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RIP Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008

The BBC has reported that the writer has died.

He was a great writer, better in Russian than in translation, but he was not the man that most people in the West assumed. He said many times that democracy and liberal ideals were corrupting, and he didn’t approve of them.

The Wikipedia article on Александр Исаевич Солженицын [OK, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn] cover some of it but his neighbors in Vermont would be more enlightening as to what a kvetch and major PITA he was as a human being.  His neighbors in Russia agreed with those in Vermont within a short time of his return after listening to his harangues.

He deserved his Nobel and his renown as a writer, for such works as:

Один день Ивана Денисовича [One Day of Ivan Denisovich]
Архипелаг ГУЛАГ [Archipelago GULag]
Раковый корпус [Cancer Ward]
В круге первом [In the First Circle]
Красное колесо [Red Wheel]

The published titles in English may be slightly different, but I didn’t read them in English.


1 Badtux { 08.04.08 at 1:51 am }

Am I recalling correctly that he was a Royalist?

– Badtux the Fuzzy-recollection Penguin

2 Bryan { 08.04.08 at 3:42 pm }

He became a born again Eastern Orthodox true believer, which certainly makes him part of the cult that doesn’t want the world know what a hopeless incompetent Nicholas II was.

He didn’t believe that people knew what was “good for them” and needed to be led by an aristocracy of correct thinking people, like himself.

He was a Russian nationalist & Pan-Slavist who was neither Russian nor Slavic.

His father was a Kuban Cossack, Imperial Army officer, and large landowner before the Revolution. His mother was also from the Caucasus. He was born in “Sour Water” [the literal meaning of Kislovodsk] and was sour most of his life.

He was a great writer, but, in a long tradition of Russian literature, not exactly a likable individual. Many other dissidents felt that he acted as if he was the only one ever sent to the camps that mattered.

He also held extremely controversial views on the 1930 starvation in the Ukraine, and the position of Jews in Russia.