The "break" casts you into Limbo. The problems of "making a career", the aimless and tiring "hunt for a Place", the "enforced pluralism" of cramped living quarters, dubious neighbors, queuing and dangerous work conditions – are all expressions of unmediated polarization and weak mid-range institutions. But the key problem is not material but spiritual. Limbo has two separate and opposite interpretations: in one, you are brought up in intimacy and later fight to preserve it. You may be sent to the furthest reaches on the most Kafkaesque missions, but you are a soldier defending your Island. You will wait and endure. But at some point, many, perhaps most, "fall through" this interpretation into another.
"Sooner or later you encounter an injustice or lie so glaring that you can't keep silent." Then you speak your heart, and "experience an unusual feeling of freedom and omnipotence." This lasts until you are called in to "Nikoláy Petróvich… or Sergéy Ivánich…, or, if worst comes to worst, Vladímir Fëdorovich…", who tells you: "My little man, one doesn't crush the hammer with a whip!" (Bukóvsky 1978, p.64-74)
You grasp that life is "not the way we've been told". It is this mental revolution that constitutes the "break". Suddenly, for you, personally, society is no longer legitimate. The balancing act is disrupted. Your Quest for meaning is revealed to be subordinate to power. You become a specialized cog in a machinery of power that does not work. So you crash through fragile structures of meaning into the Unknowable. Stalin on his pedestal is toppled into the grave.