Although born in Prague under the Austro-Hungarian Empire and dying before Stalin took control of the USSR, Kafka clairvoyantly understood the full paradox of Soviet authoritarianism. His short parable “Before the Law” provides an interesting intellectual exercise for anyone wishing to study Soviet law, for in Russia it evokes tragic truth. The man who futilely attempted to reach the law is a metaphor for Russian masses seeking the same goal. Just as the doorkeeper with his air of conscious superiority and vacillating temperament mirrors the nature of Soviet rulers. The absurdity that underpins Kafka's work poignantly and painfully parallels the arbitrary ‘justice' of Stalin's rule. The man's futile search is symbolic of the many purge victims who, while wasting away in the gulags, clung to the slim hope of using legal means to exonerate themselves. Through an intellectual and visceral response, Kafka conveys the authoritarian split between the elite and the masses in Russia. No one knows how many countless Russian and Soviet citizens' lives were wasted in the same shadow of indifferent omnipotence. And we are forced to ask why the law was kept from them. And yet, what fueled the insatiable pursuit of the law in the face of certain futility? Even the Purges took place within a legal framework, as perverse as it may have been. But was Communist legality simply an oxymoron, or was there something more?