The Daily Grind

by Michael Priv


My Scientology Int Base tenure was quite mediocre in terms of all the tragedy, drama and suppression that I had to endure. It definitely pales by comparison with other accounts that I have read recently. I have never been beaten by the Chairman of the Board or any of his crazed cronies, nobody humiliated me to the same extent as some of my friends and I have not lost any family members to disconnection. I got out in 2005 not only in more or less one piece (a lost finger, a broken jaw, a couple of broken knees and a heart attack notwithstanding) but much better off spiritually because that which does not kill you, makes you stronger. It does. Of course, having grown up for twenty years in the Soviet Union gave me a unique edge: I was used to heavy-handed management style, invalidation and humiliation. I did not expect any better from the Government of Scientology and I was right. It was not, in the final count, a false datum that most Russians share.

No, I cannot characterize over one-third of my life invested on that Base as Hell. I would characterize, or rather diagnose it, as “chronic dental extraction aggravated by severe rectal discomfort.” For the medically challenged, yes, there absolutely is a medical condition of chronic tooth extraction. It is a prevailing condition at Int Base under Die Lieber Fuhrer. You eventually start producing your own Novocain. Of course if you grew up in the Soviet Union, you’d just be producing Novocane anyway but if you didn’t . . . well . . .  good luck.   

There are two parts to my diagnosis: the rectal pain and the dental extraction. The severe rectal discomfort of everyday life at the Base, unbearable as it may be, is strictly a subjective phenomenon. And therein lays the subject of chronic teeth extraction of trying to get anything produced. Let me describe briefly the molasses-stomping, excruciating and heart-breakingly pointless dental extraction routine of my life for many years on the Base in greater detail.  
I arrived to the Base in 1989 at the Translations Unit Int as the Russian Translations In-Charge from Pac Base Crew Organization in LA where I held a post of the Director of Special Affairs—the Legal and PR Tsar, no less. Why would a smart Russian boy from a good family do a rush thing like jumping into the thick of the Government, you ask? Because I wanted Scientology in Russia and other countries, I wanted to make the world a much better place where decent beings could flourish and prosper unhindered by war and criminality. 

I was posted at Association for Better Living and Education International before PBC and I spent over a year at San Francisco Church delivering Dianetic therapy to at least a hundred people prior to that. In my estimation, I did quite a lot of good and helped quite a few people in my few years on staff and in the Sea Org before I arrived to the base. Then . . .

          The renovations of the Translations and LRH Compilations spaces, the Ranchos, have just been completed when I arrived. Those were bland and tasteless, yet subtly cold and uninviting new spaces, the hallmark of our Dear Leader’s warship of anything material at the expense of spiritual.    
In 1989 I did not succeed in getting any translations approved through the Authorizations Int. 
In 1990—a year passed—I pushed through Learning How To Learn and Basic Study Manual gaining the whooping 63 standard pages of LRH for the Russians. A rather puny step for mankind. 

In 1991 my The Way To Happiness translation was approved through Authorizations Int. That added 42 standard pages, as I recall, to the total of 105 pages of translations in 2.5 years or less than a page a week. I am not talking about anything printed and released, mind you, of course not! I am only talking about a translation approved for publication.     

That is not how much I translated, I assure you. That is how much I was getting approved. The production line included translation, side checking with another qualified Russian till clean (there wasn’t another Russian Scientologist in the world to side check with), proofreading, tech checking by a Class VI Auditor (there wasn’t one in Russian, of course) and then back-translation from Russian into English by a totally different person (there wasn’t any) for verification by Authorizations Int. In addition to all the obvious problems with following this production line, the back translation verifications created wooden and unimaginative but EXACT products in Russian. I cracked under pressure into allowing to degrade my language and impede understanding just for the sake of getting anything approved. To give you an example of the fallacy of back translations, the English words “house, “dwelling”, “hut”, “building”, “structure”, “edifice” and “tenement” are translated by pretty much with just one Russian word: “house”. On the other hand, an English word “storm” can be translated into at least two dozen different Russian terms (and the back-translator, not being allowed to see the original English text, could use any of them in his back translation) and such words as “to handle”, “serenity”, “asset”, “confusion”, “liability” and “postulate”, to name a few, have no exact equivalent in Russian whatsoever. So the submissions with multitude of such words would shuttle back and forth between me and Authorizations Int pretty damn near indefinitely, often stuck at Authorizations for a month at a time while I was slowly pulling the rest of my hair out and having accidents, such as cutting my finger off on all-hands renos once in 1991. Every reject had to be answered via Ethics Department and Word Clearing. And therein lays severe rectal discomfort on a purely subjective level.

Despite the impossible production line and a 4-months long Recruitment Mission to Europe in 1991, by the end of 1991 I had translated over 2000 pages of LRH basic books and Life Improvement Courses and had gotten almost half of that through the production line, ready for approval.    
There was no Scientology in Russia which made Russian production line a tightly knit concatenation of miracles and clandestine production line violations. In order to have Russian volunteers to work with I made some Russian Scientologists in LA first—and boy, were we cranking! 
In 1991 I was promoted to the post of Pioneer Languages Translations In-Charge and was making all kinds of people in LA into Scientologists and getting TWTH and Dianetics picture Book translated into some 26 languages. Of course I had an icicle’s chance in Hell of getting them approved but I was actually getting a tiny trickle through.

In the end of 1991 I finally gave up on the AVC and was about to tell everybody to go to Hell when Mike Rinder found me and got me fired on an ASI mission to Moscow with Fred Harris to open the LRH Library at Moscow University. The mission was a great success with some incredible products and stories to tell, a birthday present to President Gorbachev being the best and funniest of the stories.    
I returned back to Base just around the time Building 36 was being completed, kind of nice outside but gaudy, soulless and tasteless inside, just like the Master. 

I found TU just as squashed as I left it. Death and destruction, gloom and doom. The forever running reprimands, trouble and failures sucked all the life out of my friends. Then shortly after I arrived, in March of 1992, COB walked into TU and went out immediately with the words “It stinks in here”. The TU execs, Tanya Alexander and Porzia, immediately lined us up and started sniffing everybody’s butts and under arms. Have to give Tanya a credit: she was blushing. I venture throwing it out there that she might have even been harboring a slight disagreement with her own actions that very second. Investigators arrived shortly after the sniffing frenzy subsided. They set up camp in our spaces and started investigating the hell out of the body odor situation in TU. As a result, our professional Dutch translator Olfert Kleveringa, whom I helped get to TU, was offloaded as a psychotic. He has been translating for over 20 years, everything Amsterdam had to deliver was done by Olfert. I’ve been there, I knew the score. I confronted Porzia, the TU Dir, on that point. Her reply was that Scientology failed to expand in Holland beyond a mediocre Amsterdam Church and so Olfert had no ethics protection. I bet Olfert had no idea that he was supposed to set up and run Churches in Holland to have ethics protection against body odor. Olfert was a sharp and experienced old goat so I asked him how he felt about being offloaded. He answered with a strange glint of mirth carefully hidden deep in his eyes that he had no choice because he was a psychotic.  I wondered about that glint for a while and erroneously attributed it to him being a psychotic as opposed to him being a sharp and experienced old goat. My mistake.

Having our butts sniffed in public by Tanya Alexander was kind of an interesting, once in a life-time experience but, all things being equal, I’d rather be in Russia. Out there in Russia, in the field, was life. Here in TU was death. Having spent a couple of weeks back “home” in TU and having successfully survived through the sniffing massacre, I wrote my own Project Orders to go back to Russia, got them approved through AVC Int, recruited myself a Project Ops (Tanya Alexander) and got myself fired on a Project to Russia. I did not omit taking ALL my translations on floppy diskettes with me, approved or not, completed or not.

I took part as an I/C or the 2nd in the total of 4 successful projects and missions in Russia non-stop till the end of 1993, released DMSMH, Dianetics Picture Book and Dianetics Seminar (and the book Fear, for some wonderfully important but incomprehensible reason), helped set up 16 first missions and the OTL, as well as the first WISE college. All of these missions and WISE had ALL my translations and under Walter Kotrich’s brilliant and enthusiastic management, my hapless Motherland started delivering up a storm of Scientology. 

In the end of 1993 in Moscow I got in serious trouble with KGB on the subject of the E-Meter, dropped out of comm with the OTL to divert the danger away from the org, ended up with a broken jaw and very slight discomfort in most of the rest of my body as a direct result of a rather long roll down a long flight of concrete stairs, assisted on that at first by one of the KGB officers. I had threats on my life, my US passport was revoked by KGB who started a dossier on my illegal activities, such as bringing in an E-Meter without authorization from KGB (they didn’t want to give it to me so I smuggled a donated Mark V in), doing E-Meter pinch tests on people, moving around the country with no KGB permission, setting up an organization in Sankt Peterburg without something or other and obtaining money through auditing Book One without setting up a legal business or paying taxes from my illegal revenues of a total of $250. There was no way to get money into the country except with a courier so at times the supply lines were completely cut. I was occasionally starving (I spent three days once on a small bag of hazelnuts and some candy, a present from a German OT volunteer who just arrived then to help on Applied Scholastics lines) and had no money to operate. The KGB hoodlums in due time really pissed me off and I started retaliating by not cooperating and making fun at them openly. Like for example inviting them to my apartment to finally show them the E-Meter and then when all 5 of them were there telling them all together to fu.. off. Little things but highly satisfying. That line of thinking accidentally got me into an out-2D situation with a girlfriend of one of my KGB tormentors which really made a good impression on him. Okay, I was wrong on that point! Alright?

My Project Ops at the time was not reading my daily reports which I could not send regularly anyway because of my security situation. Mission traffic is confidential. The situation was out of control and quickly deteriorating. Things looked bad, then super deadly serious for a short while and then went down hill from there. Grim. I finally escaped back to civilization with the help from a special OSA Int Project but without a return ticket. It is a long story. Have you ever tried flying Lufthansa from Moscow to LA via Frankfurt without a ticket and with 72 cents in your pocket? It is easier and, most importantly, faster than getting translations approved through AVC Int but a nerve-wrenching experience nevertheless. The trip took 4 days, most of them spent at airports starving to death. 

Upon arrival to the Base I was promptly put on MEST work under 24-hour watch and then was posted in the Galley as a Storesman and Canteen I/C, getting a full battery of sec checks and PDH checks. I spent over a year in the kitchen pissed off at the world and having frequent run-ins with Sinar Parman, the COB’s Cook. There was nothing wrong with Sinar really. I simply hated the life at the Galley and did not like COB very much but kept it as my own little withhold quite in addition to numerous bigger ones that I had.

At the end of 1994 by the telex order from ED Int the wealth of my LRH translations that have not been approved by AVC Int but were used in Russia were revoked from all missions and BURNED at the OTL in their boiler. There were 56 missions in Russia by that time. Within a few months the number of missions dropped to 32 and the remaining missions’ GI was cut in half or more. A total of 24 missions closed down completely because of that telex. From that point on ED Int became my worst enemy. I started a war with Guillaume that went on till the day I left and accomplished absolutely nothing because he was a wrong target. DM ordered to commit this atrocity as an attempt to stop the spread of “squirrel” activities in Russia but actually that action increased squirrel activities 100X while delivering a devastating blow to Scientology in Russia.

I started jumping up and down, petitioning repeatedly to get out of the Galley back to TU to get my translations through AVC. One of my petitions was eventually approved by DM in 1994 but I only returned to my post in 1995 after I had a Galley delivery truck accident that left me with both of my knees broken. The truck was alright though. I still had to get myself replaced at the Galley but it went fast because I could not really stand much or carry heavy things for a while, although I did anyway as soon as I could. 

That was around the time when Cine Castle was being built and people were assigned to the RPF for various related flaps as usual.      

By that time things in TU changed considerably. Approval lines were streamlined a bit and I did in fact have a LOT of Scientologists now, both in Russia and in LA. I relatively quickly had all the basic books approved and some printed as event releases. Going was tough as usual with the rampant condition assignments, sleepless nights for weeks or months for the event releases, humiliation of me or my friends or juniors at masters, the stupid renos and other all-hands, occasionally full time—the usual Base shuffle. But nothing could shake me loose from getting the translations out.

In 1996 I was fired on mission to CLO EU to set up a TU there and get a bunch of LRH materials done for some release. Walter was CO CLO EU now and doing great, helping, never stopping dissemination, never getting too bureaucratic on me and covering my back every step of the way. That was fun! Lots of good creative production. We put together a TU there of over 100 people from all around Europe. As soon as we started producing, the order came from DM directly this time to “to weed out all the dead wood”.  I was ordered to weed out many good people that way, got into heavy protests, went out 2D and was escorted back to the Base to do MEST work under 24-hour watch. I had a Comm Ev that assigned me back to TU Int because I had serious ethics protection. But I was never allowed to leave the base after that.

Eventually David Miscavige destroyed TU Int completely. That was just around the time we worked on the new Lab building days and nights. There was just too much dissemination for his liking, I guess. The entire TU Int was finally just me as the TU Coordinator Int and Susan Mathe as my Deputy. The pattern of operations changed and it was not entirely to my liking but TU could operate that way too, if my orders were consistent and all Cont TUs actions were coordinated.

Any telex from me had to be approved by AVC Int. That line was slow and difficult but things creaked on somehow with the aide of the new hi-tech invention: the e-mail. It was prohibited to put orders on e-mail lines but orders did not actually have to look like orders at all. They could be made to look like specifically NOT orders. Susan was an unsurpassed wiz on getting camouflaged orders out. It could all work except for one thing: DM kept changing his orders on a whim. We expanded TU network by that time to some 1200 people all around the world. Any orders, legal or not, given in any way, shape or form would only filter down to all concerned in a week to two weeks. It would take many more telexes and emails to help TU Dirs to work out bugs, get stops out of the way, iron out important and silly personnel difficulties, get CO CLO’s back-up and cooperation to get any momentum going. On average we could get things rolling full blast on any releases in 3 weeks time after we received our orders. That meant that for 3 weeks we were artillery fodder for the Zonder Komanda SS Lisa Von Schroer and company and a bulls eye for DM’s target practice. Both Susan and I had to take DM’s brunt and face Lisa Schroer’s antics, including screaming, ethics and justice actions, insults, weird and unusual punishments and humiliation in front of 500 people at musters and staff meetings.

Then we would finally get rolling but then DM would promptly change the releases. My orders to Cont TUs on stopping and changing priorities mid-stream would not make any sense, of course, and result in HUNDREDS on KRs on me from Cont TUs every time. I was their target but I recruited or trained, defended and stood by most of them over the years, worked with them shoulder to shoulder. Therefore, when I was gone as the stable terminal, the best people started blowing, routing out or just quitting. The powerful TU network started creaking at the seams and falling apart under the pressure and insane whims of our arch-criminal Lieber Fuhrer. Gold was in lower conditions for about 4 or 5 years by then, life really sucked in many ways.

In February of 2004 after two people whom I liked and respected blew—my former junior Detti Koltai and Dan Koon from RTRC—and after a seriously ugly grilling by CO CST and ED ASI I walked off post and was assigned to PAC RPF where I tried to route out till June 2005 when I finally blew from the RPF and had a heart attack shortly after.

DM is a criminal, he belongs in jail. I want to get rid of him and get my Church back. Why? Because I want to see the world without insanity, criminality and war, where decent people can flourish and prosper, have rights and go up the Bridge!