Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Solzhenitsyn and history

Everyone by now is familiar with the work of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. But for decades we, children in the Soviet Union, were growing up not having the opportunity to even know about him, or even have a chance to get his printed work. Then in the early 90s his famous 'Archipelago Gulag' was published and shook the conscience of many in our former country. The West in contrast had long been familiar with his work.

Today Vladimyr Putin has made a call to encourage more coverage of Solzhenitsyn's work in schools for children. This is highly complimentary on part of Putin and dispels many attacks by opponents. He reportedly said, "это человек, который вместе с народом пережил великую трагедию и репрессии, своей жизнью и работой А.Солженицын сделал обществу значимую прививку против любых видов тирании". ("this is a man who lived through a great tragedy and repression along with his nation and whose life and work has significantly inoculated the society against all types of oppressions." translated by NM). here

Enough said. If only this acknowledgement came a few decades earlier...

The painting above, Burlaki, is by Ilya Repin, 1873. It does give a very good idea of the reality behind Archipelago Gulag even though it reflects a different historic time period. I can imagine how this painting could have inspired Solzhenitsyn...

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