But was Anna really unhappy? She was a free, proud human being. But what if during peacetime a lot of greatcoats and peaked caps burst into the house where you were born and live, and ordered the whole family to leave house and town in twenty-four hours, with only what your feeble hands can carry? You open your doors, call in the passers-by from the streets and ask them to buy things from you, or to throw you a few pennies to buy bread with With ribbon in her hair, your daughter sits down at the piano for the last time to play Mozart. But she bursts into tears and runs away.

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While there she met and married Isaakiy Semyonovich Solzhenitsyn, a young officer in the Imperial Russian Army of Cossack origin and fellow native of the Caucasus region. The family background of his parents is vividly brought to life in the opening chapters of August , and in the later Red Wheel novels. On 15 June, shortly after her pregnancy was confirmed, Isaakiy was killed in a hunting accident. Aleksandr was raised by his widowed mother and his aunt in lowly circumstances.

His earliest years coincided with the Russian Civil War. By the family property had been turned into a collective farm. His educated mother who never remarried encouraged his literary and scientific learnings and raised him in the Russian Orthodox faith; [14] [15] she died in This eventually led to the novel August ; some of the chapters he wrote then still survive.

At the same time he took correspondence courses from the Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History, at this time heavily ideological in scope. As he himself makes clear, he did not question the state ideology or the superiority of the Soviet Union until he spent time in the camps. He was awarded the Order of the Red Star on 8 July for sound-ranging two German artillery batteries and adjusting counterbattery fire onto them, resulting in their destruction.

A few years later, in the forced labor camp, he memorized a poem titled " Prussian Nights " about a woman raped to death in East Prussia. In this poem, which describes the gang-rape of a Polish woman whom the Red Army soldiers mistakenly thought to be a German, [21] the first-person narrator comments on the events with sarcasm and refers to the responsibility of official Soviet writers like Ilya Ehrenburg.

On 9 May , it was announced that Germany had surrendered and all of Moscow broke out in celebrations with fireworks and searchlights illuminating the sky to celebrate the victory in the Great Patriotic War.

From his cell in the Lubyanka, Solzhenitsyn remembered: "Above the muzzle of our window, and from all the other cells of the Lubyanka, and from all the windows of the Moscow prisons, we too, former prisoners of war and former front-line soldiers, watched the Moscow heavens, patterned with fireworks and crisscrossed with beams of searchlights.

There was no rejoicing in our cells and no hugs and no kisses for us. That victory was not ours". This was the normal sentence for most crimes under Article 58 at the time. During his imprisonment at the camp in the town of Ekibastuz in Kazakhstan, he worked as a miner, bricklayer, and foundry foreman. One of his fellow political prisoners, Ion Moraru , remembers that Solzhenitsyn spent some of his time at Ekibastuz writing.

His cancer was not diagnosed at the time. In March , after his sentence ended, Solzhenitsyn was sent to internal exile for life at Birlik, [32] a village in Baidibek district of South Kazakhstan region of Kazakhstan Kok-terek rural district. In , he was permitted to be treated in a hospital in Tashkent , where his tumor went into remission.

His experiences there became the basis of his novel Cancer Ward and also found an echo in the short story "The Right Hand".

It was during this decade of imprisonment and exile that Solzhenitsyn abandoned Marxism and developed the philosophical and religious positions of his later life, gradually becoming a philosophically-minded Eastern Orthodox Christian as a result of his experience in prison and the camps. These "early" works, largely unknown in the West, were published for the first time in Russian in and excerpted in English in They divorced in , a year before his release, because wives of Gulag prisoners faced loss of work or residence permits.

After the end of his internal exile, they remarried in , [40] divorcing a second time in The following year Solzhenitsyn married his second wife, Natalia Dmitrievna Svetlova, a mathematician who had a son from a brief prior marriage. Following his return from exile, Solzhenitsyn was, while teaching at a secondary school during the day, spending his nights secretly engaged in writing. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech he wrote that "during all the years until , not only was I convinced I should never see a single line of mine in print in my lifetime, but, also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read anything I had written because I feared this would become known.

We must root out this evil. These would be the last of his works published in the Soviet Union until It caused as much of a sensation in the Soviet Union as it did in the West—not only by its striking realism and candor, but also because it was the first major piece of Soviet literature since the s on a politically charged theme, written by a non-party member, indeed a man who had been to Siberia for "libelous speech" about the leaders, and yet its publication had been officially permitted.

Most Soviet readers realized this, but after Khrushchev had been ousted from power in , the time for such raw exposing works came to an end.

Andrei Kirilenko , a Politburo member. Solzhenitsyn made an unsuccessful attempt, with the help of Tvardovsky, to have his novel Cancer Ward legally published in the Soviet Union.

This required the approval of the Union of Writers. Though some there appreciated it, the work was ultimately denied publication unless it was to be revised and cleaned of suspect statements and anti-Soviet insinuations. Meanwhile, Solzhenitsyn continued to secretly and feverishly work upon the most well-known of all his writings, The Gulag Archipelago. The seizing of his novel manuscript first made him desperate and frightened, but gradually he realized that it had set him free from the pretenses and trappings of being an "officially acclaimed" writer, something which had come close to second nature, but which was becoming increasingly irrelevant.

In , he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He could not receive the prize personally in Stockholm at that time, since he was afraid he would not be let back into the Soviet Union. Instead, it was suggested he should receive the prize in a special ceremony at the Swedish embassy in Moscow. The Swedish government refused to accept this solution because such a ceremony and the ensuing media coverage might upset the Soviet Union and damage Swedish-Soviet relations.

Instead, Solzhenitsyn received his prize at the ceremony after he had been expelled from the Soviet Union. The Gulag Archipelago was composed from to It was a three-volume, seven-part work on the Soviet prison camp system. An editorial in Pravda on 14 January accused Solzhenitsyn of supporting "Hitlerites" and making "excuses for the crimes of the Vlasovites and Bandera gangs.

He was given an honorary literary degree from Harvard University in and on 8 June he gave a commencement address, condemning, among other things, the press, the lack of spirituality and traditional values, and the anthropocentrism of Western culture. Among other active measures, at least three StB agents became translators and secretaries of Solzhenitsyn one of them translated the poem Prussian Nights , keeping KGB informed regarding all contacts by Solzhenitsyn.

Among other things, the writer constantly received envelopes with photographs of car accidents, brain surgery and other frightening illustrations. His influence and moral authority for the West diminished as he became increasingly isolated and critical of Western individualism. KGB and CPSU experts finally concluded that he alienated American listeners by his "reactionary views and intransigent criticism of the US way of life", so no further active measures would be required.

By , four "knots" parts had been completed and he had also written several shorter works. Despite spending almost two decades in the United States, Solzhenitsyn did not become fluent in spoken English.

He had, however, been reading English-language literature since his teens, encouraged by his mother. At the same time, liberals and secularists became increasingly critical of what they perceived as his reactionary preference for Russian nationalism and the Russian Orthodox religion.

Solzhenitsyn also harshly criticised what he saw as the ugliness and spiritual vapidity of the dominant pop culture of the modern West, including television and much of popular music: " In a major speech delivered to the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein on 14 September , Solzhenitsyn implored the West not to "lose sight of its own values, its historically unique stability of civic life under the rule of law—a hard-won stability which grants independence and space to every private citizen.

He called for Russia to "renounce all mad fantasies of foreign conquest and begin the peaceful long, long long period of recuperation," as he put it in a BBC interview with Janis Sapiets. Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia after nearly 20 years in exile.

In , his Soviet citizenship was restored, and, in , he returned to Russia with his wife, Natalia, who had become a United States citizen. Their sons stayed behind in the United States later, his eldest son Yermolai returned to Russia. From then until his death, he lived with his wife in a dacha in Troitse-Lykovo in west Moscow between the dachas once occupied by Soviet leaders Mikhail Suslov and Konstantin Chernenko.

A staunch believer in traditional Russian culture, Solzhenitsyn expressed his disillusionment with post-Soviet Russia in works such as Rebuilding Russia, and called for the establishment of a strong presidential republic balanced by vigorous institutions of local self-government. The latter would remain his major political theme.

Once back in Russia Solzhenitsyn hosted a television talk show program. Solzhenitsyn claimed that Frenkel was the "nerve of the Archipelago" [81] In his essay "Repentance and Self-Limitation in the Life of Nations", [82] Solzhenitsyn called for "Russian Gentiles" and Jews alike to take moral responsibility for the "renegades" from both communities who enthusiastically created a Marxist—Leninist police state after the October Revolution.

It has nothing to do with blood. He bears some resemblance to Fyodor Dostoyevsky , who was a fervent Christian and patriot and a rabid anti-Semite. Solzhenitsyn himself claimed that the essay consists of manuscripts stolen from him, and then manipulated, forty years ago.

He defended moderate and self-critical patriotism as opposed to extreme nationalism , urged local self-government to a free Russia, and expressed concerns for the fate of the 25 million ethnic Russians in the " near abroad " of the former Soviet Union. Andrew , in Yeltsin decreed I be honored the highest state order. I replied that I was unable to receive an award from a government that had led Russia into such dire straits.

It would have been difficult to design a path out of communism worse than the one that has been followed.

The elder political generation in communist countries is not ready for repentance, while the new generation is only too happy to voice grievances and level accusations, with present-day Moscow [as] a convenient target. They behave as if they heroically liberated themselves and lead a new life now, while Moscow has remained communist.

Nevertheless, I dare [to] hope that this unhealthy phase will soon be over, that all the peoples who have lived through communism will understand that communism is to blame for the bitter pages of their history. Do those convinced pacifists hear the moans coming from there? This resulted in Soviet domination and oppression of the nations of Eastern Europe.

Solzhenitsyn claimed the Western democracies apparently cared little about how many died in the East, as long as they could end the war quickly and painlessly for themselves in the West.

Delivering the commencement address at Harvard University in , he called the United States spiritually weak and mired in vulgar materialism. Americans, he said, speaking in Russian through a translator, suffered from a "decline in courage" and a "lack of manliness. He condemned both the United States government and American society for its "hasty" capitulation in the Vietnam War.

He said that the West erred in measuring other civilizations by its own model. While faulting Soviet society for denying fair legal treatment of people, he also faulted the West for being too legalistic: "A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities.

At one fell stroke, these families could be torn apart by a new dividing line, the border of a military bloc. He asserted that Imperial Russia did not practice any real censorship in the style of the Soviet Glavlit , [] that political prisoners typically were not forced into labor camps , [] and that the number of political prisoners and exiles was only one ten-thousandth of those in the Soviet Union. He also compared the Vendean rebels with the Russian, Ukrainian, and Cossack peasants who rebelled against the Bolsheviks, saying that both were destroyed mercilessly by revolutionary despotism.

However, he commented that, while the French Reign of Terror ended with the toppling of the Jacobins and the execution of Maximilien Robespierre , its Soviet equivalent continued to accelerate until the Khrushchev thaw of the s.

He believed that all the traditional culture of all ethnic groups were equally oppressed in favor of an atheism and Marxist—Leninism. Russian culture was even more repressed than any other culture in the Soviet Union, since the regime was more afraid of ethnic uprisings among Russian Christians than among any other ethnicity. Therefore, Solzhenitsyn argued, Russian nationalism and the Orthodox Church should not be regarded as a threat by the West but rather as allies. Solzhenitsyn discussed his writing, the evolution of his language and style, his family and his outlook on the future—and stated his wish to return to Russia in his lifetime, not just to see his books eventually printed there.

The documentary covers events related to creation and publication of The Gulag Archipelago.


Cancer Ward

E-mail: li. These natural phenomena stand as a metaphor for the unnatural decisions of the powers that thaw and freeze political freedom. Diverse characters, put together in the oncology ward of a provincial hospital, have two things in common: they all suffer from a malignancy and all are citizens of the great USSR, which is going through the momentous changes of de-Stalinization. However, here is where all similarities break down.



Shelves: historical , russian-lit , x-acto-knives-are-nice-and-shiny , eastern-european-lit , iron-curtain-lit , exceeded-my-expectations , soviet , in-translation Do I remember the Cold War? You bet I do. I think about it every day. It is as fundamental a part of my upbringing -- as defining of me as Catholicism, American Patriotism, Canadian Anti-Americanism, homophobia, abuse and bisexuality. In my household, with an American father, a U. Coast Guard Squadron One -- and wanted to go -- when the U.

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