Mutual surveillance became a civic duty. During the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Cheka-GPU-NKVD, Mikoian stated at the Bolshoi Theater, "Every toiler in our country must also be a security agent." The state procurator Vyshinskii boasted in 1937, "Millions have assisted us in our work!"
Students took NKVD instructions to heart and readily informed on their fellows. [...]
At the same moment that one observed, one was being observed by others. Propagandists clearly enunciated the new regulation: "Every Communist must study the other, noting his past and hist present." Family ties, hobbies, habits - all were of interest.
Stalinist Confessions. Messianism and Terror at the Leningrad Communist University
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009