In the early thirties, the villages had undergone, at first voluntary, and then forced collectivization. Ivan’s grandfather on his father’s side had a large farm, a house, and various agricultural tools. He was among the first able to predict that there would be a bad ending to this. So, he gave all nine cattle to his children, the equipment he voluntarily surrendered to the kolkhoz, and the house he donated to the village school. Together with Ivan’s grandmother, they took a small corner room in the building of the new school. When the dispossession and repression started, my grandfather had nothing for a few years, but was able to survive. Others, who still had assets, had them taken away from them, and were either sent to work in camps or shot. Only those who could adapt quickly to the new government and voluntarily gave up their property were able to survive. As Ivan recalled about their village, the number of men repressed and shot before the war was approximately equal to that of the deceased and missing victims during the conflict. A truck came to the village. It was stuffed with “enemies of the people.” The people were taken to the firing squad, or sent to work in the camps. Nobody ever found out what happened to them. For some reason, the repression was particularly severe in this area. Perhaps this was because they lived in flood meadows and were able to keep a lot of cattle, or because the area was populated by old believers, who were hard-working people and did not support the Communists.
Makarov, Ivan. Born Under a Lucky Star: A Red Army Soldier's Recollections of the Eastern Front of World War II (p. 258). Anastasia Walker. Kindle Edition.