October 31, 2020

Aleksandr Solzhenitsin: discover the gulag | Culture

Aleksandr Solzhenitsin: discover the gulag | Culture



The picture of Aleksandr Solzhenitsin in Spain it is associated with his visit in 1976, when after the death of Franco, he dared to highlight the presence of freedoms – foreign press was sold, residences where you wanted, it was even possible to photocopy in the street – against the real Soviet dictatorship, where all forms of unofficial expression were prohibited. The novelist Juan Benet fulminated since Notebooks for dialogue, coming to censure the authorities of the USSR for having taken him out of the concentration camp. From the point of view of a left not yet liberated from the Soviet myth, the harsh portrait of the repression in the USSR required to be disqualified, with the alibi of the counterrevolutionary orientation of the writer's political-religious approaches and his relentless anti-communism. Just as with Putin later, Solzhenitsyn was aligned with ultra republicanism made in USA. So it was necessary to discredit him. Until today, when the centenary of his birth is fulfilled.

The discomfort and condemnations of the Benet type responded to the enormous anti-communist impact of Solzhenitsyn's work. But it is also for the communists who like Spain left their skin fighting against a dictatorship, the explanation of the gulag put them before "the hell of truth", according to the expression of Raúl del Pozo. It was a necessary clarification. Blow to blow, the autobiographical narration of Ivan Denisovich, the sectoral denunciations of The first circle and of Cancer pavilion, the case studies on Gulag ArchipelagoThey showed the immense horror contained in the Soviet system and its promise of emancipation. From the revelation of the gulag, only from a complicit stupidity could be maintained adherence to the communist myth, which, of course, did not imply endorsing the alternative myth of the indissoluble association between freedom and imperialism made in USA.

The evolution of Solzhenitsyn's confrontation with "the heads of the USSR", to whom he sent an open letter in 1973, a prologue to his expulsion the following year, is the best mirror of the stalemate of the regime after the elimination of Khrushchev and his reforms. Even in personal adventures. The clarinet of A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) was a radical denunciation of the Stalinist system, but also the announcement of changes. I remember that such was the judgment of the then secretary of the Magazine of the West, Paulino Garagorri, when publishing one of his chapters. With the cancellation of the reforms and the return to bureaucratic communism in 1967, under Brezhnev, not only the works of Solzhenitsyn were banned, but the Politburo of the CPSU considered how to force his silence as a writer.

By keeping the silence on the evil, burying it with the necessary depth so that it does not come to the surface, we are implanting it and it will re-emerge a thousand times in the future

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The debates, reproduced by R. G. Pik Hoia in his History of power, report about the return to Lenin, more than Stalin, looking for ways to eliminate "who develops an anti-Soviet work", according to Andropov. The same one that in 1970 designed the trap to prevent his return from receiving the Nobel Prize. Solzhenitsin eludes her and also always counterattacks. He ends up remembering "the bosses" the failure in his purpose to build an immutable regime that, like the Reich, would last for centuries.

The lesson of Solzhenitsin, coinciding with that of Primo Levi, is summarized in his Gulag Archipelago"By keeping the silence on the evil, burying it with the necessary depth so that it does not come to the surface, we are implanting it and it will re-emerge a thousand times in the future. When we neither punish nor censure those who practice it, we are not only protecting their image: we destroy the foundations of justice for the new generations ".

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