And what accomplished villains these old engineers were! What diabolical
ways to sabotage they found! Nikolai Karlovich von Meck, of the People's
Comissariat of Railroads ... would hold forth for hours on end about the
economic problems involved in the construction of socialism, and he loved to
give advice. One such pernicious piece of advice was to increase the size
of freight trains and not worry about heavier than average loads. The GPU
exposed van Meck, and he was shot: his objective had been to wear out rails
and roadbeds, freight cars and locomotives, so as to leave the Republic
without railroads in case of foreign military intervention! When, not long
afterward, the new People's Commissar of Railroads ordered that average
loads should be increased, and even doubled and tripled them, the malicious
engineers who protested became known as limiters ... they were rightly
shot for their lack of faith in the possibilities of socialist transport.
- -- Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, "The Gulag Archipelago"