re: Solzhenitsyn

Grover Furr (
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 19:45:36 -0400

Drieux, whom I respect for his humor and his seriousness, mentioned
Solzhenitsyn. A word or two:

S.'s most 'accurate' book is 'Ivan Denisovich', I think. It's
pure fiction, but describes life in a labor camp. The rest of his
stuff, especially the Gulag Archipelago, are rumors, especially old
rumors. There are little hints and tidbits throughout that one or two
Sovietologist acquaintances thought were suggestive. Basically, all
the Sovietologists I have ever spoken to think the stuff is worthless.
And that's my view as well. ANY literate reader who can tell what is
good evidence from what is not will recognize that there is no
evidence here.

S. was lionized in the West and especially in the US. I remember
that the AFL-CIO gave him a prize in the early '70s -- this guy who is
a great racist (anti-semite, see below) and elitist, lover of the Tsar
and of Russian imperialism! It said volumes about the AFL-CIO.

S's ex-wife (Soviet) wrote a book, available in English, in which
she pointed out what a first-class schmuck the guy is personally. This
has no bearing on the validity of his writings (see above), but is
interesting for those who admire his "principles."

There was a long-time debate among anti-communist Jewish Soviet
emigres about S's anti-semitism. Much of this was published in
Russian-language journals published in Israel; I have some of it. It
was summarized in some articles in _Slavic Review_ by American
anti-communist "champions" of Solzhenitsyn, who thought that tarring
S. with the brush of anti-semitism would ruin his usefulness as a
stick to beat the Soviets with. Very revealing about the uses of
history in the Cold War.

Grover Furr