Tag: Solzhenitsyn

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Courage


“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature, which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

How much of our government today is marked by a lack of courage? We see it most clearly in the response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The states, counties, and cities whose leaders are most frightened are the ones maintaining the lockdown longest. Especially the politicians who fear the electorate and mistrust the common sense of the average person.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at 100


Arrested three months before the defeat of Hitler’s Germany, his first reaction was like that of the millions he would later write about: “Me? What for?” A decorated captain of an artillery battery that had fought its way deep into East Prussia, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was at the time a committed Marxist-Leninist. He even fantasized he was being whisked to a meeting with Stalin. In fact, military censors had read his letter exchanges with a boyhood friend, also in the army, in which they criticized Stalin (“the mustachioed one”) for having deviated from the path laid down by Lenin.

It was more than enough to earn Solzhenitsyn a sentence of eight years imprisonment in the labor camps, to be followed by “perpetual exile.” He served all eight years in various camps, plus three years exiled to distant Kazakhstan, where he worked as a teacher of high school mathematics before his sentence was annulled in 1956 in the wake of Khrushchev’s “de-Stalinization.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #12: Comedy & Communism


The new Middlebrow podcast deals with comedy and communism, spurred by the recent movie The Death of Stalin, which Flagg Taylor (@FlaggTaylor) and I both wanted to succeed. Unfortunately, it is a failure. More on this on the podcast, as well as some talk about Milan Kundera, Ilf and Petrov, Solzhenitsyn and Leo Strauss, Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Benda, an English-translation book of whose essays Flagg has just edited, The Long Night of The Watchman. Flagg is also the co-editor, with our friend Carl Scott, of Totalitarianism on Screen, about the great movie The Lives of Others (won the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture in 2006), which dealt with the secret police in Communist East Germany, and which we discussed on the podcast last year. So now we match our conversation on tragedy and communism with one on comedy. Listen, share, and give us a rating/review!


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. On Finishing The Gulag Archipelago


solzhenitsyn 1I’ve been threatening to write a longish post on Alexander Solzhenitsyn (I’ve been reading books by him and about him for a year). And I still plan to do so.

But I could not help but share a couple of brief thoughts now. Last night, I finished Volume 3 of The Gulag Archipelago. It has been, at the same time, one of the most horrifying and edifying experiences of my life.