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Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was becoming a dissident against the U.S.S.R. and the restricting communist government after he was arrested for the first time. He, through his entire life, was willing to sacrifice everything he had in order to point out that censorship was wrong and people should be able to speak their mind.


About his book “The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956 “:
Drawing on his own incarceration and exile, as well as on evidence from more than 200 fellow prisoners and Soviet archives, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression — the state within the state that ruled all-powerfully.

Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims — men, women, and children — we encounter secret police operations, labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the “welcome” that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war. Yet we also witness the astounding moral courage of the incorruptible, who, defenseless, endured great brutality and degradation. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 — a grisly indictment of a regime, fashioned here into a veritable literary miracle — has now been updated with a new introduction that includes the fall of the Soviet Union and Solzhenitsyn’s move back to Russia.

Solzhenitsyn’s childhood years were very rough. Aleksandr (pronounced Alexander) was born in Kisovodsk, Russia on December 11, 1918 (Academic American Encyclopedia Sno-Sz, p 59). His father was an artillery officer in World War I, and his mother was a typist and stenographer. Aleksandr never knew his father, because he died in a hunting accident before Aleksandr was born. After his father died, the Soviet government only allowed menial employment to his mother, so his family lived in relative poverty.

Other than that, Aleksandr’s childhood was relatively normal. He was a member of the Pioneers, the Soviet equivalent to Boy Scouts, and later joined the Communist Youth League. At the age of nine he decided he wanted to be a writer, and before he was eighteen he decided that he was going to write a novel about the Russian Revolution.


Famous Russian dissident-novelist warns against U.S.-sponsored “democratic” revolution
by Justin Raimondo

Terrorists chose Russia’s “National Day” – the celebration of Russia’s rebirth in the ashes of the Soviet Union – to strike once again, as they did at Beslan. As the passenger train coming from Grozny, capital of war-torn Chechnya, approached the village of Uzunova, 90 miles south of Moscow, a remote-controlled explosive device derailed the locomotive and five passenger cars, injuring at least 15 people. Although a technical malfunction was suspected at first, further investigation showed that an explosion had occurred under the fender of the locomotive. The Russian and Chechen governments immediately pointed out the obvious: it had to be a terrorist attack, the first major one since the beginning of this year.

That this augurs the beginning of a new round of attacks on Vladimir Putin’s Russia – and not only by Chechen separatists and other al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups – is a prediction hardly fraught with risk. A lot of people have it in for Holy Mother Russia, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn pointed out the other day in a rare television interview, and the Chechens are the least of it.

The Russian novelist and famous dissident has made almost no public appearances since returning to his homeland in 1994, and his privacy is jealously guarded. That is why his return to public life – in an interview on the Rossiya (channel 2) television station, generally regarded as pro-Putin – has attracted such attention. For Solzhenitsyn to come out of his cocoon, a sort of self-imposed internal exile in which he has been contemptuously silent on the subject of politics, it must be important, and, as it turns out, Solzhenitsyn is worried about the survival of the Russian nation. Russia, he says, could face a Ukrainian-style uprising financed by foreign interests:

An Orange Revolution may take place if tensions between the public and the authorities flare up and money begins flowing to the opposition.

He didn’t say, at least in the excerpts I saw, where the money would be flowing from, but – I ask you – where else would it come from except Washington, D.C.? The U.S. government has brokered a whole series of color-coded “revolutions,” from Georgia to Ukraine, in Kyrgyzstan and now in Belarus, and it makes sense that they will ultimately home in on the object of their determined encirclement: Putin’s Russia.

Solzhenitsyn agreed with his interlocutor that Russia has freedom of expression, but these are only “signs.” “One sign does not mean democracy.” Western accusations that Russia is “backsliding” into authoritarianism – a staple of the neoconservatives these days – have to be put in context:

‘It is often said that democracy is being taken away from us and that there is a threat to our democracy. What democracy is threatened? Power of the people? We don’t have it,’ he told Rossiya, the state-run channel. ‘We have nothing that resembles democracy. We are trying to build democracy without self-governance. Before anything, we must begin to build a system so that the people can manage their own destinies.’

Local government is the key to understanding how the liberalization of Russian society is going to proceed, he averred:

Democracy cannot be imposed from above, by clever laws or wise politicians. It must not be forced [on people] like a cap. Democracy can only grow upwards, like a plant. Democracy must begin at the local level, within the local self-government.

Nor can it be exported at gunpoint:

“‘Democracy is not worth a brass farthing if it is being installed by bayonets.’ Taking clear aim at Washington, he said that over a decade ago the U.S. ‘launched an absurd project to impose democracy all over the world.’

A project, one might add, that may have been started by Bill Clinton, but is now being played out with a vengeance in the killing fields of Iraq.

“The U.S. has a strange idea of democracy,” continued Solzhenitsyn. “They first interfered with the Bosnian situation, bombed Yugoslavia, then Afghanistan, and then Iraq. Who is next? Perhaps Iran?”

Perhaps Russia is next. Solzhenitsyn, at any rate, is right: Russia is in our crosshairs, and the money is already pouring in. The buildup has been going on for quite some time, and the American agenda could not be clearer: after Belarus, Russia itself is next to be fitted for the Ukrainian template. However, the Americans also have a very strange idea of just how to go about this.

One has to wonder why, for example, U.S. government officials would try to make a hero out of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who stole more than 20 Enrons laid head to toe? Here is a man who created a vast fortune through his political connections with the old Soviet ruling class, and is rightly reviled for it by Solzhenitsyn – and most Russians – yet he is lionized by American officials. Is this how we think we are going to provoke a revolution in favor of “freedom” in the former Soviet Union? It’s enough to make anyone wonder exactly what is it we’re trying to provoke.

Another odd cause that has attracted a lot of American support is that of the Chechen terrorists trying to overthrow the duly elected pro-Russian government of Chechnya: this is the ideological equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, where the convergence of al-Qaeda and the Project for a New American Century is startling, to say the least. The radical Islamists committed to jihad against Moscow, who seek to carve a Central Asian “caliphate” out of the remnants of the Russian “near abroad,” have no greater or more influential champions than the neoconservatives, who have banded together in an organization known as the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC).

The ACPC valorizes the terroristic Chechen “resistance” the way some Western leftists glorify the Iraqi insurgents: even after Beslan, their line was that we need “peace through understanding” in Chechnya. Putin, in their view, is a villain. The ACPC sports dozens of neoconservative luminaries in its ranks, including Eliot Cohen, Midge Decter, Larry Diamond, Norman Podhoretz, Morton Abramowitz, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Bill Kristol, Max Kampelman, Joshua Muravchik, Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney: in short, practically anyone who’s anyone in the neoconservative network, with a few Democrats, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, thrown in to spice up the goulash.

The crowd that loudly lauds Bush for his tough stance against “terrorism” wants Putin to negotiate with terrorists intent on attacking Russia’s cities. The same people who lose no opportunity to howl that we must never forget 9/11 want the Russians to forget Beslan. It’s uncanny – and inexplicable. Unless, of course, the idea is not to democratize Russia, but to destabilize it.

Solzhenitsyn said, “The U.S. must understand that democracy cannot be introduced by force, by the army,” but force can introduce a crisis into Russian society – one that would-be “Orange Revolutionaries” would find very useful. In seeking to pull off a “democratic” revolution in Russia against Putin and his fellow Slavophiles, such as Solzhenitsyn, the U.S. has no need to utilize its own armed forces when there are so many other willing substitutes already on the scene.

An alliance of Chechen “freedom fighters” and Western “human rights” organizations keep the pressure on Putin, as terrorist bombs explode on trains and even Russia’s cities are once again the prey of mysterious bombers, until finally we have “regime-change” in – how’s that for a scenario? – Russia. You don’t need the U.S. military to pull that off. You only need an army of propagandists and the willing suspension of disbelief on the part of our own media, which goes along with the neoconservative narrative that demonizes Putin – and Solzhenitsyn – and characterizes Russian nationalism – indeed, all nationalism, except the American brand – as incipient fascism.

What is interesting is that Russian nationalism, unlike the resurgent American variety, is not expansionist and, on the contrary, is passionately introspective. As Solzhenitsyn, the quintessential Russian nationalist – a kind of latter-day Dostoevsky – put it in his interview:

“When commenting on the CIS situation, he said it was even more complicated than in Russia. He also said, ‘it is not Russia’s business to foster CIS countries.’ ‘We [should] be the best to set an example. We need to cure ourselves first.'”

There is a maxim that needs to be engraved in the memory of each and every American policymaker and politician, every policy wonk with delusions of grandeur who thinks he can usher in the “end of history,” every laptop bombardier with a “blog” and an unending stream of opinions, all of them involving warfare and the taking of human life in the name of a great “ideal.”

We need to cure ourselves first.

How one wishes American conservatives would take their cues from their Russian counterpart, and stop glorifying a foreign policy of global meddling and social engineering. Sadly, they have caught the Jacobin virus, and are sickening themselves and the nation with it. The symptoms of this revolutionary contagion are that “fire in the mind” as described by George W. Bush in his inaugural address. It is a fever, a form of madness that makes the victim delusional: he begins to believe in his own omnipotence. If we can cure ourselves of that, and return to a condition where we can at least begin to see reality in the cool light of reason, half the battle is won.



MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a writer and winner of the Nobel Prize, is critical of the political system in Russia and the CIS, and the US policy.

In his first interview in the past three years with the Vesti Nedeli TV program on Russia’s Channel Two, Solzhenitsyn, 88, said Russia was not a democratic country yet.

“We have had no democracy. I said it many times that we have nothing remotely similar to democracy,” he said.

According to Solzhenitsyn, “many speakers play with the word ‘democracy’ in our country, declining it and hastily bringing to light its separate features, instead of democracy itself.” He said there is freedom of expression and the press in Russia, “but it is only one of democratic signs,” said Solzhenitsyn. “One sign does not mean democracy,” the writer said.

He said the key to democratic success in Western countries was organizing the work of local self-government. “We are so impressed with Western democracies because their local self-government is very efficient,” said Solzhenitsyn.

He stressed that “democracy cannot be imposed from above, by clever laws or wise politicians.”

“It [democracy] must not be forced [upon people] like a cap. Democracy can only grow upwards, like a plant. Democracy must begin at the local level, within the local self-government. Only then can it develop further,” said the writer.

In this context, Solzhenitsyn slammed the US policy, saying that over ten years ago, the US “launched an absurd project to impose democracy all over the world.” “The US has a strange idea of democracy – they first interfered with the Bosnian situation, bombed Yugoslavia, then Afghanistan, and then Iraq.” “Who is next, perhaps, Iran?” the writer wonders. “The US must understand that democracy cannot be introduced by force, by the army,” he said.

According to Solzhenitsyn, instead of true democracy, Russia now has “a political class.” “It includes several hundred people who said – I am a professional politician and I will do politics,” said the writer.

Solzhenitsyn spoke against parliamentary elections using party lists and against parties in general. He said, “any party undermines individuality. It squeezes people into its program or its charter.”

When commenting on the CIS situation, he said it was even more complicated than in Russia. He also said, “it is not Russia’s business to foster CIS countries.” “We [should] be the best to set an example. We need to cure ourselves first,” said Solzhenitsyn.

Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1970. He became famous in the West after the release of his novels First Circle and Gulag Archipelago exposing Stalin’s purges. In 1984, he was forced to leave the Soviet Union. In August 1990, Solzhenitsyn retrieved his Soviet citizenship and returned to Russia in May 1994.

RIA Novosto Society,


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April 2024