Writing on Robert Amsterdam’s blog hero journalist Grigori Pasko takes the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to task for his shameful silence on so many issues of his day:
I recall how back when I was in the military-political college, I surreptitiously read «One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich», Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s forbidden tale about prisoners of the GULAG, hiding it from the company and battalion officers. At the college, they taught us how to be conduits of the ideals of the communist party in the armed forces. Solzhenitsyn’s story talked about how all around this party there was nothing but lies. And around the Soviet state – lies. I learned how to see these lies thanks, among others, to the works of Alexander Isaevich.
Then I experienced on myself all the «charms» of the Russian GULAG. One of those who allowed and allows the continuation of the existence of the GULAG – was and remains Vladimir Putin. All the stranger then was to me the almost friendly, problem-free and conflict-free, with only rare and insignificant criticism, relationship between the great writer and the not-great chekist and president.
Once I came to visit Alexander Isaevich. I wanted to speak with him about his attitude towards the spy-mania which had blossomed into full bloom in our country under Putin. The author’s wife, Natalia Dmitrievna, met me and said that Alexander Isaevich would not be able to meet with me. I asked her about his attitude towards the spy trials. She did not reply. And nowhere and not once did I hear the voice of the author speak out against these trials. I don’t know why he kept silent.
I express my deep sympathy to Natalia Dmitrievna. And for some reason I think that she will tell us about how Alexander Isaevich reacted to these or the other events in the country, while not making this reaction public.
In one of the last interviews for the television channel «Rossiya», Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that he considers that Russia has in many ways re-established its influence on the international arena, however its domestic spiritual-moral atmosphere is far from the ideal.
“In international relations, the influence of Russia is returned, the place of Russia in the world is returned. But internally, in our moral state, we are far from what one would like to be, as we organically need”, said Solzhenitsyn.
Probably, Alexander Isaevich was found under the impression of the Munich speech of Vladimir Putin – a speech aggressive in intonation, but nearly empty in content. By this speech the president, in essence, once again unleashed the cold war between Russia and the West. I will dare assert that the real authority of my country in the world, thanks to such figures as Putin, is very low. Western leaders hush up the problems in my country and exaggerate the role of Russia only because their countries need Russian oil and gas.
Surely Solzhenitsyn must have seen and known all this. But if he did see and know, then why did he keep silent?
Answering a question of the television channel as to whether he continues as before to consider “preservation of the people” to be the sole national idea acceptable today, Solzhenitsyn underscored that this is “not so much as the sole, as an accessible” idea.
In his opinion, society has not yet arrived at a long-term national idea. “When they started getting all worked up by a national idea, it was nauseating. Where are you going, why are you going there. You haven’t matured enough for it”, said Solzhenitsyn.
It is possible that the hysteria with respect to the search for a «national idea» stopped in the country thanks to Alexander Isaevich. Because some had already reached agreement to the point where the FSB – this is the intellectual heritage of the Russian people and its neo-nobility.
These «neo-nobles» could easily have reached agreement to the point where the «national idea» of the country would have become Khrushchev’s phrase «We’ll show ’em all!» Personally, I don’t think there’s anything much to show ’em. Besides oil and gas, naturally.
It is known that the writer continued working on the preparation for publication of 30 volumes of his works. Even «The GULAG Archipelago», which has not been republished in the last 16 years, recently came out in a new edition. The book is necessary and important even now, when the former GULAG once again is making its presence felt.
It is noteworthy that the writer also did not once express himself about the state of today’s penitentiary system of Russia, which is little better than the former GULAG, the presence in it of political prisoners and KGB methods. Why? Perhaps we may still find out about this later…
Or we may now never find out…