Monday, August 04, 2008

The Lesson of Solzhenitsyn

One point to remember in assessing the life and legacy of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: a critic of a totalitarian system is not ipso facto a supporter of American-style liberalism. Nor, in seeking to destroy the old system, will such a person automatically endorse everything that the successor regime does. Solzhenitsyn was a bold and prophetic critic to the evils of the Soviet system; he was horrified by what occurred in post-Soviet, 1990's "free" Russia.

Solzhenitsyn's trajectory is important to keep in mind as we expect and wait for Iranian and Chinese versions; critics of their own systems will not mean that they uncritically endorse us.

On a passing note--the general lack of interest in Solzhenitsyn among the younger, post-Soviet generations in Russia ... is the era of the "intellectual" come to an end? In conditions of relative freedom, certainly when compared against the scope of Russian history, is the need for the poet and writer diminished, when individuals are now much freer to chart their own destinies?

Cannot see much of "voluntary self-restraint" in modern-day Russia...
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