But the more unyielding the boy being questioned was, the harder he would be hit, and with increasing frequency. The interrogator slapped the youth’s left cheek with his right hand and his right cheek with his left hand. At first Beria did it as the simplest method of getting the needed information. Then he discovered it gave him a peculiar pleasure. Being an intelligent person, he soon found that the enjoyment he felt came not from the action of beating, or from seeing the victim bleeding and crying with pain. In other words, Beria was not a sadist. The pleasure generally had its roots in his consciousness of the tortured one’s helplessness, and in his certainty that none of the victims would dare attack the interrogator, even in desperation. The realization of the prisoner’s helplessness when he entered Beria’s office was for Lavrenty more pleasant than the beating itself.

The schoolgirls, when interrogated, were not hit on their outstretched hands. Nor did they have to be especially stubborn to get beaten. But they had to endure some suffering to scare them into telling everything they knew. They were ordered to take off their shoes and lie on the floor with their face to the rug, to lift their skirts, and to pull down their underwear. Then Beria put one foot on the victim’s neck and started horsewhipping the girl. The poor child was allowed to weep, but was warned beforehand that should she try to cry aloud, the punishment would never be stopped.

Spanking the girls excited Beria sexually, and not only because they lay half-naked in front of him. Of course, a partly undressed girl was exciting to a man twenty-one years old, as Lavrenty was at that time. But this was not the main reason Beria’s senses were affected, for after the first few strokes of the horsewhip the victim’s body turned purple, started bleeding, and finally, when their system was unable to bear the pain any longer, the call of nature had to be answered. This sight was not pleasant, and the odor was disgusting. The true reason for the pleasure was the girl’s youth. The more helpless and innocent the young girl was, the more exciting and desirable she became, and the greater the pleasure.

SOURCE: Excerpted from Commissar: The life and death of Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria by Tadeusz Wittlin, MacMillian, 1972 (ISBN-13: 9780207954801, ISBN-10: 0207954801) Graphic image from 6 July 2015 correctional training regimen, Commissar NSK presiding, Black Lodge Discipline Center.