Sunday, September 13, 2009

Solzhenitsyn: From Samizdat to Required Reading in One Generation

Several Western media outlets reported last week that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's once-banned writings are now required reading in Russian high schools. The press accounts speculated that with a reconstituted communist party gaining strength, using The Gulag Archipelago to call out the epochal crimes committed in the name of communism had become a timely political card for the Putin/Medvedev regime to play.

Will this work as intended? One suspects that "the cunning of history" (Hegel) may show itself again, in ways Putin and Medvedev cannot even remotely conceive of. Indeed, one could quote Marx himself (from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte ) on the gap that can exist between cause and effect: "Men make their own history, but not just as they choose."

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