Saturday, August 9, 2008


Acclaimed Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died Sunday in Moscow at age 89, ending what he famously called his "struggle with falsehood." While serving as a Red Army Captain in World War II, Solzhenitsyn was arrested for writing a derogatory comment about Josef Stalin in a letter to a friend. For this "crime" Solzhenitsyn served eight years in the Gulag, the Soviet Union's system of penal labor camps in Siberia. Solzhenitsyn's imprisonment convinced him of the evils of communism. After his release from the Gulag, Solzhenitsyn wrote his first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev mistakenly believed that Solzhenitsyn's novel would discredit Stalinism while leaving the communist system intact, so he allowed it to be published in 1962. The novel created an international sensation, forcing many Leftist intellectuals in the West to re-evaluate their views on communism. Solzhenitsyn was even awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, though he was unable to leave the Soviet Union to accept it.

In 1973 Solzhenitsyn published his greatest work, The Gulag Archipelago. It was a veritable nail in the coffin of totalitarianism. According to American writer Tom Wolfe, "Marxism was finished off... in a single year, 1973---with the smuggling out of the Soviet Union and the publication in France of... Solzhenitsyn's 'Gulag Archipelago'." What moral standing the Soviet Union still enjoyed in the West was destroyed as The Gulag Archipelago documented how the commissars had stained their hands with the blood of millions. Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but he continued his fight against totalitarianism from his new home in a remote Vermont village, where he lived until returning to Russia in 1994.

Solzhenitsyn warned the world against "an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses," and a "tilt of freedom in the direction of evil... evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent in human nature." The great novelist knew better: Evil is all too real, and it has to be confronted. In this, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn led by example.

My thought: Isn't it interesting how the forced belief that evil doesn't exist is the very thing that allows evil to flourish and proliferate? No wonder it is one of Satan's favorite tactics.

"One word of truth outweighs the entire world." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn