[Marxism] Libertarian mag slams Solzhenitsyn's anti-Semitism, collectivism
Robert D. Day
rdday at mchsi.com
Sat May 15 21:40:47 MDT 2004
REASON MAGAZINE - May 2004
The anti-Semitism of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Controversy rages as charges of anti-Semitism dog a beloved cultural icon.
No, not Mel Gibson: The man at the center of this debate is the Russian
writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, was once a revered symbol of
moral resistance to the Soviet state. He probably deserves more credit than
any other person for stripping away communism's moral prestige among Western
Exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974, Solzhenitsyn alienated some erstwhile
admirers with his Russian nationalism and his antipathy toward Western-style
democracy; after his return to Russia 20 years later, the public's reverence
soon faded to polite indifference. Still, he retains his special status
among the older intelligentsia and many Western anti-communists.
Accusations of anti-Semitism are not new for Solzhenitsyn. Critics have long
pointed to passages in The Gulag Archipelago that selectively list the
Jewish last names of labor camp commandants. And Solzhenitsyn's historical
novel August 1914, published in English in 1972, emphasizes the Jewishness
of Dmitry Bogrov, assassin of Russia's reformist prime minister Pyotr
Solzhenitsyn has claimed that he was merely telling it like it was, but
August 1914 embellishes history considerably: While Bogrov was a thoroughly
assimilated revolutionary from a family of third-generation converts,
Solzhenitsyn saddles him with a Jewish first name, Mordko (a diminutive of
Mordecai), and the fictitious motive of trying to undermine the Russian
state to help the Jews.
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