Published: 1938, in Paris, under the title Au Pays du Grand Mensonge.
Source: The New International, Vol. X No. 4, April 1944, pp. 118–121.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
[Continued from last issue]
But let us return to our subject.
The two other categories of condemned to whom the title of “politicals” is denied are that of the “religious” and that of the national oppositions. The “religious” include priests, active members of religious communities, votaries of all kinds. There were a good hundred thousand of them during the Five-Year Plan, perhaps even several hundred thousand, for they were often deported on pretexts other than religion.
It must not be forgotten that there are three organized social forces in Russia today: (1) the communist bureaucracy, which has the state, the military apparatus and the so-called workers’ organizations at its disposal; (2) the “ITR” or “engineering and technical workers,” in other words, the autonomous corporative sections which take in the non-party intellectuals; (3) the church and the sects. As for the workers and peasants, they have no free and independent organization of their own. Once this is said, the importance of the church in the social struggle will be easily understood. I have already mentioned above the efforts that Stalin exerts to assure himself of the secret collaboration of the Orthodox Church.  The “engineers,” when they were still anticipating the fall of the Stalinist regime, did likewise. One of the heads of the Orthodox Church, who belonged to the new generation, had served in the ranks of the Red Army in 1919 and had just missed, by his own admission, joining the Communist Party, told me in exile that one of the intimates of Professor Kondriatev had tried to approach him in order to feel out the ecclesiastical terrain. “He failed, because we have no intention whatsoever of putting the church at the service of any possible restoration of the bourgeoisie.”
The same cleric narrated an interesting episode of the struggle that the church had to undergo in Moscow. During the Five-Year Plan, the church, in order to answer the suddenly augmented persecutions, mobilized all the faithful for prayers that lasted whole days and brought together an impressive mass of believers. The authorities understood the meaning of this peaceful manifestation and held back from the persecutions. Immediately, the church called off the mass services to return to the regular, less ostentatious, services.
The Five-Year Plan was a national catastrophe for a certain number of the retarded peoples of the USSR: for the Bashkirs, the Kirghis, etc., and brought to the brink of the abyss the peasant peoples: the Ukrainians, the White Russians, the Azerbaidjan Turks. The most celebrated of the protests against this catastrophe was the suicide of the head of the Ukrainian communists, Skrypnik, an Old Bolshevik and founder of the Comintern. But there were also collective protests. Whole groups of democrats, socialists and communists belonging to these nationalities dared question openly the official policy of the Ail-Russian party. All these groups were crushed and deported, certain of their members were shot. The condemned demanded that they be accorded the treatment of political prisoners, but the GPU refused and would not yield even to hunger strikes, which sometimes ended with fatal results.
The avowed counter-revolutionists and the monarchists-few in number, by the way – did not of course enjoy the privileges of political prisoners. Those among them who had shown any activity were shot without mercy, their “sympathizers” were condemned on all sorts of pretexts. From 1928 to 1934, at least a million persons were sent to concentration camps or into exile, accused of speculation, of illicit trade, etc. They were above all handicraftsmen, small traders – the whole petty bourgeoisie, in a word. But there were among them also workers, peasants, employees, especially employees of the cooperatives and of the state commercial enterprises.
In the Verkhne-Uralsk prison, we tried on various occasions to calculate the number of people turned over to the despotism of the GPU. Our estimates were very approximative. At the end of 1934, a recently-arrived Trotskyist told us that, according to an important official of the GPU, sentenced for a mistake in the conduct of his office, the number of arrests, the statistics of the GPU showed, reached the figure of 37,000,000 for the period of the last five years. Even admitting that a good part of those detained had been arrested several times in succession, the figure appeared to us to be incredibly exaggerated. Our own estimates varied from five to fifteen millions. I must add that when I was set free and found myself exiled in Siberia, I was able to observe the exactitude of many of the affirmations that had seemed exaggerated and fantastic to me in prison. It was thus that I was able to verify the exactitude of what was said about the horrors of the famine of 1932, including the cases of cannibalism. After what I was able to see in Siberia, I consider the figure of five million condemned to be much too small; the figure of ten million comes closer to the reality.
Westerners [of Europe], accustomed to relatively small territories, to dense populations and stable economic structures, will find it hard to believe that such a human mass can be deported so rapidly. The vast spaces of Russia do not appear to be explanation enough. It is by observing with your own eyes the tumultuous ocean of Russia in the time of the Five-Year Plan that you begin to conceive that these forced migrations are possible, that they are even in harmony with the events. The gigantic accomplishments of the Five-Year Plan were the work of slave labor. The situation of the theoretically free workers was no different essentially from that of workers who were not free. What was different was the degree of enslavement.
Millions of exiles worked all over the country, but above all in the remote regions of the North, which were colonized for the first time, crushed by the harshest privations, which they would never have accepted freely. Not only were they exploited, but they were exploited in the most total fashion, without regard for the “human capital” they represented. From 1929 to 1934, the average lifespan of most of the exiles in the extreme North did not exceed one or two years. But if the exiles died, what they built remained standing.
Imagine a territory 10,000 kilometers [approximately 6,213 miles] long by 500 to 2,000 kilometers wide, from Solovki and the Baltic Canal to the White Sea up to the coast of the Pacific Ocean and down to Kamchatka and Vladivostok. This territory, as well as all of Central Asia, is sown at every crossroads with concentration camps and “labor colonies” (that is what the camps assigned to specific labors are called), as well as with compulsory exile centers. Out of every two or three persons you cross in the street in Siberia, meet in an office, in the factory, at the “Sovkhoz,” there is one exile.
The colonization of the North is certainly a work of world importance, but its methods recall the colonizations of old, in America and elsewhere; it is mainly the work of slave laborers. The lumber industry of North Russia and Siberia employs slave labor, the gold mines employ it in large part. The same with the coal mines of Kuznetsk and Karagand. The copper industry of Balmash, the electrical plants of Central Asia, are the work of prisoners in the “labor colonies.” Even in the Ukraine, the agricultural tractor plant was built in part by slave labor. In the heart of European Russia, the digging of the Moscow-Volga Canal is done with the aid of slaves. As for the enormous military and economic development of the Far East, with its railroads, its automobile highways, its line of fortification all along the Manchurian frontier, that is the work of an immense, constantly renewed, army of condemned men. I think it is not exaggerated to claim that a third of the working class in Russia is composed of slaves. This subjugated labor, barely paid, makes it easier to keep the wages of the theoretically free workers at a very low rate.
That is the real foundation of the economic victories of the Soviets, that is the secret of the “miracle” of the technical revolution effected by the first Five-Year Plan. The working class of Europe and America has the duty of obtaining the emancipation of these millions of workers and enslaved in the USSR ...
The decisive date in the history of political repression in the USSR, as I have already said, is the establishment of the NEP in 1921. Beginning with this date, no opposition was any longer tolerated out of principle and the treatment of prisoners went from bad to worse. Previously, the intensity of the repression varied constantly and the existence of certain parties was tolerated. The socialists and the anarchists participated in the Congresses of the Soviets and succeeded in publishing certain of their books and their periodicals. The dates when this tolerance toward the socialists and the anarchists was most marked are very interesting to recall: November 1918, when the revolution in Germany seemed to open the perspective of a European revolution in a short time; October 1919, when General Denikin camped under the walls of Orel; the summer of 1920, the Polono-Soviet war. When Denikin was approaching Moscow, the Bolshevik government granted complete freedom to the socialists and the anarchists, allied itself with Makhno’s irregulars and allowed the mobilization of Mensheviks into the Red Army.
But by April 1924 the promise to free the social-democrats imprisoned in Butirky, for the purposes of the elections to the Moscow Soviet, was violated; after they were beaten in an inhuman manner, they were transferred to provincial prisons. It is at this time that the first cases of outrages committed against women imprisoned for political reasons took place: a year later, they began beating socialists for the first time in the prison of Yaroslavl. The same year, 1922, saw the establishment of the first concentration camp at Kholmogori, on the White Sea, where a group of anarchists was sent.
At the beginning of 1923, this camp was transferred to Pertominsk, and various groups of socialists were interned there. The regime of this camp was so humiliating that on May 22 the anarchists tried to commit suicide in a group as a protest. After sprinkling themselves with oil, they tried to put fire to it, which the socialists prevented them from doing only with the greatest difficulty. Then five hundred prisoners declared a hunger strike that lasted seventeen days. The GPU promised to free them, to transfer them to the Solovki Islands and to set up there a sort of “Northern paradise” for political prisoners. The promise was kept in July, but the “paradise” proved to be a veriable Guiana. The GPU tried to take the last liberty from the prisoners, that of circulating inside the camp. The prisoners having protested, the camp director, on December 19, 1923, sent armed guards, who beat them while they were walking peacefully in front of their barracks. Seven prisoners – two or three of them women – were killed on the spot, others were wounded. An inquiry commission coming from Moscow led to nothing. It was only in the autumn of 1924 that the Solovki concentration camp was temporarily abolished, following a new hunger strike and above all following a big protest campaign conducted by the Second International in Western Europe. As for the prisoners, they were transferred to prison or to exile on the continent.
After the drama of Solovki, five “political isolators” were organized: at Suzdal, Yaroslavl, Tobolsk, Chalyakinsk and Verkhne-Uralsk.
The one at Suzdal is located in the old and famous convent of the same name, near Moscow. That is where the trial of the Mensheviks was “rehearsed” before the final staging in Moscow. During the Five-Year Plan, thirty to forty Trotskyists were interned there, including Lado Dumbadze, former chairman of the Tiflis Soviet, Karpov, former head of the Cheka of the Caucasus, Volkov, the son-in-law of Trotsky, not counting the leader of the “Decists,” V.M. Smirnov. This Smirnov, at the head of an artillery group, had dislodged from the Kremlin, in October 1917, the student-officers who had entrenched themselves in it. He had been the head of the “military opposition” of 1919 against the bureaucratization of the Red Army by Trotsky. In 1935, Smirnov, having served his sentence, was able to live two months “at liberty,” that is, in exile at Ulala, near the Chinese frontier; but immediately afterward, he was arrested and sent back to the Suzdal Isolator ...
After the killing of Kirov, the doors of this prison closed behind three foreigners, Zinovievists of distinction: the Hungarian, A. Magyar, a collaborator of the magazine, The Communist International; the Pole, Domsky, one of the leaders of the Communist Party of Poland, and the Yugoslav, Vuyo Vuyovich, former secretary of the Communist Youth International.
The Isolator at Yaroslavl occupies an old fortress, transformed into a prison before the revolution. It is the worst of the penitentiaries. Three categories of condemned are interned there: the “religious,” the politicals, the “solitary confinement” prisoners.
The “religious” are the most numerous. This is the prison especially assigned to them. The Orthodox bishops, the heads of the sects, the Catholic priests from the western fron-
tiers of the USSR are imprisoned there. The sister of Professor Abrikosov, a theosophist, was there for ten years. She was released only when she was dying. There are a hundred political prisoners in Yaroslavl: Zionists, social-revolutionists, social-democrats, oppositional communists, anarchists. During the Five-Year Plan, three members of the Political Bureau of the Hungarian Communist Party were also put there; even though they were supporters of the “general line” in the USSR and in the Comintern, they were opponents of Bela Kun in their own party.
A part of the Yaroslavl prison is strictly isolated and designed for persons “in solitary confinement.” They are the ones the GPU wants to “bury alive.” They cannot communicate either with each other or with the outside world. Some information has nevertheless filtered out about a few of these unfortunates. The name of the socialist-revolutionist, Volkenstein, former scientific collaborator of the Military Academy, who spent five years here and partly lost her speech, has been mentioned. Another unfortunate is supposed to have been heard crying out: “Tell the Ambassador of Persia in Moscow that I am the Persian Professor Mirza and that I am wrongly accused of espionage!”
Another particularly tragic case is that of the French radical-socialist, Mallet. Here is his story. He was attached to the embassy of France at Sofia. During the terror that followed the coup d’état of Tsankov in 1923, the revolt of September, 1923, and the explosion of the Sofia cathedral in 1925, the Ambassador of France endeavored, as is known, to mitigate the fate of the victims of the terror directed against the Peasant Party and against the communists. Returning to France, Mallet, who had become deeply interested in these efforts, established relations with the MOPR [Labor Defense]. He delivered lectures on the terror in Bulgaria and appeared at meetings of the MOPR. This organization sent him to Russia, where he made a lecture tour. He was so confident that he even had his mother come to the USSR.
Suddenly, they demanded of him that he “testify” that the explosion in the Sofia cathedral was the work of the French authorities ... Mallet refused indignantly. The GPU had his mother arrested and he was warned that the fate of both of them depended upon his “confession.” Mallet sturdily refused. He was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment in Solovki. He was refused any information on the fate of his mother. But Mallet did not act like a vanquished man; he started a hunger strike and demanded his liberation. Then – he was already weakened and sick – he was put “in solitary confinement” in Yaroslavl. Thanks to his tenacity and a stroke of good luck, he was able, in 1931–32, to inform some other prisoners about his fate.
To understand the Mallet case, it should be known that in this period the Soviet government was accusing its victims (especially at the trial of the “Industrial Party”) of preparing armed intervention from abroad in connivance with the French general staff. But for the courage and honesty of Mallet, which probably cost him his life, the world would have “learned” that the Sofia explosion was the work of the police and the French general staff.
The Tobolsk Isolator is none other than the notorious house of correction of the days of the Czars. Dostoyevsky was interned there and described it in his House of the Dead.
In the Chelyabinsk Isolator, as in the preceding, it was the Trotskyist prisoners who predominated in 1928–29. The crisis of the “capitulations” freed about half of them; the others, who did not decide to capitulate, were transferred to the prison of Verkhne-Uralsk.
The crisis split not only the Trotskyist opposition along a line of political demarcation, but also according to the age of the imprisoned. It was the old generation that capitulated, exhausted by the struggle and more attached to the past than to the future. Budi Mdivani, former trade representative of the Soviets in Paris – recently shot for treason! – expressed very well the thought of the “oldsters”: “I belong to the Opposition, of course. But if things come to the point of a conclusive break with the Communist Party, I will go back to the party I contributed to creating. I no longer have the strength to begin creating a new party.” And it was true: the generation of the Russian revolutionists of 1900, who had made two revolutions, undergone the blows of three reactions, and seen the sinking of two Internationals, were worn to the bone.
The members of the Communist Opposition, transferred in 1928 to Verkhne-Uralsk, promptly had quarrels with the administration. The GPU, in order to inculcate into them that they were nothing but common “counter-revolutionists,” replied to their demands with beatings and showers administered by fire hose. Then these unfortunates, beaten and drenched, were left to lie for three days on the icy cement, without being fed and even without being allowed to go to the toilet. In February 1930 – that is, in the heart of winter – the case was repeated; many prisoners fell ill; one of them – Andrey Grayev – completely lost his sight.
Inspectors and jailor; were recruited then at Verkhne-Uralsk from among the local Cossack population; they mistreated this first group of communists who fell into their hands with visible relish. This was all the more the case because there were many Jews among them. These Cossack inspectors did not constrain themselves and dealt with the prisoners they beat up as “dirty Kikes.’’ The latter returned insult for insult and ended by asking the Cossacks: “You dirty bandits, wouldn’t you be beating Stalin himself if he were brought to you?” To which the Cossacks replied in chorus: “Certainly, if we were given the order.” This enabled the communist prisoners to send a proper protest to the Central Committee of the party and the supreme authorities of the GPU. Some time later, the Cossacks were removed and replaced by well-behaved Chekists who came from Moscow and were in part of working-class origin.
The GPU liked to boast of the proletarian origin of its myrmidons. One day, at the Tobolsk prison, an inquiry commission replied to the prisoners who complained of being mistreated: “Our inspectors are not hangmen, they are sons of workers and peasants.” But a socialist-revolutionist, a former hard-labor prisoner from the days of the Czar, retorted, not without humor: “You are mistaken if you think that in the Czar’s days the jailors were recruited from dukes and the hangmen from princes.”
In addition, the GPU liked on occasion to picture its quarrels with the opposition as a communist “family broil.” When socialists and anarchists protested to Prison Director Bizyukov against the cruelties inflicted upon the Opposition communists, he replied: “You are wrong to mix into an internal party affair which is none of your business.”
But there is something even better: there were some mistreated communist prisoners who grumbled against the “lack of tact” of the socialists and anarchists and called their intervention “inopportune”! A man as eminent as V.M. Smirnov, who thought that if the worst came to the worst it was all right to make an alliance with the anarchists, rebelled against the idea of an alliance with the Mensheviks to defend the rights of the prisoners ...
In the summer of 1930 the new wave of “capitulation” took away twenty or thirty prisoners from Verkhne-Uralsk. These people, beaten and humiliated a few months earlier by order of Director Bizyukov, left the prison shouting: “Long live Bizyukov! Long live the dictatorship of the proletariat!”
As for myself, with my ideas of a European accustomed to all the left-wing groups fighting in concert against the despotism of the police, I first thought myself in an insane asylum. But good sense won the day in the end. A year later, during our hunger strike, nobody was astonished or indignant to see the socialists and the anarchists protest to the administration out of solidarity. On the other hand, when two anarchists, who had joined in with our strike, were sent into one of our communist halls, there were some disturbances at first. But the ice was broken. At the beginning of 1933, the socialists, the anarchists and the communists reached the point of even declaring a joint hunger strike lasting twenty-four hours to protest against an abuse of the administration.
Even though the prison inspectors from Moscow were picked on the spot, the GPU had them under surveillance by means of a double system of espionage. One of the branches of the system – “political control” – was under the prison director, the other depended only on Moscow and kept an eye on everybody, the director included: the latter did not even know the persons constituting this secret service. They were agents provocateurs recruited from the prisoners and were supposed to watch not only their prison comrades but also their jailors. But in spite of this wealth of precautions, it sometimes happened that the inspectors, by their visits to the prisoners, rendered them some services. To communicate with the outside, however, we avoided as much as possible having anything to do with the inspectors. I give away no secret by describing here one of the means of communication, for it was discovered by the GPU.
The duties in prison were performed by the common criminals. One of them agreed to transmit the mail confided to him by the social-democrats to their contact in Verkhne-Uralsk. The prisoner, sent with his crew to cut wood in the forest, buried the letters in a place agreed upon. The contact had only to come and dig them up.
The eternal dream of prisoners – escape – haunted us as well. But you may well believe that it was absolutely impossible to escape from Verkhne-Uralsk. I know of only one serious attempt at escape. One day the painters were called to touch up a wall in the prison. A prisoner, having hid himself during the walk, stole the shirt of a painter, grabbed the pots and brushes and, thus disguised, walked toward the exit. The first sentinel he met paid no attention to him, but the second asked: “Your pass!” The prisoner did not lose his head. “My pass? Here it is.” And he began to feel about in his pockets. “What do you know! I must have forgotten it.” “I’m sorry, comrade, my orders are strict. Go back and look for it.” The prisoner could do nothing but return to the common hall, where a dozen of his comrades, all anxiety, wondered what would happen when the inspector discovered the escape.
The relations between the administration and the prisoners were formally courteous. But in every gesture, in every word, you felt a restrained animosity on the verge of eruption. It did break out from time to time – hunger strikes, obstructions, blows and cruelties, dousings, madness or suicide among the prisoners, firing upon prisoners. After each explosion everyone fell back into silence for a month or two.
In 1928 or 1929, the social-revolutionists resolved to take vengeance upon a prison sub-director named Matveyev who had had socialist prisoners beaten cruelly. This Matveyev made the acquaintance of two little dressmakers he liked. He began to see them often, but one day he was met with revolver shots; wounded in the head, more dead than alive, Matveyev managed to escape the ambush.
In 1932, the oppositional communists who had finished their prison term found themselves handed a supplementary sentence of two years. Nobody could say when this little game would cease; in point of fact, Soviet legislation allows the GPU to renew prison sentences or exiles on its own hook, without any justification. It is hard to believe that such things are possible. Nevertheless they exist, and it is on this very procedure that rests the system of repression existing in Russia for the past seventeen years. The prisoners, worn out, did not resort immediately to a hunger strike. But in May 1933, it became clear that nobody would escape the renewal of sentences: so the prisoners decided to notify the GPU that they would proclaim a strike if the prisoners who had served their sentences were not freed.
The GPU replied by transferring almost half the prisoners from Verkhne-Uralsk to the Isolators of Suzdal and Yaroslavl. This transfer aimed at breaking their resistance, but before leaving the prisoners agreed to begin the strike on the date set, regardless of where they were incarcerated. This was done and the strike broke out in the three prisons at the same time. On the third day, however, it was broken by force: the strikers were fed artificially and about thirty of them were shifted to other Isolators or concentration camps.
The strike committee, composed of Dingelstedt, Kraskin, Slitinsky and other comrades, was transferred to Solovky. There it found several hundred political prisoners: Georgian social-democrats, Mussulmans from Azerbaidjan, Uzbek and Kirghiz communists who had defended their peasant compatriots during the Five-Year Plan, social-revolutionists, Zionists, anarchists, Trotskyists. All these people were scattered in small groups among the common criminals and were not granted the regime of political prisoners. The Central Asiatic communists, guilty of national opposition, were treated especially badly. The new communists from Verkhne-Uralsk soon took the initiative in the struggle for assembling all the political prisoners together and for obtaining the corresponding regime. Some results were actually obtained.
Another group was transferred from Verkhne-Uralsk to the Ukht-Pechersk concentration camp. This camp takes in a vast territory in the Northeast of Russia, as big as half of France. The population of this territory is very small; not more than 150,000 souls, prisoners for the most part. Big works have been undertaken there, coal, gold and oil are sought, the mines are exploited, roads are hewed out, forests are cleared. The Ukht-Pechersk concentration camp has its own automobile service and a river flotilla. It is a state within a state. The slave population is perfectly well aware of this: the prisoners of the region, as well as the free population of the neighboring region of the Zyrians, have given the “comrnandant” of the concentration camp the nickname of “King of the North.” The Ukht-Pechersk camp even has its own papers, as well as a central organ edited by a well known Ukrainian journalist.
The organization of labor is very intense. Each group is subject to a “brigadier.” The brigadiers are usually former bandit chiefs and they run their groups exactly like they once ran their gangs. The GPU is interested in but one thing: that the total of the labor demanded be supplied, and it leaves it to the brigadiers to organize the “labor discipline” just as they see fit. The famous “re-education” of the prisoners is hypocrisy from beginning to end. What is more, from time to time there are scandalous incidents that reveal what this re-education really is. Here is one that ended badly for the hero: one of the camp heads noticed a young peasant girl deported with her family and had her come to his home on the pretext of taking care of it. Once alone with her, he tried to attack her without further ado. The young girl, frightened to death, created such a tumult that everybody ran over. The camp head got off with three years of concentration camp.
Attempts at escape are frequent but rarely succeed. The region is desert and savage, the first free habitations are too far off. Generally, the escaped, overcome by hunger, are forced to return to camp.
This subjugated population lives in a state of complete isolation. The people know that life is hard outside, that repression and famine prevail, that the ruling class is divided by a thousand intrigues, that the masters of the Kremlin sometimes end in concentration camps. But they are unaware of the meaning of these events, they know only hope and sometimes give credulity to the most fantastic fables.
Here is an example: one of our comrades transferred to the Ukht-Pechersk camp was received at his first stop by a crowd of prisoners who gave him the great news: “The government members, Yenukidze, Ordjonikidze, and Byelov, the commandant of the Leningrad military district, have just arrived in camp; these prominent prisoners are being brought to the center of the camp under heavy escort.” Naturally, our comrade was astounded: what is happening in Moscow? Stalin’s most intimate friends condemned? The next day, at the following stop, he met a comrade from Verkhne-Uralsk, a certain Shemms, who had preceded him somewhat. He jumped at Shemms: “Do you know anything about the arrival of the government members Yenukidze, Ordjonikidze and Byelov?” The other began to laugh: “Yenukidze, yes, but he’s ours, the Trotskyist; and Byelov is also one of ours – he’s the Kharkov economist and not the Leningrad military man! But Ordjonikidze? – Well, it looks like Ordjonikidze is me!”
The case was simple. The camp population, seeing three condemned arrive escorted by a dozen guards, which was exceptional, and hearing the name of Yenukidze and Byelov, immediately built up a whole story and imagined that a palace revolution had taken place in Moscow.
Beginning with 1933, that is, from the time of the second Five-Year Plan, they began sending more and more political prisoners, and especially the oppositional communists, to the concentration camps of Russia, Siberia and Central Asia. The more “socialism” Stalin built, the more prisons there were in Russia and the more the political prisoners suffered in them.
[Continued in next issue]
1. This was written in 1937, before the regime proclaimed that “complete freedom of religion” and of the Russian Church which barely concealed the incorporation of this ecclesiastical machine Into the ruling bureaucracy Itself and into Its police service. – Translator
Last updated on: 15 October 2015