Acceptance. That, he had learned in Russia many years ago, was the secret of survival. ... Accept it. Wait. Let the system exhaust itself. Protest will only raise your blood pressure.

A dog looks up to you, a cat looks down on you, but a pig looks you straight in the eye.

A voice came out of the darkness.
'Don't make it so wide. It's not a grave. You're making work for yourself.

But clever people all make one mistake. They all think everyone else is stupid. And everyone isn't stupid. They just take a bit more time, that's all.

Death solves all problems - no man, no problem. - J. V. Stalin, 1918

Did you know that one of the things Aleksey had to do was interrogate Beria? Night after night. Can you imagine what that must have been like? But Beria never cracked, not once in nearly half a year, until right at the very end, after his trial, when they were strapping him to the board to shoot him. He hadn’t believed they’d dare to kill him.’ ‘How do you mean, he cracked?’ ‘He was squealing like a pig – that’s what Yepishev said. Shouting something about Stalin and something about an archangel. Can you imagine that? Beria, of all people, getting religious! But then they put a scarf in his mouth and shot him. I

Does a name stick because it suits a man or does the man, unconsciously, evolve into his name?

Gratitude", he said, quoting Stalin, "is a dog's disease.

Have you ever seen fishermen when a storm is brewing on a great river? I have seen them many a time. In the face of a storm one group of fishermen will muster all their forces, encourage their fellows and boldly put out to meet the storm: 'Cheer up, lads, hold tight to the tiller, cut the waves, we'll pull her through!' But there is another type of fishermen - those who, on sensing a storm, lose heart, begin to snivel and demoralise their own ranks: 'What a misfortune, a storm is brewing; lie down, boys, in the bottom of the boat, shut your eyes; let's hope she'll make the shore somehow.

He glanced around the reading room and closed his eyes, trying to keep hold of the past for a minute longer, a fattening and hungover middle-aged historian in a black corduroy suit.

... he tried to visualise her apartment, but he couldn't do it, he didn't know enough about her.

His scars and his tattoos were the medals of his lifetime. He was proud to wear them.

History wasn't made without taking risks, that much he knew. So maybe sometimes you had to take risks to write it, too?

If you are afraid of wolves, keep out of the woods. - J. V. Stalin, 1936

In the concealed darkness of the bag her fingers began to work her rosary, clumsily at first but with increasing dexterity - Push. Click. Slide. Press -

Quod volimus credimus libenter
we always believe what we want to believe

It is my unshakeable belief that when the proper perspective is restored, statues will be raised again to Stalin.’ ‘Goering said the same of Hitler during the Nuremberg trial. I don’t see any statues –’ ‘Hitler lost.’ ‘But surely Stalin lost? In the end? From the “objective perspective”?’ ‘Stalin inherited a nation with wooden ploughs and bequeathed us an empire armed with atomic weapons. How can you say he lost? The men who came after him – they lost. Not Stalin. Stalin foresaw what would happen, of course. Khrushchev, Molotov, Beria, Malenkov – they thought they were hard, but he saw through them. “After I’ve gone, the capitalists will drown you like blind kittens.” His analysis was correct, as always.

It was an unnatural time to be awake, ... It meant nothing good. He associated it with emergency, bereavement, conspiracy, flight; the sad skulk away at the end of a one-night affair.

Kelso's hangover had gone, to be replaced by that familiar phase of post-alcoholic euphoria - always in the past, his most productive time of day - a feeling that alone was enough to make getting drunk worthwhile.

more enemies, more honour.

Nothing is more important to a nation than its history. It is the earth upon which any society stands.

Push out a bayonet. If it strikes fat, push deeper. If it strikes iron, pull back for another day.

She didn't say goodbye. She set off up the street, dodging the pedestrians, walking fast. He watched her, waiting to see if she might look back. But of course she didn't. He knew she wouldn't. She wasn't the looking-back kind.

The foundations of Empire are often occasions of woe; their dismemberment, always.

Time. Now here is a peculiar commodity, boy. The measurement of time. Best accomplished, obviously, with a watch. But, lacking a watch, a man may use instead the ebb and flow of light and dark. Lacking, however, a window through which to see such movement, the reliance must be devolved upon some inner mechanism of the mind. But if the mind has received a shock, the mechanism is disturbed, and time becomes as the ground is to a drunkard, variable.

To choose one's victims, to prepare one's plans minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then to go to bed ... there is nothing sweeter in the world. - J. V. Stalin

... unfortunately, freedom alone is not enough, by far. If there is a shortage of bread, a shortage of butter and fats, a shortage of textiles, and if housing conditions are bad, freedom will not carry you very far. It is very difficult, comrades, to live on freedom alone.

What she needed was someone who would take her for the whole night. Someone decent and respectable, with an apartment of his own. But how could you ever judge what men were really like? It was the young ones with the swaggering walks and the loud mouths who ended up bursting into tears and showing you pictures of their girlfriends. It was the bespectacled bankers and lawyers who liked to knock you around.

Where was the respect? The boys all looked like girls and the girls all looked like whores. Clearly, the country was already halfway in the shit.

You can't make sense of the present unless a part of you lives in the past.