Gennadiy N. Lepeshkin: During sophomore year, someone suggested that we form a student construction brigade and go to the virgin lands. Off we went to Tselinograd (Virgin Lands City), in Kazakhstan, and I learned what Kazakhstan was all about, what sweltering heat and dust were, and laid eyes on the endless expanses of the steppe. All of these things were firsts for me.
Notwithstanding the hardships we endured in the virgin lands, I was very glad to be a part of that magnificent undertaking that was taking place at that time. When I arrived in the county seat of Kruglizhino, little houses of the type that used to be constructed in the virgin lands for the first arrivals had already been put up. It was already... a civilized place, and you could see that people had everything they needed. There were a lot of geese, and every community of a decent size had a lake nearby, where the geese grazed, and we lived in very good conditions. We were allotted living quarters, in a sort of barracks setup, but that was plenty good enough for us. A field kitchen was built, the kind you see in those old movies about the Soviet period. It was fun. I liked the whole business very much, I loved working, although the work wasn't easy, we built cattle barns, poured cement and dug foundations for buildings that were going to be put up. It was hard work, but it didn't tire us out, in fact, in the evenings... we sang songs and danced up a storm. It was really great, all that... youthful ardor. I was always up for those goings-on.