored in my academic subjects but she was actually training me in housekeeping skills. She wanted me to take care of the clothes that I wore to class so she insisted that I wear some of her old clothing while I was cleaning house. She was friends with the headmaster's wife whose large house was next door and she volunteered me to help clean that house too. In appreciation for my service the headmaster's wife would give me gifts, but they were always girl's clothing. I was told it would be rude not to wear them, so there I was with long hair in a pretty little maid outfit complete with girls' underwear and shoes.

You must realize that we had nothing! We got used underwear and used shoes and we were lucky to get them. The entire world had an economic depression and after years of civil war and strife it hit us worst of all. The new clothes she gave me as gifts were pretty and soft and nobody else would see me in them anyhow. So whether it was for a boy or a girl, something is always better than nothing and I loved them. I was happy for the only time in my life!

I had never been cared for since mom and because of this special care my academic achievement was better than ever. I didn't care that I looked like a girl in school and that they started calling me Nadia. The headmaster obviously had bullies who did his bidding so lesser bullies were too afraid to bother me. That was the way everything in our society worked. All things came down to bruit force. And when it came to that, the NKVD was most brutal of all.

On my twelfth birthday we had cake. I was given gifts of new high heel shoes, and new clothing, including a new maid's uniform. I was given a small suitcase to keep them in and everyone cried as they bid me farewell. They genuinely liked me and vice versa. Then I was delivered to a work camp convoy commander with a note that I was to be delivered to a particular NKVD labor camp commander and to be kept away from the Zeks and protected on the trip. He called me Nadia, thought I was a girl and he delivered me exactly as instructed.

I was sent as a gift to curry favor with this camp commander, so the school could have needed resources. Who knows how many "gifts" were sent out to powerful men with certain proclivities, but that's how the system worked. Everybody was a thief and an NKVD labor camp commander was a god! He could do as he pleased in his little fiefdom and was seemingly unaccountable to anyone. If the camp produced lumber or furniture he could divert some to the headmaster's school. If it instead produced bricks, the headmaster could trade diverted bricks for food rations diverted from the Zeks at another camp.

The camp commander lived in a beautiful well appointed house that would not have been out of place in any affluent suburb in the western world. It was "state property assigned for personal use of a VIP" and he was the VIP. I too was "state property assigned for personal use". He had siphoned off enough resources to build it while Zeks in his camp were living in tents and dugouts with mud floors. He and his wife had several inmate servants including a gardener a cook and a handyman but I was the only servant who lived in the house.

My innocent life ended soon after arrival when Master bent me over a table, pulled my dress up and my underpants down and tried to have his way with me. I screamed and resisted and he stopped. Placing one hand around my throat he slid me off the table slamming me against the wall and holding me against that wall he lifted me completely off the floor by my neck explaining the reality of my situation. He didn't care if he broke my neck or not and it was swollen and sore long afterwards.

I never resisted again and he would put lard on himself so I always knew what was about to happen and I always did exactly as I was told. I wonder if being bent over that table was the "special position" the headmaster was talking about. At least I was wearing clean clothes, living in a warm clean house and had food to eat. A few hundred yards away people dressed in rags were in work brigades starving and freezing to death in sub zero temperatures. At one point one eighth of our population was in the gulags and untold tens of millions died in the gulags.

Mistress looked like an old cow and smelled like one too. She was always mean to me. She was very jealous and after he would hurt me, she would find me crying or hiding, sometimes with blood pouring down my legs, and she would blame me for what had happened. She would call me a whore, a bitch and a temptress. Then she would beat me with her fireplace poker. I was covered from neck to toe with burses and always sore. She never hit me on the head or neck. I think she had killed a previous maid and wanted to avoid any complications a repeat of that would have created.

One time we were having an honored guest. This was rare because nobody ever wanted to go to one of these camps if he could help it because they were shitholes, had no accommodations and smelled of death. I don't remember who it was but it was an NKVD general and his aid. Everything had to be perfect and I was responsible for the table service. I knew I would be beaten if I screwed up and I had to be very careful not to get a ladder in mistress's stockings.

Women's silk or rayon stockings were a luxury only for the rich. Mistress wore them on occasion, but this was the only time ever I wore rayon stockings attached to my girdle. It was to cover all the bruises on my legs from being beaten. Mistress was too embarrassed for the general to see what she had done to me so she loaned me a pair of black stockings with the admonition that I had better not ruin them. They felt so nice, but it was the only time I ever wore them.

Master told me that I was to give the guests "anything they wanted" and I knew exactly what that meant. Thankfully neither the general nor his aid were interested in boys and after they figured out that I was a boy, the general asked me why I was in this job, and I told him "I don't know comrade. You would have to ask my master".

When he diplomatically asked me if my master "used you like a girl" I played innocent and said what a fine comrade my master was. Knowing that my master was fucking his boy servant would be an important piece of information that could be used as leverage against him so it was my job to protect my boss even if he was a boorish corrupt adulterous lying stealing child molesting cold blooded murdering shitfaced pig. So, I lied. I lied, just like everyone else in the whole country did everywhere, every day, to everyone – most of all to themselves.

I then lied even more, telling him how well I was treated but how hard I had to work to earn my daily ration. That part was true because I worked like a dog and never had a day off in five years. Two years to the day after I lied to that general, I'd be in a different uniform in Stalingrad with short hair and a rifle defending the country that had been so kind to me and my family.

That evening the honored guest asked my master why he had a boy as his maid and he said his wife, my mistress, had picked me out to save me because she felt sorry for such a puny boy who would never survive the rigors of life in the labor camp. If they had cared to check, they would have found that I was never a convict. I had never been accused or convicted of anything. But they didn't care. They knew he was fucking me. If I had told the truth, the general probably would have told my master, and I would have ended up dead in a mass grave with a bunch of dead Zeks – a lose end to be tied up.

"But why save this one waif when there are so many others?" the general asked my master.

"A random act of kindness!" was my master's reply, and they all laughed at the absurdity of such a lie."

The End
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