Here’s another important observation from Bykov’s novel. When purges begin, it’s best to be among the first crop of the punished.
The regime is at its mildest stage at the beginning. Everybody is going to get their punishment sooner or later but the longer you stay in the role of a good, obedient boy or girl, the more virulent the regime will be with you. Every act of compliance makes things worse for you. Punishments will get harsher.
People think that they are buying themselves some leniency with compliance. But the reality is the opposite.