Workers point at one of the homes of Russia’s former medical cadets, who hold their annual memorial ceremony, near former camps used by Soviet Red Army medical units. Soviet physicians and coders worked in medically inhumane conditions and without basic medical equipment. “I survived,” the survivor, Alexei Parakhin, 72, said of his experiences. Parakhin is an expert on Russian history and soldiering. In Stalin’s time, he was transported from the plains of Russia’s central Afroskoe Valley to one of Stalin’s Tuileries camps to learn how to evaluate illnesses. Upon his return to his parents’ farm in the mountains, he became a veterinarian. He never forgot the suffering and the incomprehensible sight of the patients who came to him with terrible scars, sick and dying in shocking masses. “Everyone was suffering,” Parakhin said. “Maybe this [torture] is a testament to the power of their suffering.” Twenty-eight hundred veterans have passed away since the end of the war, and an estimated 1.8 million—one third of all Red Army veterans—belong to a group known as the “Cardiothoracic Pearls.” Though some can’t access pensions or subsidized rent, almost half of cardiothoracic veterans live on less than a dollar a day. “At least they’re able to drink water,” Parakhin said. “People drink because they are afraid of dying in front of the grave.”