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February 8, 2012
How I became the victim of my own experiments
By Christina Grigoryan
How I became the victim of my own experiments

There was a book that influenced me to such a degree, that after being given a beautiful red rose in the street by a blond and extremely handsome stranger, made me accept the gift, walk several meters far, threw it into rubbish can and instantly disinfect my hands with a hand sanitizer.

I was a college sophomore when I came across a book, called “The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB”. Christopher Andrew’s highly criticized book was about a senior archive officer at Soviet intelligence service headquarters in Lubyanka, Russia, who risked his life by copying a huge amount of confidential information of KGB operations throughout the cold war.

In silent midnights when I was reading the 600 page tick book, I felt totally absorbed in the incidents that were going on and had a feeling as if I was the main character of the events. Sometimes I felt stressed out, sometimes the story lines made my heart beat faster... I was relaxed when everything was ok with the secret agent after completing dangerous intelligence operation.
Very soon when I finished the book, I found myself extremely suspicious. I was aware of KGB officers’ various experiments on ordinary people,  so it made me avoid simple handshakes and even being touched by unknown people, thinking that I would become the victim of their experiments. To me every person was a spy.

However this book helped me to understand how careful you should be in trusting people surrounding you and how cautious you need to be in each of your steps and words. I learnt that information you provide which seemed unimportant or a joke can once be used against you. I realized the genuine value of information.

As the time passed I felt that new characteristics have been revealed inside me. I grew more secretive and closed to express my feelings. Even my closest friend still thinks I’m as cold as ice and therefore doomed to be forever spinster. She’s not even aware that I fell in love not less than twice a month.

Three years have passed since I’ve read the book, but I still believe it was the only one that had the greatest impact on my character. Truly said, I won’t be that excited to see people in my society thinking just like me, therefore I strongly encourage those who read my essay, not to read this book!

This article was one of the assignments at the Youth in the 21st Century: Debating and Producing Media Workshop organized by Open Society Foundations-Armenia, Open Society Foundations Youth Program and IDEA (International Debate Education Association) from Jan 26 to Feb 6, 2012 at Aghveran. The writer was one of the participants at the workshop.


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