How did Sergei Kourdakov use contrasts to strengthen his story? He actually used quite a lot of them. The first is the difference in treatment between the Christians and the ones persecuting them. The persecution group received very high pay, as well as praise and recommendation, and high liberty. But the ones being persecuted experienced beating and horrible torments, even to the point of death.
The second contrast is the contrast in behavior. The persecution unit generally enjoyed themselves, and actually drank themselves stupid on occasion. The violence that they dealt out to the Christians actually carried over to their interactions with their fellow cadets and officers, so much so that their own friends asked what had happened to them. But the Christians were not like this. They were as a rule hard workers, helpful, courageous, and never touched vodka. Their friends would vouch for them to the bitter end until they were told that their friend was a Christian. Then they would out of fear pretend to hate them and criticize them and ostracize them.
The third contrast is between what Moscow told Kourdakov and what he saw with his own eyes. The Communist party had told him that all of the Christians still in the Soviet Union were old fools who had been Christians since the October Revolution. But Kourdakov observed an alarming number of young, energetic people at the secret meetings he continued to disrupt. He noticed one young woman who came to these meetings three times, even after being beaten severely every time. After the third time, one of the raiders actually protected her.
The last contrast actually has nothing to do with the Christians. It is the difference between the Communist ideology, everything Kourdakov had been taught, and reality. This was shown particularly acutely on Lenin’s 100th birthday. There was a big celebration that day, and a large banquet. Kourdakov was selected to give a speech, was given honors, and named “the top youth of the nation.” One of the officials, Comrade Orlaf, congratulated him and invited him into a smaller back room with all the Communist party officials. Within he saw an appalling sight. The room was secluded so no one could see; and inside, all the officials were gorging on the best food in the land and drinking themselves unconscious. Then drunken Comrade Orlaf began cursing Communism as “the greatest curse known to man,” and Kourdakov feared for his life, lest someone should find him listening.
This experience caused him to lose faith in Communism, along with the other great contrasts in this book.