The panorama of life in the Soviet Union during the years which link the first FYP (1 October 1928) and the German attack on 22 June 1941 almost defies description and comprehension. Heroic self-sacrifice, unflinching devotion, patriotism, the neglect of the material well-being of today because a better tomorrow was being constructed, incredible industrial achievements, sadistic, corrupt party and police officials maltreating and murdering thousands if not millions, starving children left to die only because they had a kulak as a father, man-made famines claiming countless lives, ecstatic joy and bottomless misery and sadness, all co-existed and ran parallel - it was heaven and hell cheek by jowl. Extremes no longer appear to be extremes: they become commonplace.