On the death of Solzhenitsyn

I started writing an obituary, but realized that I couldn’t discuss this death without mentioning the recent passings of Pugovkin and Mordyukova. So here is the somewhat-more-complicated-than-intended Solzhenitsyn obituary.

2 thoughts on “On the death of Solzhenitsyn

  1. Thanks for that. If I’ve learned anything from the death of Solzhenitsyn, it’s that all Solzhenitsyn obituaries end up somewhat-more-complicated-than-intended. Which is a good thing, I think. He himself was more complicated than, well, I learned in school. I was expecting, particularly in the English language media, a flurry of mythologizing him as, only as,”the symbol of All That Stalin Did Wrong.” But most everything I have read has been quite even handed, pointing out that while he exposed the horrors of Stalin’s camps, he also railed against Western culture and democracy. Not an easy fellow to pin down. Resists being co-opted even in death.

    Also a good point you raise about other Soviet era icons, less well known in the West. I think it will be some time before, well, Americans, at least, are willing to give credence to anyone or anything from the Soviet Union who wasn’t outspoken in their opposition to the regime, to acknowledge that there may have been some valuable contributions from those who were not dissents celebrated abroad. And how many more people from that era will die before that happens? Many probably.

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