Friday, July 27, 2007

A crushing of ideals

Thanks to anon for posting a link to an interview given by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to
Der Spiegel published earlier this week...

The fourth section is particularly pertinent and chimes totally with my own much more limited experiences of what has happened in Russia over the last 15 years and a damn sight more balanced and perceptive than the outright lies that the BBC and the rest of the owned British media continue to peddle remorselessly...

"When I returned to Russia in 1994, the Western world and its states were practically being worshipped. Admittedly, this was caused not so much by real knowledge or a conscious choice, but by the natural disgust with the Bolshevik regime and its anti-Western propaganda.

This mood started changing with the cruel NATO bombings of Serbia. It's fair to say that all layers of Russian society were deeply and indelibly shocked by those bombings. The situation then became worse when NATO started to spread its influence and draw the ex-Soviet republics into its structure. This was especially painful in the case of Ukraine, a country whose closeness to Russia is defined by literally millions of family ties among our peoples, relatives living on different sides of the national border. At one fell stroke, these families could be torn apart by a new dividing line, the border of a military bloc.

So, the perception of the West as mostly a "knight of democracy" has been replaced with the disappointed belief that pragmatism, often cynical and selfish, lies at the core of Western policies. For many Russians it was a grave disillusion, a crushing of ideals.

At the same time the West was enjoying its victory after the exhausting Cold War, and observing the 15-year-long anarchy under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. In this context it was easy to get accustomed to the idea that Russia had become almost a Third World country and would remain so forever. When Russia started to regain some of its strength as an economy and as a state, the West's reaction -- perhaps a subconscious one, based on erstwhile fears -- was panic."



Wolfie said...

Spot-on really. What else can I say? Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Sophia said...

I love Alexander Solzhenytsin. I think he is the last moral conscience in this corrupted world. He published few years ago a memoir of his 'western' years in exile "Le grain tombé entre les meules". A must read !
I read this interview.

ziz said...

I often think about Sol's western years of exile, in a luxurious gated community dacha / ranch living on the royalties ....

Rory Winter said...

Over 30 years ago, working on the night shift at BL in Cowley, I read all of Solzhenitysyn's books.

The sodium yellow, tortured steel and burnt grease environment, the long, 11-hour shifts made that factory a sort of gulag, making the background perfect.

It was my gulag and what politicised me. No human being should have to work in such conditions.

Nearly forty years on and Solzhenitsyn comments about Russia's disillusionment with the West.

Perhaps there is hope yet. If the power of the sleeping giant can be aroused once more, maybe a new (this time planetary) revolution could still happen.

Revolution will come and when it does we must liberate ourselves of all gulags, Russian or Western style.

Rory Winter

W. Shedd said...

Yes, this was one of the great interviews on Russia in recent years. I had written a bit about it also. And this section where he talks about Russians becoming disillusioned with the "West" was very telling.

I had heard that same opinion before, from Russians (including my wife) expressed in slightly different ways.

Rory Winter said...

Given the totalitarian nature of Soviet state capitalism (for that's what it was, not socialism) it is understandable that Russians should have been "illusioned" by western capitalism.

Let's hope their disillusion grows and along with disenchantment in the west that it will lead to revolution.

Nothing else will change way things are and they are only going to get worse.