Voices from Russia

Monday, 4 August 2008

He Saw the World in Absolutes: A Giant Criticised by Pygmies

Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), the greatest man of the 20th century

I have been reading Western obituaries of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and their obtuseness is shocking in the extreme. Every last one of them misses the point of the life, writing, intellectual orientation, and spirit of Aleksandr Isaevich. All of them admit that he was the greatest writer of the 20th century, but, all of them also excoriate him as a crank and eccentric. Was he, indeed? I submit that the Western commentators miss the point, and miss it deliberately, for if they were to attend to it, it would destroy their hedonistic and self-centred worlds.

Aleksandr Isaevich was uncompromisingly attuned to the struggle of good and evil, both on the battleground of the human soul and the arena of international relations. Modern journalists are mostly a deeply-compromised lot, committed to the propagation of a nihilistic “anything goes” philosophy. Individual “freedom” is the greatest good, and unrestricted license is seen as the greatest “liberty”. Aleksandr Isaevich stood as firm against hedonism in the West as he stood against communism in the East. No doubt, he recognised the common source of these two movements in that sorry intellectual movement known as the “Enlightenment”.

That is, he stood for the recognition of good and evil in all movements, not merely in relations towards communism. This is why he is the greatest figure of the 20th century. The West thought that he would support them mindlessly after his exile, as so many other Eastern refugees did, but, Aleksandr Isaevich saw the evil little worm at the heart of the secularist apple, and he refused to take a bite. This is why Solzhenitsyn is going to be so important to future generations.

He was not merely a critic of Marxist-Leninism, although he was certainly that. He was a clear-eyed observer of the New Dark Ages that opened in 1914, and are not completely finished at present. He saw the hypocrisies of both sides (the current “right/left” dichotomy), he denounced both. Nevertheless, many do not understand that he was not merely a critic, for that would not have given him the stature that he undoubtedly had, has, and shall have. Aleksandr Isaevich was a prophet, one who saw the equivalence of the evil of Vladimir Lenin and Donald Trump, and saw that both were corrosive to the human soul. Both need to be put into the dustbin of history for mankind to advance.

The New Dark Ages (a term that Aleksandr Isaevich coined) shall not be over until secularism is either destroyed or is triumphant. Marxist secularism in the East fell of its own inner contradictions. Shall American secularism (founded on the same Enlightenment hubris as Marxism) fall for the same reason? Just as the Russian people were distinct from the Marxist ideology, so, too, the American people are distinct from the Constitutionalist ideology. Both peoples were better than the ideas driving their states.

Aleksandr Isaevich saw the end of Marxism in his lifetime; I do not think that we shall see the end of secularism in ours. There are too many who profit from it. However, we must ask the questions that Aleksandr Isaevich would ask. Is it good? Is it evil? Does it tend to God? Does it tend to self-worship?

We should never forget that Aleksandr Isaevich stressed that the frontline in this war does not run between people, it runs in the midst of every human soul. For this observation alone, he deserves respect and honour from us. As for the Western journalists… I would say that the less we say of such sorts, the better.

Vara Drezhlo

Monday 4 August 2008

Albany NY


President Medvedev says that the Death of Solzhenitsyn is an Irreplaceable Loss to Russia

President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ), with his wife Svetlana Medvedeva (1965- )

President Dmitri Medvedev expressed his condolences to the family and friends of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who passed away in the early hours of Monday in his 90th year. Mr Medvedev stated that he believed that Solzhenitsyn was one of the greatest writers and humanists of the 20th century, the press service of the Kremlin reported. “The death of this great man, one of the greatest thinkers, writers, and humanists of the 20th century, is an irreplaceable loss to Russia and the entire world. Aleksandr Isaevich devoted his entire life to the motherland. He served her as a true citizen and patriot, and his heart ached over the fate of the Russian people and the true state of the country”, Mr Medvedev’s telegram of condolences stated.

The president noted that the highest concern of Solzhenitsyn was the preservation of the moral and spiritual ideals of Russia. “He considered them as the most important props of the state and society and fought for their preservation. The idea of the enrichment of the Russian people is forever connected with his name. His studies of our national history made an enormous contribution to the development of world culture and influenced the personal development of millions of people. His name is forever connected with the fate of Russia. The memory of Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn shall always be in our hearts”, the telegram said.

The ceremony of farewell (lying in state) of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn shall take place on Tuesday starting at 11.00 Moscow time (07.00 GMT, 03.00 EDT) at the Moscow headquarters of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The funeral and burial are scheduled for Wednesday at the Donskoy Monastery cemetery in Moscow.

4 August 2008



The Village of Shirayevo in Samara oblast shall celebrate the Birthday of Ilya Repin

A Self-Portrait of Ilya Repin (1878).

The press service of the Samara oblast informed RIA-Novosti that the village of Shirayevo shall celebrate the birthday of the great Russian painter Ilya Repin (1844-1930) on Tuesday. Many local residents and tourists are expected to attend the festivities. “Per local tradition, folk-art ensembles shall celebrate the 164th anniversary of the birth of Ilya Repin. In addition, there shall be an exhibition-sale of folk crafts and master classes. During the summer, tourists can visit the home of Ilya Repin, which is now a museum”, the release stated. The spokesman stated that it became a tradition in the village to note the birthday of the artist on 5 August starting in 1994. Ilya Repin came to the village of Shirayevo in the summer of 1870, when he was 26-years-old. It was here on the shores of the Volga that he found the models for his future famous painting Volga Barge Haulers (Burlaki na Volge, 1879).

5 August 2008

Yelena Bubnova



Aleksandr Kalyagin says that Solzhenitsyn was the Conscience of the Nation

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), arguably, not only the greatest Russian of the 20th century, but, the greatest human being to live on the planet during the New Dark Ages of the 20th Century

“There was a legacy left to us by the life of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a great author, a great citizen, and a great human being, a man who was the conscience of the nation, who became a moral compass for millions, many of whom had not read even one of his books”, Aleksandr Kalyagin, Honoured Artist of Russia, said in an interview with RIA-Novosti. “Solzhenitsyn was the personification of our nation’s intensity, of the moral power of the Russian people. I remember well the uproar that the publication of his novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich caused in society. It was a revelation that absolutely inverted our way of thinking. It became a lesson for most of us, it changed all of us. Truly, it was a revolution in the point of view of the entire society. No other statement caused such a forceful reaction on the public consciousness as this literary masterpiece did”.

Mr Kalyagin continued, “We read Solzhenitsyn in secret, we considered him to be a prophet who was driven from the motherland. After his return to Russia, Aleksandr Isaevich continued to be a solitary searcher for truth, an embodiment of moral idealism, who found us wanting. I am convinced that we must master his lessons to learn the truth”. He went on to say, “Solzhenitsyn was, is, and forever shall remain in the memory of the people as a great writer and a great citizen of Russia, who knew how to change and to determine the movement of history. We should bow in respect before him. I wish to express my most sincere condolences to Natalia Dmitrievna and to the sons of Aleksandr Isaevich. I wish you courage and patience in your trials. We all share your enormous grief. A glorious memory to Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn unto the ages of ages”, Mr Kalyagin concluded.

4 August 2008



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