The author of this book is quite an ordinary Russian, soldier, and citizen. He has rather less reason to take offense at Stalin than the majority of Russians. He was born about the time of the October Revolution of 1917, and can be said to have begun active, practical life in the early days of the war, in 1941. His thoughts and experiences are those of the young generation of Soviet people.
He is not a renegade communist, for he has never been a member of the Soviet Communist Party. He has come to know the theory and practice of Stalinist Communism in the same way as every other Russian has come to know them, in life and blood. So he is in no way an exception to the rule of present-day Soviet society. He loves freedom and democracy no more and no less than any other Russian does.
This book is in the nature of a diary, but it does not pretend to tell the author's life-story. It reports on the Soviet man of the present day, on those who today are wearing gold epaulettes and are driving tanks and flying airplanes, those that are living and working behind the Iron Curtain.
If these lines ever happen to find their way to Berlin, many Soviet soldiers and officers-and their number is greater than is indicated in this book-will secretly think: 'This book reports on me.'