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samedi, 17 octobre 2020

Littérature: Alexandre Soljenitsyne, une vie de dissidence

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Littérature: Alexandre Soljenitsyne, une vie de dissidence

 
Nous recevons le professeur agrégé d'histoire et passionné de littérature russe, Eric Picard, qui revient pour nous sur la vie dissidente et l’œuvre imposante d'Alexandre Soljenitsyne (1918-2008), prix Nobel de littérature en 1970.
 
 
 
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Merci de nous suivre et de nous soutenir !
 
Émission réalisée par François-Xavier Consoli
 
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dimanche, 06 septembre 2020

Stolypin vs. Bogrov: Themes of Ethnonationalism in Solzhenitsyn’s August 1914

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Stolypin vs. Bogrov:
Themes of Ethnonationalism in Solzhenitsyn’s August 1914

The white man stood tall and proud. He was handsome and confident, and was well-dressed in his white summer-weight frock coat. Regal, although not quite the Tsar. As Prime Minister, he was the next best thing. Despite this, Pyotr Stolypin had remarkable little security around him when he attended a play at the Kyiv Opera House on September 14th, 1911. His relationship with the Tsar had soured a bit recently due to his insistence that the local governments of the western provinces (called zemstvos) be dominated by the Russian people and not the influential Polish landowners. He had also alienated the Empress over his disapproval of her great friend Rasputin.

51VB0BQ6ZCL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgStill, he was secure in his wildly successful record as prime minister. In the Russia he loved, the economy was strong, people were working, and the threat of revolution which had haunted the Romanovs for decades had finally subsided. War was also no longer on the horizon. Recently, he had convinced the Tsar not to mobilize against Austria-Hungary over a pesky affair in the Balkans. Foreign policy was so easy for Stolypin; he never understood why people struggled with it. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn tells us in the expanded version of August 1914:

He was in his prime and at the height of his powers and he infused the whole administration with his own youthful vigor. He hid nothing, stood where all Russia could see him, and left no dark patches where slander might flourish. He lived up to his name, the pillar (stolp) of the Russian state. He became the hub of Russian life as no Tsar had ever been.

Throughout his and the Tsar’s stay in Kyiv in mid-September, there had been whispered rumors of conspirators and assassination. But Stolypin had paid it little mind. Leftists and anarchists had tried to murder him several times before, and he had survived. And what good would a bulletproof vest be against a bomb, anyway?

The Jew Bogrov, on the other hand, had had his eye on Stolypin for a long time. He was well-dressed and pretentious in his pince-nez. He came from a well-off family, but had been steeped in revolution from an early age. He had a powerful, disciplined, and calculating mind, yet he was “weak and sickly in appearance,” Solzhenitsyn tells us. He had “puny arms, and a stoop, as though his growth had been stunted.” He knew the Tsar was inconsequential. He knew Stolypin was “the kingpin of the regime.” If anyone in the Russian government should be targeted for assassination in the name of all the non-Russian people in the Empire — especially the Jews! — it would be him.

Despite having done nothing directly against the Jews, Stolypin was the enemy of the Jews because he

. . .boosted Russian national interests too blatantly and too insistently — the Russianness of the Duma as a representative body, the Russianness of the state. He was trying to build, not a country in which all were free, but a nationalist monarchy. So that the future of the Jews in Russia was not effected by his goodwill toward them. The development of the country along Stolypin’s lines promised no golden age for the Jews.

Bogrov remarked to himself how easy it had all been. Several years as a double agent working for the blockheads at the Okhrana, feeding them lies, feeding them hopes, feeding them some of the more surly and self-destructive elements of the Revolution from time to time. They trusted him, the idiots. And so, when he invented rumors regarding Stolypin’s assassination during the Tsar’s upcoming visit to Kyiv in September, these complacent Okhrana fools had asked Bogrov to be in Kyiv as well — in case he can help locate the conspirators. Help locate the conspirators! He was the conspirator. They even gave him a ticket to the play that Stolypin was going to attend! It was almost as if they wanted to give their empire away.

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Dmitri Bogrov

And when that fateful moment arrived, Bogrov did not hesitate. It was the decisive historical moment for which he was born. He pumped two bullets in Stolypin with his Browning revolver — one in the hand, and one in the chest. The great man watched his assassin’s black back “wriggling away up the aisle” like a speedy insect. He died three days later. For Solzhenitsyn, this was nothing less than catastrophe, effectively the first eddies in a swirl of nihilism, war, and death that soon would consume Europe. With the death of Stolypin came the death of Russian nationalism, and the resulting rejuvenation of dangerous and destructive ideologies such as imperialism, globalism, and pan-Slavism, all of which could be said to have contributed to the disaster that was the First World War.

A fatal pistol shot was no new event in Russian history.

But there was never one so fraught with consequences — for the whole of the twentieth century.

Neither at that moment nor later did the Tsar go down to the wounded man.

Didn’t come to him. Didn’t come near him.

But what those bullets had slain was the dynasty.

They were the opening shots of the fusillade at Yekaterinburg.

*  *  *

Themes of nationalism appear often in the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, especially in his essays, speeches, and histories. It’s a subject the man clearly thought deeply about. But in his fiction, nationalist themes become a bit more obscure — as they should. Themes in fiction (especially political themes) should never be as explicit than the more immediate fictive elements such as character, plot, and conflict. These are what readers crave when they are being told a story. August 1914, the first work in Solzhenitsyn’s Red Wheel epic, however, makes themes of nationalism more explicit. . . more so than any other of his novels. Then again, August 1914 isn’t really a novel. It’s a novelization of history, the admixture of pure fiction and hard documentary. It almost requires that one have an advanced knowledge of the subject matter before embarking upon its story — and to have a concern about nationalism.

In chapter one, young Isaaki Lazhenitsyn, a farm boy from Sablinskaya, boards a train. He had lied to his family about having to return to university a few weeks early when in reality he was preparing to enlist. The war was hardly three weeks old, and already there were reports of Russian and Serbian victories. At the train station, Isaaki by chance meets Varya, an old high school friend who once harbored a crush on him. Thrilled to see him, Varya proposes they spend some time together and then asks where he’s headed. A little embarrassed, he admits that he’s on his way to Moscow to volunteer.

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Varya is horrified. This is not the progressive, pacifistic, idealistic youth she knew. They had studied all the literature and ideas of the intelligentsia together. “A fine thing!” she thinks, “Surrendering to vulgar patriotic feeling, betraying all his principles.” She hurls argument and argument at him against going to war, and Isaaki’s only response is, “I feel sorry for Russia.”

In chapter four, young Ksenia Tomchak can barely contain her embarrassment of Russia. Despite being raised on a prosperous Ukrainian farm, she pines for the stylish life in Petersburg. She longs to dance like Isadora Duncan, and one August morning tries scheming with her brother Roman to abandon her university classes for the dancing life. The very idea of staying home and being a farmer like her father and ultimately marrying a Ukrainian peasant simply appalls her.

Later that morning, she’s receives a gentle scolding from her stepmother Alina. “Russia’s roots are here,” the older woman says.

It saddens me, Ksenia my dear, that everything here inspires either shame or ridicule in you. There is, of course, a lot that is shameful and ridiculous, but still this is where you see how real Russian people live, where you can feel the bedrock under the soil. The grain for our daily bread is grown here, not in Petersburg. You even find the church fast days superfluous. But fasting helps people to grow spiritually.

In chapter twenty-one, two officers meet during a lull in battle. General Nechvolodov, a traditionalist and monarchist in his fifties, remarks to himself how he had taken command of the very regiment that had put down the 1905 uprising in Moscow. This regiment had been the “sole prop of the throne,” according to Solzhenitsyn, and here he was discussing the throne with the younger and quite thoughtful Colonel Smyslovsky. Where Smyslovsky questions the war in the vast cosmological scheme of things, Nechvolodov tells him that he “can’t look beyond Russia.”

“You know, a lot of us don’t understand even Russia,” Smyslovsky argues. “Nineteen out of twenty don’t understand what ‘fatherland’ means. Our soldiers fight only for their religion and for their Tsar — that’s what holds the army together.”

“It’s all the more important that the idea of the fatherland should be cherished in every heart,” the older man responds.

Smyslovsky is aware that Nechvolodov had written a book entitled Tales of the Russian, a popular work of middling quality meant to inspire patriotism in the Russian public. He was afraid that the general would start boring him by quoting from his own work. Despite this, and his sense of greater sophistication, Smyslovsky appreciated the old man. “Alexei Smyslovsky himself had outgrown both the Tsar and religion, but the fatherland was something he understood very well.”

Later, in chapter fifty-four, Solzhenitsyn reveals what a lonely figure Nechvolodov really is:

He did not feel that Russian history was something separate from his army service, but rather was a shared tradition outside of which his own present service as an officer would be meaningless. . . . If Nechvolodov’s devotion to the monarchy had seemed extravagant to the generals and alarmed them, it now incurred the ridicule of the educated, who held that Russian history could only arouse derision and disgust — if, of course, it could be said ever to have existed.

In a century, things have not changed for nationalists of all stripes, except that perhaps the globalist pressure for them to completely disavow their own history, inheritance, and identity has only gotten worse. Solzhenitsyn perceived this trend clearly and presented it in its own historical context within the pages of August 1914.

*  *  *

220px-StolypinCrop.JPGWhen Solzhenitsyn first published August 1914 in 1971, he hadn’t included the Stolypin and Bogrov chapters. When he did, slightly more than a decade later — after having gained access to Western libraries during his exile from the Soviet Union — he added ten chapters and nearly 200 pages, much of which was in small type and dealt with the minutiae of Stolypin’s interactions with the Duma. If Solzhenitsyn’s nationalism and his Judeo-skepticism had been in any doubt before he published the expanded version of August 1914, this was the work that began to remove it.

He had dared to use anti-Semitic stereotypes to depict Bogrov. Solzhenitsyn’s Bogrov was a scheming, two-faced, lying manipulator. He constantly thought one thing and said another. Bogrov was highly intelligent but soulless, egomaniacal, and neurotic. “He was racked by a feeling of spiritual unfulfillment, an indefinable anxiety,” Solzhenitsyn tells us. “He loved himself. And he despised himself.” He was physically weak and averse to all forms of labor. He was crooked and raspy, and slack and sickly. He was rootless and consumed by his own hatred of the Other — in his case, the Russians. There was nothing the Russians could do besides cede power to the Jews that would satisfy him. He lusted after revenge as if it were a whore. He was a Jew who wasn’t religiously Jewish but whose throbbing racial identity achieved primacy in his fevered mind. He could not bear the Russians being in control of Russia and in control of his people — and it did not matter how benign that control actually was. All slights in the past against Jews were remembered, and kept close, and sharpened like weapons. All slights by Jews against Russians never even entered his mind.

When the expanded August 1914 was published in 1983, many Jews took exception to Solzhenitsyn’s depiction of Bogrov, claiming it was highly stereotypical. (And to be fair, there were some Jews who defended Solzhenitsyn to varying lengths.) Lost in this, however, was that Mordecai Bogrov was a Jew, he did assassinate Pyotr Stolypin, and he did act as a double agent with the Okhrana. Solzhenitsyn used whatever documentary evidence he could find to build a believable psychological composite of the assassin. As he describes in Book 1 of Between Two Millstones, shortly after arriving in America:

That summer I had brought with me the first stack of personal accounts that elderly Russians had sent me by way of the San Francisco newspaper Russkaya Zhien (Russian Life). An even larger stack had come to me from New York’s Novoye Russkoye Slovo (New Russian Word), and more personal accounts were arriving — all I had to do now was read them! Not to mention that more packages were coming over the ocean from Paris’s Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought).

It was as if all these elderly people, contemporaries of the Revolution, were handing Alya and me the baton of their struggle; and the personal account of every person impressed me as if I had met that person in those years.

Any less of the psychological intensity and fragility of Bogrov and we wouldn’t have a believable assassin. Solzhenitsyn puts us in the mind of an unstable yet competent killer. How else should he have portrayed him? Sane, law-abiding, and self-composed people do not assassinate world leaders. If Solzhenitsyn portrayed Bogrov as a villain, it’s because he was a villain, both in August 1914 and in history. Furthermore, Jews were highly overrepresented among Left-wing and anarchist radicals back then (as they continue to be). Here’s Solzhenitsyn describing Bogrov’s university milieu:

Choosing his party was the most important decision of a man’s life. Bogrov wobbled between the uncompromising Maximalists and the anarchists. Among the anarchists, some of them in their twenties, some not yet that old — Naum Tysh, the Grodetsky brothers, Saul Ashkenazy, Yankel Shteiner, Rosa No. 1 (Mikhelson), and Rosa No. 2. . .

Solzhenitsyn also drops names of other Jewish radicals Bogrov knew such as Yuda Grossman, Hanna Budyanskaya, and Ksenia Ternovets. So why is it outlandish for Solzhenitsyn to imply that it was no coincidence that a self-identifying Jewish radical murdered Stolypin when so many of the radicals of the time were self-identifying ethnic Jews? Should he have done something as dishonest as tacking negative Russian traits onto his “Bogrov” character in order to in order to ward off the philo-Semitic vengeance mob ahead of time?

51dMYSgZNNL._SX288_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgSolzhenitsyn’s critics also overlooked how Solzhenitsyn took a similar approach with his depiction of his near-psychotic Lenin in Lenin in Zurich [2]. Was that anti-Semitism as well? Yes, Lenin was a quarter Jewish, but Jewish complaints converged not around Solzhenitsyn’s positively revolting Lenin but around his treatment of the Jew Parvus (born Izrail Lazarevich Gelfand) as embodying every negative stereotype one can think of in a fat, sleazy, unscrupulous, Jewish financier. But with such a large proportion of radicals being Jewish, and with most racial and ethnic stereotypes being born from truth, one can respond to such complaints by quipping that if the shoe fits, then wear it.

Furthermore, did any Jewish critic of Solzhenitsyn complain when he penned the following paragraph about Kulyabko, the Russian Okhrana official whom Bogrov duped so easily?

Sleepy Kulyabko’s mind, however, was less active. The stupidity in Kulyabko’s face was not just an individual trait, it was characteristic of his type, perhaps of his race. He scratched and pulled his dressing gown around him. He had noticed nothing.

Bogrov refers to Kulyabko as a blockhead because he was a blockhead. Where Bogrov wriggles like an insect, Solzhenitsyn sees Kulyabko “waddling like a drake.” Does this make Solzhenitsyn anti-Russian? If anything, most of the Russian authority figures from the Tsar on down (excluding Stolypin) are either stupid, self-serving, weak, vain, or just plain lazy. Notably, the police chief Kurlov — the man in charge of security in Kyiv who once promoted Kulyabko well beyond his ability in the Okhrana — is portrayed as a detestably self-serving careerist. Solzhenitsyn spares nothing in exposing many of his fellow Russians for allowing the twin disasters of the First World War and the October Revolution to happen.

Did Solzhenitsyn’s Jewish critics even care? Perhaps they didn’t realize that in writing August 1914, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was holding up a mirror to his own people, just as he was doing to them.

*  *  *

In an ironic twist, Solzhenitsyn pursues themes of nationalism and ethnonationalism through his treatment of Jews and the Jewish Question in August 1914. Of course, Bogrov identifies as an ethnic Jew and believes that he is striking a righteous blow for his people in murdering Stolypin.

“Precisely because I am a Jew I can’t bear the knowledge that we are still living — if I may remind you — under the heavy hand of the Black Hundred leaders,” he tells a conspirator. He also knows that targeting Stolypin will not incite pogroms the way targeting the Tsar would — and ultimately he was right. Bogrov always acts as a member of a nation within a nation, who above all, wants no harm to befall Jews.

The Jews of Kyiv seemed to have shared this attitude:

Next day, Sunday, a rabbi was allowed in to see the condemned man. “Tell the Jews,” Bogrov said, “that I didn’t want to harm them. On the contrary, I was fighting for the benefit of the Jewish people.”

That was the one and only part of his testimony to remain unchanged.

The rabbi said reproachfully that Bogrov might have caused a pogrom. Bogrov replied, “A great people must not bow down to its oppressors!”

This statement also was widely reported in the press.

The obvious ethnocentrism of these Jews should not escape attention. After Stolypin was murdered, they did not mourn for Russia. They fretted only for themselves. Shortly after the assassination, the Kyiv rabbis appealed to the Russian authorities to protect them from impending pogroms. And this is exactly what the authorities did, posting thousands of soldiers in the Jewish quarter to make sure law and order was maintained. And it was. Meanwhile, “[m]any Jewish students in Kyiv went into mourning for Bogrov.”

aout-quatorze-241901-264-432.jpgAugust 1914 also contains one of the few wholly positive Jews in Solzhenitsyn’s fiction: Ilya Isakovich Arkhangorodsky. Based on a real-life benefactor of Solzhenitsyn’s mother, this character is a wealthy and well-respected engineer who embodies the conundrum of nationalism among racial minorities. To whom should the minority pledge its allegiance? To its nation or to its nation within a nation? The middle-aged Ilya Isakovich belongs in the former category. Late in the book, during the early days of the war, he entertains an engineer friend over lunch with his family. Included are his radical daughter Sonya and her friend Naum — both fervent believers in revolution.

The young people are ashamed of Ilya for having recently taken part in a demonstration of Jewish patriotism in the city of Rostov. The young Jews can barely contain their contempt for the old man. Here are the nauseating details:

The synagogue, which had a choir, was decorated with tricolors and a portrait of the Tsar; there were soldiers present and the service began with prayers for the victory of Russian arms. The rabbi’s speech was followed by one from the chief of police, “God Save the Tsar” was sung, then some twenty thousand Jews paraded through the streets with flags and placards bearing the words “Long live great Russia, one and undivided,” accompanied by a body of newly enlisted volunteers. They held a mass meeting by the statue of Alexander II, they sent greetings to the city police chief and a loyal telegram to the Tsar. . .

When asked to explain his obsequiousness towards the Russians, Arkhangorodsky explains that his interest is to build, not to tear down. He sees revolution as a “prolonged process of insane destruction” and wonders if the mills he has built will continue to grind under communist rule. He also sees the revolutionaries as privileged children who don’t know how to build anything and predicts that they will replace the Monarchy with something worse. But his reasons aren’t entirely practical.

The paths of history are more complicated than you would like them to be. The country you live in has fallen on evil times. So what is the right thing to do? Let it perish, and to hell with it? Or say: “I too want to help you. I belong to you?” Living in this country as you do, you must make up your mind and stick to your decision: do you, heart and soul, belong to it, or do you not?

Clearly, Arkhangorodsky is contemplating the issue of identity. He chooses a Russian identity because he allows his Jewish identity (which he never denies in August 1914) to carry little political weight. Beyond his family, his political loyalty is to the Tsar and the nation and people he represents. When Sonya takes him to task for the historic and ongoing oppression of Jews in the Russian Empire, he insists that Jews must “rise above it.” When Sonya accuses him of paying homage to the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds, he responds by referring to similar dangers presented by the Red Hundreds. In this sense, Arkhangorodsky is speaking not just like a true reactionary but also like a Russian patriot. He’s concerned for Russia and fears how both radical groups may one day tear it apart.

Neither Arkhangorodsky nor Solzhenitsyn offers any solution to the question of nationalism among minority peoples. But the implication is clear: nationalism is real, and ethnonationalism becomes extremely complicated when multiple ethnic or racial groups occupy the same country. A gentile nation with Jews such as Ilya Isakovich Arkhangorodsky can prosper greatly. Sadly, however, his daughter Sonya and her friend Naum — and perhaps even Bogrov himself — were closer to the norm among Russian Jewry at that time. In only three years, this imbalance would play a major part in causing the great cataclysm which Arkhangorodsky had feared all along.

*  *  *

Of course, the central historical figure of the expanded August 1914, more than General Samsonov, more than Lenin, even more than Tsar Nicholas II, is Pyotr Stolypin. Students of the Right should read these Stolypin chapters carefully because Solzhenitsyn illustrates what is, in effect, not merely a splendid statesman but the ideal ethnonationalist.

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It was not a question of knowledge, or conscious thought, or intent; it was just a persistent and poignant feeling that the Russian land and the Russian peasant were inseparable, that both were inseparable from Russia, and that away from the land there was no Russia. He had a constant anxious awareness of all Russia as though it were there in his breast. Unsleeping compassion, a love that nothing could alter.

As such, Stolypin believed that the monarchy’s prime goal was to “raise the prosperity of the peasantry.” This alone made him remarkable among the chattering fortune and power-seekers within the Russian government. This also won him many enemies on the Left and the occasional opponents on the Right. So hated was he that he survived multiple assassination attempts — one of which, a bomb attack, crippled his daughter for life. But in the Duma, he could think quickly on his feet and often skewered and embarrassed his Left-wing adversaries. He was always prepared and he savored debates. Once, after an egregious insult from a Leftist member of the Duma, Stolypin challenged him to duel. Being cowardly in nature, the Leftist was forced back to the rostrum to publicly apologize to Stolypin.

Stolypin’s reforms centered mostly around neutralizing the socialist communes which were impeding the productivity and welfare of the peasant. Prior to his becoming prime minister, Progressives had persuaded the Tsar to enact various socialist reforms dealing with peasant use of farmland. While not standing in direct opposition to his autocrat, Stolypin understood that “egalitarian land use lowers agricultural standards and the general cultural level of the country at large.” He worked to revive the zemstvos, he removed all restrictions on peasant rights, he encouraged democratic reform on the district level, and he increased the autonomy of local governments — all of which undermined the control the communes had over the peasantry. Stolypin also toured the provinces and met with the people. He’d often dive into hostile crowds unarmed and win them over with reason and charisma. The result was a staggering increase in economic prosperity.

Stolypin also knew not to give into to the radical Left. Its representatives in the Duma, he knew, could not call for an end to terror because that would be an end to their careers. He would deal with them when he could, but when it came to law and order, he was unbending:

Stolypin told himself that the tougher he was to begin with, the fewer lives would be lost in the end. Excessive leniency at the beginning could only increase the number of victims later. He would use conciliatory methods where persuasion was possible. But the mad dogs would not be converted by persuasion — swift and relentless punishment was the only thing for them. What sort of government would it be (and where in the world would you find another?) that refused to defend the state order and forgave murderers and bomb-throwers?

41+HjZ8CkrL._AC_UL600_SR390,600_.jpgStolypin saw Christianity as being historically bound with Russia, and saw that adhering to Russia’s historical principles would be the antidote to rootless socialism. He saw patriotism as a necessary virtue. He was also a great defender of the Autocracy and its divine mandate. Most of all, he was a Russian who believed that ethnic Russians should control Russia — just as many white nationalists in the West today believe that whites should remain in control of their ancient homelands.

The State Duma must be Russian in spirit. The other nationalities which form part of Our Domain must have deputies in the Duma to represent their needs but they must not, and shall not, appear in numbers which give them the possibility of determining matters of purely Russian concern.

When the newspapers reported on Stolypin’s assassination, few defended him. The Left-wing media did everything it could not to celebrate his passing, and his deteriorated relationship with the Emperor and Empress made defending him difficult for Right-wing outlets as well. But one paper, New Times, saw Stolypin’s assassination most clearly according to Solzhenitsyn: it was nothing less than an assault on Russia, and it made Pyotr Stolypin a martyr for Russian nationalism.

Given that the waves of Leftist tyranny that followed Stolypin’s death still crash menacingly against the shores of traditional white homelands today, Pyotr Stolypin can now be seen today as a martyr for white nationalism as well.

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mardi, 19 mai 2020

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin in Zürich

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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin in Zürich

51tMhCAkhzL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgIn 1975, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn excised the several Lenin chapters from his massive and unfinished Red Wheel epic and compiled them into one volume entitled Lenin in Zürich. At the time, only one of these chapters had been published — in Knot I of the Red Wheel, known as August 1914 — while the remaining chapters would still have to languish in the author’s desk drawer for decades before appearing as part of The Red Wheel proper (November 1916 and March 1917, specifically). In order to save time and make an impression on his contemporaries, many of whom in the West still harbored misplaced sympathies for Lenin, Solzhenitsyn decided to share with the world his eye-opening and unforgettable treatment of the Soviet Revolutionary.

Solzhenitsyn’s approach, which was based on close study of Lenin’s speeches and letters as well as few accounts of his exile in Switzerland, combines third-person narration and first-person intimacy to deliver a nearly-Satanic depiction of Lenin at that time. Lenin is peevish, intolerant, tyrannical, ideologically murderous, and astoundingly petty. He’s also brilliant, dedicated, focused, and consumed by inhuman energy. It’s both fiction and not, and, as with the entire Red Wheel saga, demonstrates how Solzhenitsyn used the narrative arts to reconstruct and decipher historical events.

Lenin in Zürich’s enduring meaning for the Right lies not so much in Solzhenitsyn’s negative portrayal of Lenin, the memory of whom most Rightists would rather smash with a pedestal than hold up with one. Lenin’s ruthlessness and cruelty as a world leader is well documented. Rather, Solzhenitsyn cuts open, as only a novelist could, the repulsive psychological innards of the nation-killing Left, thereby defining the Right as its opposite in comparison.

We feel the strain, first off. Through his Nietzschean use of exclamation points and the constant stream of insults he hurls, unspoken, at his fellow socialists, Lenin never seems to enjoy being Lenin. He resembles Milton’s Lucifer cast down to Hell in Paradise Lost, only he’s stuck in Zurich, a place so peaceful, so prosperous, so bourgeois, so pleased with itself — in the middle of a world war, no less — that Lenin could just spit. Even the socialists there are incompetent, blockheaded vacillators. All Lenin can do is study the newspapers, plot unlikely ways in which the war could instigate communist revolutions, and fulminate. But mostly, he fulminates.

But worst of all, obscenest of all, Kautsky, with his false, hypocritical, sneaking devotion to principle, had started squawking like an old hen. What a vile trick: setting up a “socialist court” to try the Russian Bolsheviks, and ordering them to burn the all-powerful five-hundred-ruble notes! (Lenin had only to see a picture of that hoary-headed holy man in his goggling glasses, and he retched as though he had found himself swallowing a frog.)

August 1914 was a low point for the Bolsheviks abroad, apparently. They had few prospects and constantly bickered among themselves. That many on the Swiss Left were hampered by quaint notions of nationalism infuriated Lenin, but there was little he could do about it. After the failed Russian revolution in 1905, expectations were low — that is, until world war is declared. Solzhenitsyn’s first indication of how the Left operates against humanity, almost like a cancer, appears when Lenin reveals how overjoyed he is with the war. Death and destruction mean nothing to him unless it helps the Cause. He sees the struggle on the Left as patriots vs. anti-patriots — but on a larger scale, his revolutionary framework pits nationalists against anti- (or super-) nationalists. And nothing can weaken nationalism more than a senseless and protracted war. At one point, he ghoulishly admits that the greater the number killed in battle, the happier he gets. He worries only that the European leaders would do something stupid and ghastly like sue for peace before he and his fellows could instigate revolution in teetering-on-the-brink nations such as Switzerland and Sweden.

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The little things that Lenin does, and many of his offhand remarks and observations, also reveal his enmity towards everything traditional, natural, and morally wholesome. He complains bitterly against the principle of property rights. He recoils when approached by nuns on a train platform. He endeavors to keep his colleagues quarreling when it is useful to him. He opposes the Bolshevik employment of individual terror only because he believes terror should be a “mass activity.” He passes shops and delicatessens on the street and imagines them being smashed by an axe-wielding mob. He even foreshadows the Soviet Dekulakization of the next decade by claiming that

The Soviet must try to ally itself not with the peasantry at large but first and foremost with the agricultural labourers and the poorest peasants, separating them from the more prosperous. It is important to split the peasantry right now and set the poor against the rich. That is the crux of the matter.

Lenin not only pits himself against mankind, he pits himself irrevocably against his own colleagues. When he meets with the Swiss Social Democrats (dubbed “the Skittles Club”) at a restaurant, Solzhenitsyn offers this diabolic nugget:

Lenin’s gaze slides rapidly, restlessly over all those heads, so different, yet all so nearly his for the taking.

They all dread his lethal sarcasm.

And don’t get him started on the Mensheviks. He hates the Mensheviks. At one point, Lenin rather hilariously avers that he “would sooner see Tsarism survive another thousand years than give a millimetre to the Mensheviks!”

He also lies. He announces that Switzerland is an imperialist country when he knows it isn’t. He also claims, to the bafflement of the Swiss socialists, that Switzerland is the most revolutionary country in the world. He makes false promises to the more moderate socialists regarding their post-revolutionary roles. Double standards are nothing to him as well. He advocates opposing the war in public but egging it on in private. He professes to support democracy, but only before the revolution. Afterward, it should be abolished with all other hindrances to his planned totalitarian rule.

If any of this sounds familiar, it should. The Left has not changed much since Lenin’s day, merely exchanging class for race in the twenty-first century. The same bunch that clamored for civil rights for non-whites in the 1960s are now calling for the open oppression of whites. Just as with Lenin, what the Left says it wants and what it truly wants are two different things — the only determining factor here being who wields the power. Furthermore, a stroll through anti-white Twitter or anti-white Hollywood will show quite clearly that Left’s violent fantasies against their perceived enemies aren’t going anywhere.

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Another aspect of the Left that Solzhenitsyn reveals is its Jewishness. True, he does not name the Jew in Lenin in Zürich like he does in 200 Years Together. However, since all the characters in these chapters are historical figures, it’s easy enough to gauge exactly how Jewish Lenin’s circle was and how important some of these Jews were to his — and the Bolsheviks’ — ultimate success. And the answer is considerable on both counts.

Parvus_Alexander.jpgA man known as Parvus appears foremost among the Jews in Lenin in Zürich. Born Izrail Lazarevich Gelfand, he comes across, at least to Lenin, as an enigmatic and somewhat unscrupulous capitalist and millionaire who, for some reason, dedicates his life to socialist causes. Either this, or he wishes to destroy Russia while exhibiting a suspicious allegiance to Germany. Parvus, along with his protégé Leon Trotsky, had tried and failed to overthrow the Tsar in 1905, and now offers a new plan: With his deep contacts in the German government, he will arrange for the Bolsheviks’ to travel through Germany in order to re-enter Russia where they can foment revolution against a weakened Tsar. This would serve not only Lenin but Parvus’ German friends as well by knocking Russia out of the war. Suspicious of Parvus’ outsider status, and especially of his tolerance of Lenin’s detested Mensheviks, Lenin at first refuses. However, he cannot shake his respect and fascination for this mysterious benefactor.

Fat, ostentatious, and lacking tact, Parvus appears just as repulsive to the reader as he does to Lenin. However, his great wealth and his acumen for political scheming tames Lenin’s rapacious attitude and manages to shut him up for a while (which perhaps exonerates him somewhat as a character in the reader’s mind). He’s also quite prescient, having predicted World War I at an earlier point and impressing upon an incredulous Lenin that “the destruction of Russia now held the key to the future history of the world!”

And, of course, he’s a financial genius:

It was a matter of instinct with him, the emergence of disproportions, imbalances, gaps which begged him, cried out to him to insert his hand and extract a profit. This was so much part of his innermost nature that he conducted his multifarious business transactions, which by now were scattered over ten European countries, without a single ledger, keeping all the figures in his head.

d595b497ad4d0145202370e65cddfeb5.jpgAnother Jew who figures prominently in Lenin in Zürich is Radek (born Karl Berngardovich Sobelsohn). Lenin has tremendous respect for Radek as a writer and propagandist — that Radek had become one of the Soviet Union’s most prominent journalists years after Lenin’s death certainly justifies Lenin’s esteem. In all, he is clever and resourceful and the only person to whom Lenin would voluntarily surrender his pen. After the February Revolution in Russia, as Lenin prepares for travel back to his home country according to Parvus’ plan, Radek contrives ingenious solutions to formidable logistical problems that threaten to sink the enterprise. This makes Lenin, for one of the few times in the book, truly happy.

Not included in the later editions of The Red Wheel, which contain all of the Lenin in Zürich chapters, is an extremely useful “Author’s Index of Names” in the back of the book. Forty-nine names are mentioned, fifteen of which are Jews — sixteen if we include the half-Jewish Ryazanov (David Borisovich Goldendakh). This is over thirty percent, with a couple of names that I could not verify one way or the other. The ones I could are: Aleksandr Abramovich, Moisei Bronski, Grigory Chudnovsky, Lev Kamenev, Moisei Kharitonov, Paul Levi, Maksim Litvinov, Yuly Martov, Parvus, Radek, Georgy Shklovsky, Georg Sklarz, Grigory Sokolnikov, Moisei Uritsky, and Grigory Zinoviev.

Further, not all of the gentiles mentioned were part of Lenin’s inner circle. Some, such as the much-despised Robert Grimm and Fritz Platten, were Swiss socialists who contended with Lenin and did not accompany him to Russia. Others, such as Aleksandr Shlyapnikov and Nikolai Bukharin, were important and were mentioned frequently in the text but were not in Switzerland during the timeframe of the chapters. And two, Nadezhda Krupskaya (his neglected wife) and Inessa Armand (his beloved mistress) made few substantive contributions to his revolutionary work in the pages of Lenin in Zürich. According to Solzhenitsyn, many of Lenin’s closest associates in Zurich were Jews. Certainly, the two most important ones were.

From the perspective of the Right, Solzhenitsyn offers tantalizing evidence that the October Revolution would not have occurred (or would not have been as successful) without crucial actions from Jews at the most important moments. Without Parvus and Radek, Lenin likely would have stayed in Zurich in March 1917. Would he have gotten out in April or May or at all? Would he have even made it to Russia in time to make a difference? Would the Bolsheviks have been as successful without him? Impossible to say, but a reasonable conclusion would be that the fate of the Soviet Union would have hung much more in the balance without Lenin running things during its formative years. And without a successful October Revolution, we likely wouldn’t have the tens of millions of people senselessly killed by the Soviets during the 1920s and 1930s.

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Lenin in Zürich offers positive value to the Right as well, almost to the point of irony. Despite being an unhinged, foul-tempered, miserable villain, Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin exhibits some admirable characteristics that dissidents of any stripe would do well to emulate — provided they sift out the destructive elements. His gargantuan faith in himself makes him utterly impervious to ridicule and embarrassment. He thinks in slogans — always striving for a way to control and motivate the masses. (“The struggle against war is impossible without socialist revolution!”) He’s obsessed with time and gets annoyed almost to the point of rage whenever he wastes any. Everything is urgent for him. The man also demonstrates inhuman energy, always working, always reading, always striving. Solzhenitsyn, to his great credit as an author, makes Lenin’s intensity vibrate on nearly every page. Here’s a sample:

By analogy, by association, by contradiction, sparks of thought were continually struck off, flying at a tangent to left or right, on to loose scraps of paper, on to the lined pages of exercise books, into blank margins, and every thought must be stitched to paper with a fiery thread before it could fade, to smoulder there until it was wanted, in a draft summary or else in a letter begun there and then so that he could forge his sentences red-hot.

In essence, Lenin’s bulletproof spiritual constitution makes him the perfect radical machine. Who wouldn’t want to follow such a man during a crisis?

But to afford this, Lenin must live a Spartan life. He dedicates his entire life for his cause, and so does little for himself in terms of pleasure. Sadly for him, and for humanity, his dear Inessa could not requite his infatuation with her. In a candid moment, Lenin admits that only in her presence could he slow down and relax and do things for himself — day after gloriously languid day. Perhaps if he had found a little more solace with her, the world could have been spared his Mephistophelean wrath. Perhaps with her, he could have been more human and less Lenin.

Here is where I believe Solzhenitsyn fibs in the way all great authors should fib. This is all too good, too perfect a story to tell. I sense an all-encompassing tragic architecture rather than the ramshackle formation of truth. I can’t prove it, but I would guess that Vladimir Lenin would have remained a devourer of worlds even if he had had his way with Inessa every night while in Zurich. He would have eventually grown bored and contemptuous of her, like he did with most everyone else. Nothing would have changed.

But Solzhenitsyn makes us wish it had. And he makes us believe, even if only for a moment, that through romantic love it could have. When Lenin has an introspective moment alone, shortly after learning of the first revolution in Russia, he contemplates how his life is going to change forever. He then sits on a park bench before an obelisk commemorating a 1799 Zurich battle between the Russians and Austrians and the French. Yes, Russians of the past had fought even here, he thinks.

The clip-clop of hooves startles him. Inessa! Here she comes! What a surprise! She’s sitting upright in the saddle of a chestnut horse. She’ll be with him at any moment!

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Of course, it isn’t her, but a beautiful woman nonetheless. And this gets our Lenin to thinking. . .

He sat very still studying her face and the hair like a black wing peeping under her hat.

If he could suddenly liberate his mind from all the work that needed to be and must be done — how beautiful this would seem! A beautiful woman!

Her only movement was the swaying of shoulders and hips as the sway of the horse lifted her toe-caps in the stirrups.

She rode on downhill to a turn in the road — and there was nothing but the rhythm of hooves for a little while longer.

She rode on, carrying a little part of him away with her.

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jeudi, 07 février 2019

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Rise of a Prophet

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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:
The Rise of a Prophet

It’s striking how cherry-picking can hone the pen of a propagandist and disguise malice behind a veneer of reason. Jewish writer Cathy Young provides excellent examples of this all throughout her December 2018 Quillette article, “Solzhenitsyn: The Fall of a Prophet. [2]” Published shortly after Solzhenitsyn’s 100th birthday, the article’s point, essentially, is to tarnish the reputation of a great man in order to steer discourse away from aspects of his work which the current zeitgeist finds problematic. Her shoddy, dishonest treatment of Solzhenitsyn resembles Soviet-styled political revisionism, and it stinks, frankly, of character assassination. She doesn’t merely disagree with some of Solzhenitsyn’s positions and explain why (which would have been perfectly fine); rather, because she’s uncomfortable with some of his positions, she endeavors to dig up everything negative or embarrassing she can about the man in order to discredit him, both morally and intellectually.

Why bother to read Solzhenitsyn at all now that Cathy Young has stabbed him full of holes with her rapier-sharp pen?

Young kicks the article off by paying homage to Solzhenitsyn’s life and works with obligatory, Wikipedia-style platitudes and spices them with anecdotes from her childhood in the Soviet Union. This takes up a few paragraphs and rings true enough. However, this is completely forgotten by the time Young gets to what she really wants to talk about: Solzhenitsyn beyond his role as heroic, anti-Communist dissident.

This role, I think we can all agree, constitutes the vast majority of his legacy. The bravery, tenacity, and clarity of thought that this man demonstrated at a time when political repression was as bad as it could possibly be was frankly inhuman – in a good way. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich has proven to be an immortal and poignant sketch of life in a Soviet labor camp. Many of his early short stories (“Matryona’s House” and “We Never Make Mistakes,” in particular) as well as his 1968 novel Cancer Ward were equally brilliant. His speeches and essays from the Soviet period are clear, consistent, forthright, and prescient (“The Smatterers” from 1974 and his Warning to the West collection from 1976 are among my favorites). And The Gulag Achipelago speaks for itself as one of the greatest and most consequential non-fiction works of the twentieth century. One can review David Mahoney’s centennial eulogy [3] for Solzhenitsyn for more.

Young, however, cares to ding Solzhenitsyn for his exile-era and post-Soviet writings which concern, among other things, Russian identity, nationalism, Christianity, and the Jewish Question. Consequently, Solzhenitsyn has proven himself to be quite the gadfly in the ointment for our anti-white, globalist elites who believe that all of these things are bad, bad, bad and worry about their making a comeback in the age of Trump:

In 2018, Solzhenitsyn’s hostility toward Western-style democracy and secular universalist liberalism may find much broader resonance than it did in his twilight years. When Solzhenitsyn asserted in a 2006 interview with Moscow News that “present-day Western democracy is in a grave crisis,” that statement could be easily dismissed as a maverick’s wishful fantasy. Today, it sounds startlingly prescient. In an age when nationalist/populist movements are on the rise in Europe and the Americas and the liberal project is increasingly seen as outdated, Solzhenitsyn might be seen as a man ahead of his time.

For Young, of course, this is a bad thing:

But one could also make a compelling argument for the opposite: that Solzhenitsyn’s life and career are a case study in the perils of choosing the path of nationalism and anti-liberalism, a path that ultimately led him to some dark places.

So, to prevent as many people as possible from drawing inspiration from this great man, it’s time to start taking him down. But how to take down a man of Solzhenitsyn’s titanic stature? That’s a problem, isn’t it? Well, Cathy Young decides to solve it by cherry picking elements of the man’s life to draw an ugly, mean-spirited caricature of him. She’s done this before [4]. She also relies on her audience to either not read up on Solzhenitsyn to fact-check her sloppy scholarship or to not understand Russian in case they might do so.

She begins by citing and interpreting his 1983 essay “Our Pluralists.” This essay doesn’t seem to be translated into English on the Internet; Young provides a link to the original Russian [5], and I found a partially translated version here [6]. Oddly, Young describes only how this essay offended other dissidents and doesn’t directly critique it herself.

Young:

To Solzhenitsyn, the worship of pluralism inevitably led to moral relativism and loss of universal values, which he believed had “paralyzed” the West. He also warned that if the communist regime in Russia were to fall, the “pluralists” would rise, and “their thousand-fold clamor will not be about the people’s needs . . . not about the responsibilities and obligations of each person, but about rights, rights, rights” – a scenario that, in his view, could result only in another national collapse.

Yes, and . . .? How is his incorrect? It seems as if Solzhenitsyn had a crystal ball back in 1983, and not just for Russia. In this case, pluralism for Solzhenitsyn meant pluralism of ideas, not racial or ethnic pluralism. Relativism, essentially. Solzhenitsyn was basically arguing for the acceptance of an objective Truth, albeit from within an uncompromisingly traditionalist and Christian framework.

Solzhenitsyn:

Of course, variety adds color to life. We yearn for it. We cannot imagine life without it. But if diversity becomes the highest principle, then there can be no universal human values, and making one’s own values the yardstick of another person’s opinions is ignorant and brutal. If there is no right and wrong, what restraints remain? If there is no universal basis for it there can be no morality. ‘Pluralism’ as a principle degenerates into indifference, superficiality, it spills over into relativism, into tolerance of the absurd, into a pluralism of errors and lies.

According to the essay, Solzhenitsyn has no problem with pluralism per se as long as these pluralistic ideas are constantly compared “so as to discover and renounce our mistakes.” In this regard, his framework is as much Classical as it is Christian.

One can disagree, of course, but there is absolutely nothing that is morally or intellectually objectionable about any of this. Yet because Young can dredge up a handful of names who opposed Solzhenitsyn’s Christian dogmatism or wrung their hands over his preference for Duty over Freedom, she seems to think that that makes her subject look bad. It doesn’t. These critics accused him of groupthink and labeled him a “true Bolshevik” – ridiculous claims repudiated by the essay itself. All Young can really say is that Solzhenitsyn had opponents who disagreed with him and smeared him for it. So what? Name a great man who didn’t.

Young also attempts to throw a wet blanket on Solzhenitsyn’s not-so-triumphant return to Russia in the mid-1990s. According to Young, the Russian public didn’t seem terribly interested in him. His several-thousand-page epic The Red Wheel and other later works didn’t sell terribly well. His talk show wasn’t a hit. Not many young people in Russia read him anymore, or have even heard of the Gulag system. Only a few hundred people showed up at his funeral in 2008. Again, so what? Apparently, Young believes that because Solzhenitsyn’s star power began to fade when he was in his late 70s, his legacy began to fade as well. Can she not see how desperate and superficial this tack really is?

She also takes him to task for supporting Vladimir Putin in the 2000s and inviting him to his home in 2007 – when Solzhenitsyn was eighty-nine years old. Leaving aside any charity we would wish to grant an octogenarian Gulag and cancer survivor, Young would have us believe that “the man who exposed the full horror of Stalin’s rule had nothing to say about the creeping rehabilitation of Stalin on Putin’s watch.”

Did Vladimir Putin starve twelve million people to death and wrongfully imprison and execute tens of millions more without anyone knowing about it, except Cathy Young? Sure, Putin is an authoritarian, and it’s impossible to go to bat for everything he does. But to equate him in any way with Stalin is pure idiocy. This is real “Trump is literally Hitler” territory and serves only to silence debate, not encourage it. How could the editors of Quillette not see this?

Further, by basing most of her critiques on Solzhenitsyn’s later works and statements, Young makes this “fall of a prophet” business seem like it’s something new – as if the man was righteous for a while and then lost it once he started knocking on pluralism and giving a thumbs-up to authoritarianism. By this point, she tells us, “Solzhenitsyn could no longer be seen as a champion of freedom and justice.” She omits mentioning that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had supported authoritarian rule since at least 1973. His essay “As Breathing and Consciousness Return” goes into eloquent detail on the virtues of such systems, provided that the autocrats are bound by “higher values.” In the past, this meant God. With Putin, it means the destiny of the Russian people. It is entirely consistent thirty-five years later for a Russian patriot like Solzhenitsyn to prefer Putin to the corruption and chaos of the Yeltsin era, in which Russia was at the mercy of corrupt oligarchs and mafioso such as Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky. According to Paul Klebnikov, in his 2000 work Parrain du Kremlin, Boris Berezovsky et Le Pillage de la Russie, there were 29,200 murders in Russia in 1993 alone (by 2013, according Infogalactic, that figure was down to 12,785 [7]). The number of murders in Russia increased eight hundred percent from 1987 to 1993. 1994 saw 185 police officers die in the line of duty. Yet Cathy Young wishes that we concern ourselves with Putin’s “creeping rehabilitation of Stalin.”

The crux of her dissertation involves, of course, Solzhenitsyn’s honest take on the Jewish Question – but she takes pains to paint him as an equal opportunity bigot who focused his slavophilic ire on unchosen peoples as well. This she calls “a streak of prejudice in his work.” Here is Cathy Young at her most insidious:

In his 1973 essay, “Repentance and Self-Limitation As Categories of National Life,” he suggested Russians’ moral responsibility for Soviet crimes against Hungary and Latvia was somewhat mitigated by the fact that Hungarian and Latvian nationals were actively involved in the Red Terror after the Russian revolution, while the shame of the ethnic cleansing of Crimean Tatars was lessened by their status as “chips off the Horde,” the Mongol khanate that violently subjugated Russia in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. And, while Solzhenitsyn often asserted that his Russian patriotism was grounded in respect for the self-determination of other nations, he was vehemently hostile to Ukrainian and Belarussian independence.

Let’s break this down carefully, since Young’s dishonesty is astonishing. In my translation of “Repentance and Self-Limitation in the Life of Nations,” Solzhenitsyn stresses often how Russians, as a people, need to show penance for their sins, not just against themselves but against other peoples. He takes a position that is as respectful and conciliatory as possible towards foreign groups while still being nationalistic:

It is impossible to imagine a nation which throughout the course of its whole existence has no cause for repentance. Every nation without exception, however persecuted, however cheated, however flawlessly righteous it feels itself to be today has certainly at one time or another contributed its share of inhumanity, injustice, and arrogance.

Solzhenitsyn then outlines a list of transgressions for which the Russians should do penance, despite how they themselves had suffered enormously in the twentieth century. “My view is that if we err in our repentance,” he states, “it should be on the side of exaggeration, giving others the benefit of the doubt. We should accept in advance that there is no neighbor to whom we bear no guilt.”

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So does this sound like a “streak of prejudice”? If anything, it’s prejudicial against Russians. There’s more. Solzhenitsyn understood that penance works only if it goes both ways. He asks, “How can we possibly rise above all this, except by mutual repentance?” [emphasis mine]. His position regarding the Latvians and Hungarians is that they repented little for what they did to Russians “in the cellars of the Cheka and the backyards of Russian villages.” So why should Russians shed many tears for them in return? Same with the Crimean Tatars, who never showed much remorse for the pain they inflicted upon the Russians over the course of centuries. Note also how Young downplays Tatar sins by casting them into the distant past of the “thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.” She neglects to mention that some of their worst transgressions occurred much more recently. According to M. A. Khan in his 2009 work Islamic Jihad, the Crimean Tatars captured, enslaved, and sold to the Ottoman Empire anywhere between 1.75 and 2.5 million Ukrainians, Poles, and Russians between 1450 and 1700. That might be worth a sorry or two, wouldn’t it? Suddenly, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is not quite as bigoted as Cathy Young would have him seem.

Regarding the man’s opinions on Belorussian and Ukrainian independence, Young again mischaracterizes him. Solzhenitsyn was speaking up for the persecuted kulaks and the victims of the 1930s Ukrainian terror famine as early as The Gulag Archipelago (Volume 1, Part 1, Chapter 2) and later in 2003’s Two Hundred Years Together (Volume 2, Chapter 19). His numbers from the latter work (15 million killed) roughly coincide with Robert Conquest’s from his 1986 work Harvest of Sorrow (14.5 million killed). By stating that Solzhenitsyn was “vehemently hostile” to Ukrainian independence, Young was implying that her subject was chauvinistically contemptuous of the nationalist ambitions of these nations. That’s just not true. In reality, Solzhenitysn envisioned a pan-Slavic Russia in which Russia would keep Belarus and only the eastern half of Ukraine. In a 1994 interview [8], Solzhenitsyn had this to say about it:

As a result of the sudden and crude fragmentation of the intermingled Slavic peoples, the borders have torn apart millions of ties of family and friendship. Is this acceptable? The recent elections in Ukraine, for instance, clearly show the [Russian] sympathies of the Crimean and Donets populations. And a democracy must respect this.

I myself am nearly half Ukrainian. I grew up with the sounds of Ukrainian speech. I love her culture and genuinely wish all kinds of success for Ukraine – but only within her real ethnic boundaries, without grabbing Russian provinces.

Does this sound “vehemently hostile?” I will admit his brief denunciation [9] of the Ukrainian genocide claim from April 2008 came across as cranky. But he was 89 at the time and all of four months away from the grave! Who wouldn’t come across as a little cranky under such circumstances?

Further, Young’s source [10] for the “vehemently hostile” smear is riddled with contradictions. It faults Solzhenitsyn for wanting Russia to let go of non-Slavic republics like Armenia and Kyrgyzstan (thereby respecting their nationalism) and then criticizes him for wanting to keep Belarus and parts of Ukraine (thereby disrespecting their nationalism). This is unreasonable since it puts Solzhenitsyn in a lose-lose position. In her article, Young claims that Solzhenitsyn’s nationalist path “ultimately led him to some dark places.” Well, okay, but if nationalism is bad, then why doesn’t she slam Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and all the other republics for their nationalist agendas? Why is it only Russian nationalism that leads to the path to darkness?

Note also how Young never cites instances in Solzhenitsyn’s writing in which he shows favoritism towards other groups. In Cancer Ward, the main character Kostoglotov describes how he sided in a fight with some Japanese prisoners against Russian prisoners because the Russians were behaving barbarically and deserved it. In “the Smatterers” he writes in glowing terms about the birth of Israel. His 1993 Vendée Uprising address was a veritable love letter to the French. And let’s not forget the downright tenderness he shows towards the Estonians in Volume 1, Part 1, Chapter 5 of The Gulag Archipelago. Of course, I could go on.

As for the Jews, we can’t expect to do Solzhenitsyn’s treatment of them any justice in such a short article. We can, however, condense it into two main segments: his fiction and his non-fiction. In his fiction, his tendency was to portray Jews in a somewhat negative light, it’s true. Great examples include Lev Rubin and Isaak Kagan from In the First Circle, who seem sympathetic but ultimately defend the evils of Communism. His treatment of Jews in his early play The Love-Girl and the Innocent reach Shylock/Fagin levels of stereotype (although Solzhenitsyn based one of these characters on a particularly vile Jew in real life named Isaak Bershader, who also appears in Volume 2, Part 3, Chapter 8 of The Gulag Archipelago in an unforgettable scene in which he crushes the spirit of a strong and beautiful Russian woman before coercing her to become his mistress). Then there’s the expanded version of August 1914, which included a chapter dealing with Dmitri Bogrov, the Jewish radical who assassinated the great Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin in 1911.

According to Young, Solzhenitsyn portrayed Bogrov “with no factual basis, as a Russia-hating Jewish avenger.” I would have to do a great deal of research to verify this claim, of course. However, I don’t trust Cathy Young. The deceptions and smears in her article should prevent anyone from trusting her. Furthermore, Bogrov did assassinate Stolypin, and Stolypin was a great man. Would Young rather Solzhenitsyn portray Bogrov as a hero? Is it too much of a stretch for us to believe Bogrov harbored an ethnic grudge against Russia and Russians? He wouldn’t have been the first. Kevin MacDonald has given us an entire body of work demonstrating exactly how some influential Jews harbor deep and irrational resentment towards white gentiles. So why not Dmitri Bogrov?

I have read the Bogrov passages in August 1914. Young’s take on them is jaundiced, to say the least. The author paints a moving portrait of a mentally disturbed, rigid-minded, radically-inclined, highly-informed, and ethnically-obsessed young man. How does that not fit the bill for a Jewish anarchist from a century ago? How is this any different from the way in which Solzhenitsyn portrayed a whole host of Russian authority figures in his Red Wheel opus as incorrigibly incompetent, cowardly, vain, irresponsible, and self-centered? Does this make him as anti-Russian as he is anti-Semitic? Or maybe just honest?

And speaking of honesty, let’s look at how Cathy Young most dishonestly doesn’t mention Solzhenitsyn’s positive Jewish characters, such as Ilya Arkhangorodsky, also from August 1914, and Susanna Korzner from March 1917.

As for his non-fiction, people can argue whether Solzhenitsyn unfairly singled out Jewish Gulag administrators in The Gulag Archipelago. But that’s small potatoes compared to his opus Two Hundred Years Together. On this account, Young actually does a fairly evenhanded job of assessing her subject. Even the Jews can’t decide on whether Solzhenitsyn was an anti-Semite, and many of them who actually knew him personally deny it, since Solzhenitsyn’s behavior towards them was always impeccable. Young dutifully presents both sides and links to a well-balanced Front Page symposium [11] before tilting her conclusion in favor of anti-Semitism. That’s her right, of course.

My take is a little different. I say that Solzhenitsyn acted in good faith when writing Two Hundred Years Together. He may or may not have made mistakes in his work, but I say he presented the gentile side of the argument pretty well. It is a side that rarely sees the light of day given how prolific Jews are in portraying their end of the struggle and how influential they are in suppressing literature they find threatening. Why else go after people like Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran? Why else see to it that pro-white writers and activists like MacDonald and Jared Taylor get thoroughly marginalized? Why else suppress Holocaust denial and revisionist literature? Why else create a forbidding atmosphere for the publication of Two Hundred Years Together in English?

There’s more. Jewish writers like Cathy Young seem to suffer so much from whites-on-the-brain that they fail to recognize the abuses of their own kind when writing about gentiles. She should read Robert Wistrich, Bernard Lewis, Deborah Lipstadt, and other Jewish authors when they write about anti-Semitism and then ask herself if they were as being as sympathetic to gentiles and Solzhenitsyn was to Jews in Two Hundred Years Together. Having read many of them, I would say usually not. Solzhenitsyn lists righteous and innocent Jews by name in that work. In Chapter 25, he calls for “sincere and mutual understanding between Russians and Jews, if only we would not shut it out by intolerance and anger.”

He states further:

I invite all, including Jews to abandon this fear of bluntness, to stop perceiving honesty as hostility. We must abandon it historically! Abandon it forever!

In this book, I call a spade a spade. And at no time do I feel that in doing so it is being hostile to the Jews. I have written more sympathetically than many Jews write about Russians.

The purpose of this book, reflected even in its title, is this: we should understand each other, we should recognize each other’s standpoint and feelings. With this book, I want to extend a handshake of understanding – for all our future. But we must do so mutually!

asol2.jpgDoes this sound like it was written by an anti-Semite? Maybe it does to someone as dishonest and as blinkered as Cathy Young. Maybe it does to someone who wishes to enforce a program of mandatory philo-Semitism among the goyim. But to everyone else, it just seems like it was written by the same man who thirty years earlier told Russians they should “err . . . on the side of exaggeration” when it comes to repentance . . . but only if that repentance is mutual.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a great man and a great writer for many reasons, not least because he was honest and consistent. It’s a shame that some people today feel so threatened by him that they resort to underhanded smear pieces to discredit him and hound him out of public discourse. Undoubtedly, they fear not just his nationalism but his ethnonationalism. This may not have been terribly in vogue during the last years of his life, but it is trending that way now, especially for white people. Cathy Young was absolutely correct about that and about how Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a man ahead of his time. She contrives a number of arguments to make it seem as if we’re witnessing the fall of a prophet, but in reality, we are only witnessing his rise.

Spencer J. Quinn is a frequent contributor to Counter-Currents and the author of the novel White Like You [12].

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: https://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://www.counter-currents.com/2019/02/aleksandr-solzhenitsyn/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2-4-19-1.jpg

[2] Solzhenitsyn: The Fall of a Prophet.: https://quillette.com/2018/12/21/solzhenitsyn-the-fall-of-a-prophet/

[3] centennial eulogy: https://www.city-journal.org/aleksandr-solzhenitsyn

[4] before: https://reason.com/archives/2004/05/01/traditional-prejudices

[5] original Russian: http://www.golos-epohi.ru/?ELEMENT_ID=14065

[6] here: http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/844/solzhenitsyn,-detente-appeasement/

[7] 12,785: https://infogalactic.com/info/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

[8] interview: https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/14/an-interview-with-aleksandr-solzhenitsyn-on-ukraine/

[9] denunciation: https://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/12/dictators-or-corporate-fascism.html

[10] source: https://www.rferl.org/a/Solzhenitsyn_Leaves_Troubled_Legacy_Across_Former_Soviet_Union/1188876.html

[11] symposium: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles-2009/Glazov-Symposium-Remembering-The-Dissident.php

[12] White Like You: https://www.counter-currents.com/product/white-like-you/

mardi, 13 septembre 2016

The Importance of Solzhenitsyn: Tom Sunic Interviews F. Roger Devlin

The Importance of Solzhenitsyn: Tom Sunic Interviews F. Roger Devlin

jeudi, 25 décembre 2014

Il faut relire Soljénitsyne!

 

solj18.jpg

Il faut relire Soljénitsyne!
 
 
Ex: http://anti-mythes.blogspot.com
 
Une très belle synthèse d’une partie de la réflexion de Soljénitsyne sur notre temps proposée par RéinformationTV
C’est seulement la deuxième réédition de ce célèbre discours, depuis qu’il fut prononcé devant les étudiants américains de Harvard, à la séance solennelle finale du 8 juin 1978. Les Belles Lettres l’ont assorti d’une préface, signée par celui qui fut son éditeur, son agent et son ami, pendant 35 ans, Claude Durand – longtemps directeur de la maison Fayard, il a lui-même raconté en 2011 le récit tumultueux de la publication de l’œuvre de l’écrivain dans Agent de Soljénitsyne. Une œuvre qui défie le temps et la mode, en opposant, dans Le déclin du courage, à la violence du système soviétique, l’écœurement matérialiste et le vide spirituel de la société occidentale… Soljénitsyne dit son désarroi et défait les œillères.
Discours à Harvard
L’écrivain russe a été expulsé de l’Union Soviétique quatre ans auparavant, au début de la parution des trois tomes de L’Archipel du Goulag. Depuis deux ans qu’il est parvenu en terre américaine, il n’est pas encore sorti de son silence. Il le fait en ce mois de juin 1978, non pas pour s’acharner sur le communisme dont il a déjà opéré une solide critique, mais pour esquisser une terrible et non moins juste dénonciation, celle du système occidental que d’aucuns posent comme l’envers positif du premier. Ce discours va générer un déluge de commentaires, des plus acerbes aux plus élogieux. Le gros de la presse le fustige, préoccupée par l’unique fait politique, et l’élite libérale américaine fulmine contre l’ingrat à qui elle a eu la bonté de donner asile – l’universitaire Richard Pipes ose parler d’une critique « qui sent le pogrom »…
Peu réfléchissent sur le fond. Acceptent le miroir que leur tend cet étranger – il est si difficile de se voir en face. « Il faut savoir aussi que la vérité est rarement douce au palais : elle est presque toujours amère. » Soljénitsyne pose la question de cette « aune occidentale » à laquelle tout désormais doit être rapporté et de sa « supériorité illusoire ». A ne fonder la société que sur le droit, à ne limiter les hommes que par les lois, « sans vouloir aller plus haut », l’Occident leur a ôté tout contrôle personnel et individuel : « tout le monde pratique l’auto-expansion jusqu’à ce que les cadres juridiques commencent à émettre de petits craquements »…. Cette pseudo-liberté n’est qu’irresponsable et, outrancière, ne résiste pas longtemps aux « abîmes de la déchéance humaine ». D’autant qu’on a promis aux hommes le paradis sur terre : Soljénitsyne parle du « masque funeste » du bien-être, cet ersatz de Graal, ce veau d’or qu’on a déclaré accessible et nécessaire à tout Occidental. L’homme moderne est aliéné à ses dus et à ses droits.
« Le droit de ne pas savoir » et le « déclin du courage » 
alexandre soljénitsyne,russie,littérature,lettres,lettres russes,littérature russeEt il ne faut surtout pas le laisser penser et le plonger de façon permanente dans « …cette hâte et cette superficialité qui sont la maladie mentale du XXe siècle ». La presse est un maître puissant en la matière, qui suit « le vent du siècle », pratique la « sélection » et abreuve à tort et à travers, surtout à travers – c’est plus rentable – l’opinion publique. Soljénitsyne défend joliment ce « droit de ne pas savoir », qu’on ne connaît plus, de ne pas savoir l’inessentiel, l’accessoire, le superflu : ce droit « de ne pas encombrer son âme créée par Dieu avec des ragots, des bavardages, des futilités », qui nuisent à notre intériorité et annihile la saine réflexion et le nécessaire retour sur soi. Que dirait-il aujourd’hui, en ce temps de sur-communication permanente ?
Le troupeau humain est né. Et le déclin du courage individuel est inévitable, « ce signe avant-coureur de la fin » : c’est « peut-être ce qui frappe le plus un regard étranger dans l’Occident d’aujourd’hui ». Et Soljénitsyne en prophétise les conséquences, pour ces nations à qui l’on a fait perdre le goût de se défendre : « la prochaine guerre – point nécessairement atomique, je n’y crois pas – peut enterrer définitivement la société occidentale ».
L’erreur « à la base de la pensée des Temps nouveaux » (Soljénitsyne) 
Cette société qu’on dit occidentale n’est pas si éloignée du système communiste auquel elle prétend s’opposer. Et si celle qui se dit mariée au Progrès, la plus avancée dans « le sens de l’Histoire », n’était qu’une étape précédant tout au contraire le communisme, se demande Soljénitsyne ?! La pente n’est jamais du bon côté. Le libéralisme cédera au radicalisme qui cédera au socialisme, qui cédera au communisme. Le fond de pensée est le même : l’anthropomorphisme, « l’idée de l’homme comme centre de qui existe ». Cette « conception du monde qui domine en Occident, née lors de la Renaissance, coulée dans les moules politiques à partir de l’ère des Lumières, fondement de toutes les sciences de l’État et de la société », « proclame et réalise l’autonomie humaine par rapport à toute force placée au-dessus de lui », en affirmant que « l’homme, maître du monde, ne porte en lui aucun germe de mal ». Le communisme n’est ni plus ni moins, comme l’écrivait Marx et comme le rappelle Soljénitsyne, qu’un « humanisme naturalisé ».
La faute est spirituelle, ontologique, métaphysique et aboutit nécessairement à « l’anéantissement universel de l’essence spirituelle de l’homme ». Auparavant, et même dans les premières démocraties, reconnaît Soljénitsyne, les droits n’étaient reconnus à la personne humaine qu’en tant qu’« œuvre de Dieu », C’est-à-dire qu’il y avait une « permanente responsabilité religieuse ». Enlevez tout sentiment de transcendance, et la responsabilité devant la société et devant soi-même s’étiole jusqu’à disparaître. Où est l’« héritage des siècles chrétiens avec leurs immenses réserves de pitié et de sacrifice » ?! Où est notre vie intérieure ? « à l’Est, c’est la foire du Parti qui la foule aux pieds, à l’Ouest, la foire du Commerce ». Qui a encore, en tête et au cœur, ce défi qui est ici-bas le nôtre, « quitter cette vie en créatures plus hautes que nous n’y étions rentrés »… ?
 
Il faut relire Soljénitsyne.

mercredi, 20 août 2014

Les relations russo-ukrainiennes vues par Alexandre Soljenitsyne

Les relations russo-ukrainiennes vues par Alexandre Soljenitsyne

Le site web de la radio La voix de la Russie propose en ce moment une série d’articles puisés dans l’œuvre d’Alexandre Soljenitsyne et abordant la question des relations entre les peuples frères russe et ukrainien. Ce week-end, c’est un extrait de l’essai intitulé Comment réaménager notre Russie, paru en 1990, qui a été publié :

solzhenitsyn.jpg« Je suis presqu’à moitié Ukrainien et j’ai grandi parmi les sonorités de la langue ukrainienne. Je suis resté la majeure partie de mes années passées au front dans la sobre Biélorussie et j’ai aimé d’un amour pénétrant sa triste indigence et son peuple docile. Pour les uns et les autres je ne suis pas un étranger, je m’adresse à eux comme si j’étais l’un des leurs.

Notre peuple s’est divisé en trois branches suite aux terribles malheurs de l’invasion mongole et de la colonisation polonaise. Parler de l’existence depuis le IXème siècle d’un peuple ukrainien à part, parlant une langue non russe spécifique, est une falsification récente. Ensemble nous sommes issus de la noble Kiev « d’où provient la terre russe » selon la Chronique de Nestor, d’où nous est venue la lumière du christianisme. Nous avons été gouvernés par les mêmes princes : Iaroslav le Sage a partagé entre ses fils Kiev, Novgorod et les étendues entre Tchernigov et Riazan, Mourom et Beloozero ; Vladimir Monomaque était simultanément prince de Kiev et prince de Rostov ; la même unité est constatée dans le service des métropolites. En Lituanie et en Pologne les Biélorusses et les Ukrainiens se prenaient pour les Russes et luttaient contre la polonisation et la catholicisation. Le retour de ces terres dans le giron de la Russie était alors interprété par eux tous comme une Réunification.

En effet, il est douloureux et honteux de se souvenir des décrets de l’époque d’Alexandre II (1863, 1876) interdisant la langue ukrainienne dans le journalisme, puis dans les belles-lettres, mais cela n’a pas duré longtemps, car c’était une ossification et un égarement de l’esprit dans la politique gouvernementale et ecclésiastique qui ont préparé la chute du régime d’Etat russe.

Cependant, la Rada socialiste pleine de vanité de 1917 a été composée sur un accord entre les politiques et n’a pas été élue par le peuple. Quand elle a quitté la fédération et annoncé le détachement de l’Ukraine de la Russie, elle n’a pas demandé l’opinion du peuple.

J’ai déjà répondu à des nationalistes ukrainiens en exil qui répètent sans arrêt à l’Amérique que « le communisme est un mythe et que ce sont les Russes et non pas les communistes qui veulent s’emparer du monde » (et voilà les « Russes » ayant déjà occupé la Chine et le Tibet, ce qui demeure depuis déjà 30 ans dans une loi du Sénat américain). Le communisme est le mythe que les Russes et les Ukrainiens ont appris à leurs dépens dans les geôles de la Tcheka depuis 1918. C’est le mythe qui a réquisitionné dans la région de la Volga même les grains de semence ayant voué 29 gouvernements russes à la sécheresse et à la famine de 1921-1922. Le même mythe qui a perfidement plongé l’Ukraine dans une famine aussi impitoyable en 1932-1933. Est-ce que nous ne sommes pas liés à cette violence sanguinaire, après avoir subi en commun la collectivisation communiste menée à coup de bâton et accompagné d’exécutions ?

En Autriche en 1848, les habitants de Galicie appelaient leur conseil national Golovna Rousska Rada (Rada russe principale). Plus tard, dans une Galicie annexée et sous la houlette autrichienne, on a cultivé une langue ukrainienne non populaire, truffée de mots allemands et polonais, ainsi que l’idée pour les Carpato-Ruthènes (habitants de l’Ukraine transcarpatique, les Ruthènes) de renoncer à la langue russe et l’idée du séparatisme ukrainien complet, qui se traduit chez les dirigeants actuels de l’émigration par une ignorance élémentaire (que saint-Vladimir était un Ukrainien) ou par une démence agressive : vive le communisme pourvu que les Moscovites crèvent !

Il va de soi que nous partageons les peines mortelles de l’Ukraine à l’époque soviétique. Mais d’où vient cette envie de trancher dans le vif et de séparer l’Ukraine (même les régions qui n’ont jamais été ukrainiennes : la Nouvelle Russie ou la Crimée, le Donbass et les territoires allant presque jusqu’à la mer Caspienne). S’il s’agit de « l’autodétermination de la nation », c’est la nation qui doit décider. Le problème ne peut pas être résolu sans un vote du peuple entier.

Détacher l’Ukraine aujourd’hui, c’est diviser des millions de familles et de personnes, tellement la population est mélangée ; il y a des régions entières à prépondérance russe ; combien de personnes ont du mal à choisir leur nationalité entre deux possibles ; combien de personnes ont des origines mixtes et combien recense-t-on de mariages mixtes, bien que personne ne les ait jamais considérés comme tels. Au sein de la population il n’y a même pas de velléité à l’intolérance entre les Ukrainiens et les Russes.

Frères ! Cette séparation violente est inutile, c’est une obnubilation de l’époque communiste. Nous avons enduré ensemble l’époque soviétique, nous nous sommes retrouvés ensemble dans cette fosse et nous en sortirons ensemble.

En deux siècles, combien de noms éminents avons-nous reçu à la croisée de nos deux cultures. Mikhaïl Dragomanov a dit à ce propos : « C’est inséparable, mais ce n’est pas mélangé ». La porte de la culture ukrainienne et biélorusse doit être largement ouverte avec bienveillance et joie non seulement sur le territoire de l’Ukraine et de la Biélorussie, mais aussi de la Russie. Il ne doit y avoir aucune russification forcée (mais aussi aucune ukrainisation forcée comme cela a eu lieu à la fin des années 1920), rien ne doit empêcher le développement des cultures parallèles et l’enseignement dans les écoles doit être dispensé en deux langues, selon le choix des parents.

Si le peuple ukrainien veut en effet se détacher, personne ne devra certes le retenir par la force. Mais ce pays étendu est très varié et seule la population locale peut décider du sort de son territoire, de sa région et chaque minorité nationale apparaissant dans ce territoire doit être accueillie par la non-violence à son égard.

Tout ce qui a été dit concerne également la Biélorussie, à la seule différence que là, le séparatisme n’a pas été attisé d’une manière irréfléchie.

Pour conclure : nous devons rendre hommage à la Biélorussie et à l’Ukraine qui ont vécu la catastrophe de Tchernobyl provoquée par les arrivistes et les imbéciles du système soviétique et en éliminer les séquelles dans la mesure de nos forces. »

Baudouin Lefranc

mardi, 11 juin 2013

Solschenizyn und die Sezession von der Lüge

solj.jpg

Solschenizyn und die Sezession von der Lüge

Martin Lichtmesz

Ex: http://www.sezession.de/

Vergeßt die gängigen Begriffsstempel. Es ist überaus einfach, heute als sogenannter „Rechter“ einsortiert zu werden. Es genügt, ein Realist zu sein. Es genügt, nicht sentimental zu sein.  Es genügt, seinen Augen zu trauen. Es genügt, die Wahrheit zu sagen.

Es genügt, nicht zu glauben – ein Ketzer, Atheist oder sogar bloß Agnostiker der herrschenden liberalistischen Religion zu sein (denn um nichts anderes handelt es sich). Es genügt, bestimmte Dinge zu fühlen und mehr als eine Dimension [2] im seelischen Haushalt zu besitzen. Es genügt, Geschichtskenntnisse zu haben, oder keinen Fernseher zu besitzen. Und so weiter.

Dabei sind wir verstreuten „Ego non“-Bannerträger des Westens, der heute eher Huxleys als Orwells dystopischem Modell folgt, immer noch um vieles besser dran, als etwa ein Alexander Solschenizyn, dessen Appell „Lebt nicht mit der Lüge“ (1974) ich dieser Tage wieder gelesen habe. Der enorme existenzielle Druck und die auch physische Gefährdung, der sich die sowjetischen Dissidenten ausgesetzt haben, verbieten jeden direkten Vergleich mit unserer Lage. Dennoch gibt es auch im Zeitalter des „soften“ Totalitarismus einige ins Auge stechende Parallelen.

Es ist ebenso leicht, sich für einen Solschenizyn zu begeistern, wie es schwer ist, seinem Beispiel und seinen Maßstäben zu folgen. Es ist ratsam, sich immer dieses Abstands bewußt zu bleiben, allein schon, um sich in Gegensatz zu den schambefreiten Schafherden zu setzen, die sich alljährlich in Dresden en masse weiße Rosen [3] ans Revers heften.

Solschenizyn schrieb 1974:

Es gab eine Zeit, da wagten wir es nicht, auch nur leise zu flüstern. Jetzt aber schreiben wir im Samisdat und lesen ihn, wenn wir uns im Raucherzimmer des Instituts begegnen, dann reden wir uns von der Seele: was sie nur für einen Blödsinn treiben, wohin sie uns noch zerren!

Kommen manchem derlei Szenen auch heute bekannt vor?

„Was sollten wir denn dagegen tun? Wir haben nicht die Kraft.“ Wir sind vom Menschlichen so hoffnungslos entfernt, daß wir für das tägliche kümmerliche Stückchen Brot alle Grundsätze aufgeben, unsere Seele, alles, worum sich unsere Vorfahren mühten, alle Möglichkeiten für die Nachkommen – um ja nicht unserere jämmerliche Existenz zu zerrütten.

Keine Härte, kein Stolz, kein leidenschaftlicher Wunsch ist uns geblieben. Wir fürchten nicht einmal den allgemeinen Atomtod, fürchten nicht den Dritten Weltkrieg (vielleicht verkriechen wir uns in ein Mauseloch), wir fürchten nur die Akte der Zivilcourage! Sich bloß nicht von der Herde lösen, keinen Schritt alleine tun – und plötzlich ohne Weißbrot, Warmwasserbereiter, ohne Aufenthaltsgenehmigung für Moskau dastehen.

Solschenizyn war bekanntlich einer der wenigen, die den Mut zu dieser „Zivilcourage“ (ein heute in Deutschland traurig entehrtes Wort) aufbrachten. Dabei trieb ihn vor allem der Haß auf die Lüge an, derselbe, den man auch zwischen den Zeilen des Klassikers „Moral und Hypermoral“ (1969) des so kühlen und nüchternen Arnold Gehlen spüren kann. Ein Buch, das nicht von der Sowjetunion, sondern von der Bundesrepublik Deutschland handelt, und das mit diesen vielzitierten Sätzen endet (in einem Tonfall, den sich ihr Autor selten geleistet hat):

Teuflisch ist, wer das Reich der Lüge aufrichtet und andere Menschen zwingt, in ihm zu leben. Das geht über die Demütigung der geistigen Abtrennung noch hinaus, dann wird das Reich der verkehrten Welt aufgerichtet, und der Antichrist trägt die Maske des Erlösers, wie auf Signorellis Fresco [4] in Orvieto. Der Teufel ist nicht der Töter, er ist Diabolos, der Verleumder, ist der Gott, in dem die Lüge nicht Feigheit ist, wie im Menschen, sondern Herrschaft. Er verschüttet den letzten Ausweg der Verzweiflung, die Erkenntnis, er stiftet das Reich der Verrücktheit, denn es ist Wahnsinn, sich in der Lüge einzurichten.

Im folgenden nun ein paar Auszüge aus Solschenizyns Appell an jene Sowjetbürger, die es nicht wagen, offen zu opponieren, die er also zur einer Art „inneren“ Sezession und zu einem Mindestmaß an passivem Widerstand aufruft -jedoch kaum mit einem gemindert rigorosen Anspruch.

Lebt nicht mit der Lüge!
Alexander Solschenizyn, 12. Februar 1974

(…)
Doch niemals wird sich etwas von selbst von uns lösen, wenn wir es alle Tag für Tag anerkennen, preisen und ihm Halt geben, wenn wir uns nicht wenigstens von seiner spürbarsten Erscheinung losreißen. Von der LÜGE. (…)

Und hier liegt nämlich der von uns vernachlässigte, einfachste und zugängigste Schlüssel zu unserer Befreiung: SELBST NICHT MITLÜGEN! Die Lüge mag alles überzogen haben, die Lüge mag alles beherrschen, doch im kleinsten Bereich werden wir uns dagegen stemmen: OHNE MEIN MITTUN!

Und das ist der Durchschlupf im angeblichen Kreis unserer Untätigkeit! – Der leichteste für uns und der zerstörerischte für die Lüge. Denn wenn die Menschen von der Lüge Abstand nehmen – dann hört sie einfach auf zu existieren. Wie eine ansteckende Krankheit kann sie nur in den Menschen existieren.

Wir wollen nicht ausschwärmen, wollen nicht auf die Straße gehen und die Wahrheit laut verkünden, laut sagen, was wir denken – das ist nicht nötig, das ist schrecklich. Doch verzichten wir darauf, das zu sagen, was wir nicht glauben.
(…)

Unser Weg: IN NICHTS DIE LÜGE BEWUSST UNTERSTÜTZEN! Erkennen, wo die Grenze der Lüge ist (für jeden sieht sie anders aus) – und dann von dieser lebensgefährlichen Grenze zurücktreten! Nicht die toten Knöchelchen und Schuppen der Ideologie zusammenkleben, nicht den vermoderten Lappen flicken – und wir werden erstaunt sein, wie schnell und hilflos die Lüge abfällt, und was nackt und bloß dastehen soll, wird dann nackt und bloß vor der Welt dastehen.

Somit, laßt uns unsere Schüchternheit überwinden, und möge jeder wählen: ob er bewußter Diener der Lüge bleibt (natürlich nicht aus Neigung, sondern um die Familie zu ernähren, um die Kinder im Geist der Lüge zu erziehen!), oder ob die Zeit für ihn gekommen ist, sich als ehrlicher Mensch zu mausern, der die Achtung seiner Kinder und Zeitgenossen verdient. Und von diesem Tage an wird er:

- in Zukunft keinen einzigen Satz, der seiner Ansicht nach die Wahrheit entstellt, schreiben, unterschreiben oder drucken;

- einen solchen Satz weder im privaten Gespräch, noch vor einem Auditorium, weder im eigenen Namen noch nach einem vorbereiteten Text, noch in der Rolle des politischen Redners, des Lehrers und Erziehers, noch nach einem Bühnenmanuskript aussprechen;

- in Malerei, Skulptur und Fotografie mit technischen oder musikalischen Mitteln keinen einzigen falschen Gedanken, keine einzige Entstellung der Wahrheit, die er erkennt, darstellen noch begleiten, noch im Rundfunk senden.

- weder mündlich noch schriftlich ein einziges „leitendes“ Zitat anführen, um es jemandem recht zu tun, um sich zurückzuversichern, um in der Arbeit Erfolg zu haben, wenn er den zitierten Gedanken nicht vollständig teilt oder er keine klare Relevanz hat;

- sich nicht zwingen lassen, zu einer Demonstration oder einer Versammlung zu gehen, wenn sie seinem Wunsch und Willen nicht entspricht. Kein Transparent, kein Plakat in die Hand nehmen oder hochhalten, dessen Text er nicht vollständig bestimmt;

- die Hand nicht zur Abstimmung für einen Vorschlag heben, den er nicht aufrichtig unterstützt; nicht offen, nicht geheim für eine Person stimmen, die er für unwürdig oder zweifelhaft hält;

- sich zu keiner Versammlung drängen lassen, wo eine zwangsweise entstellte Diskussion zu erwarten ist;

- eine Sitzung, Versammlung, einen Vortrag, ein Schauspiel oder eine Filmvorführung sofort verlassen, wenn Lüge, ideologischer Unfug oder schamlose Propaganda zu hören sind;

- keine Zeitung oder Zeitschrift abonnieren oder im Einzelhandel kaufen, in der die Information verfälscht wird und die ursprünglichen Tatsachen vertuscht werden…

Wir haben selbstverständlich nicht alle möglichen und notwendigen Abweichungen von der Lüge aufgezählt. Doch wer sich um Reinigung bemüht,wird mit gereinigtem Blick leicht auch andere Fälle unterscheiden.

Ja, zunächst wird das nicht glattgehen. Der eine oder andere wird zeitweilig den Arbeitsplatz verlieren. Jungen Menschen, die nach der Wahrheit leben wollen, wird das anfangs ihr junges Leben sehr erschweren: denn auch der abgedroschene Unterricht ist voller Lüge. Man muß auswählen. Für niemanden aber, der ehrlich sein will, bleibt ein Versteck: für keinen von uns vergeht auch nur ein Tag, selbst nicht in den ungefährlichsten technischen Wissenschaften, ohne zumindest einen der genannten Schritte – entweder erfolgt er in Richtung auf die Wahrheit oder in Richtung auf die Lüge; in Richtung auf geistige Unabhängigkeit oder geistiges Kriechertum.

Wer aber nicht einmal zum Schutz seiner Seele genügend Mut aufbringt, der soll sich auch nicht seiner fortschrittlichen Ansichten rühmen, soll nicht tönen, er sei Akademiemitglied oder Volkskünstler, verdienter Funktionär oder General – der soll sich sagen: ich ein Herdentier und ein Feigling, ich will es nur satt und warm haben.

Sogar dieser Weg – der gemäßigste aller Wege des Widerstandes- wird für uns Eingerostete nicht leicht sein. Doch wieviel leichter ist er als Selbstverbrennung oder Hungerstreik: die Flamme ergreift deinen Körper nicht, die Augen platzen nicht vor Hitze, und Schwarzbrot mit Wasser findet sich immer für deine Familie.  (…)

Das würde kein leichter Weg? – doch der leichteste der möglichen. Keine leichte Wahl für den Körper – doch die einzige für die Seele. Kein leichter Weg – doch gibt es bei uns bereits Menschen, sogar Dutzende, die seit Jahren alle diese Punkte durchhalten, die nach der Wahrheit leben.

Somit: nicht als erste diesen Weg beschreiten, sondern SICH ANSCHLIESSEN! Je leichter und je kürzer uns dieser Weg scheint, desto enger verbunden, in desto größerer Zahl werden wir ihn einschlagen! Werden wir Tausende sein, dann wird man keinem mehr etwas tun können. Werden wir aber Zehntausende sein – dann werden wir unser Land nicht wiedererkennen!

Wenn wir aber in Feigheit zurückschrecken, dann sollten wir die Klage lassen, jemand ließe uns nicht atmen – das sind wir selbst! Werden wir uns weiter beugen und abwarten, dann werden unsere Brüder von der Biologie dafür sorgen, daß der Augenblick naht, zu dem man unsere Gedanken liest und unsere Gene umwandelt.

vlcsnap 2013 06 05 12h14m38s227 480x360 Solschenizyn und die Sezession von der Lüge (Fundstücke 17) [5]                                         „Stalker“, Andrej Tarkowskij, UdSSR 1979

In: Alexander Solschenizyn, „Offener Brief an die sowjetische Führung“, Darmstadt und Neuwied 1974.