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Drawing on his own incarceration and exile as well as on evidence from than 200 fellow prisoners and Soviet archives Aleksandr I Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression the state within the state that ruled all powerfully Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its vict. Solzhenitsyn systematically goes through the horrors of the Soviet slave labour camps one of the blackest chapters in world history I read this book as a teenager not long after it came out and I was appalled that my parents had presented the Soviet Union as anything other than a monstrosity For some reason leftist people wouldn t properly admit it for a long time I still can t uite understand why If you feel any shadow of sympathy for Soviet Russia read Solzhenitsyn and you will be cured One of the first myths he explodes is that it was all Stalin s fault and that Lenin was basically a good guy Lenin just happened to die early so it wasn t as obvious that he was eually to blame Solzhenitsyn recounts a comparatively minor and unknown incident from the revolution where Lenin brutally orders some railway workers to be executed for not fully cooperating with the Bolsheviks As he comments just for this one episode Lenin fully deserved to be shot He was responsible for dozens of much worse things

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Архипелаг ГУЛАГ Arhipelag GULAG 1918 1956

Defenseless endured great brutality and degradation The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 a grisly indictment of a regime fashioned here into a veritable literary miracle has now been updated with a new introduction that includes the fall of the Soviet Union and Solzhenitsyn's move back to Russia. Each of us is a center of the Universe and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you You are under arrest So Solzhenitsyn s journey into the gulag began in 1945 where he spent eight years This is a personal history by a survivor of the false arrest the long prison sentence the brutal dehumanizing treatment that sends shivers up the spine Solzhenitsyn also reports the experiences of many others Each report is heartfelt Solzhenitsyn changed history by once and for all undermining the mythical image of the Soviet Communist Party as a party for the workers He convincingly exposed the brutality and hypocrisy of the Soviet system under Lenin Stalin and after It begins with the arrest for a few critical words or having a friend who uttered them or not turning in your friend or just to fill a uota Such is the job of the bluecaps the SMERSH the apparatchiks of the State Security system the interrogators whose job it is to get confessions Their job is not to determine guilt or innocence That is irrelevant Their instructions are clear Stalin has enemies You must deliver them If you do the rewards are great If you don t you will be gone This is how the gulags were filled Perhaps most surprising is how effective the secrecy was The average Soviet citizen knew people were watched and arrested or disappeared but were ignorant of the scope Many in the West were taken in by Soviet propaganda While Stalin s purges in the late thirties unsettled some admirers in the West for others it took Solzhenitsyn to show them the true nature of Soviet societyFor many incarceration was automatic All returning prisoners of war in WWII were sent to camps Similarly Russians who for any reason spent time in the West were sent to camps Anyone who performed any function under the German occupation was sent to camp These millions were added to the millions of political prisoners from the great purges and routine surveillance Solzhenitsyn describes the special camps prisons prison trains and the horrific penalty cells Inmates were routinely crowded into small dirty vermin infested unheated compartments and cells For those that complained or attempted escape the penalty cells served up a wide variety of torture In camps inmates lived in primitive huts or crowded barracks sleeping together in confined spaces Many were not even allowed correspondence These unfortunates could receive no news of loved ones nor could their loved ones know anything about them Cut off completely from any prior life they ceased to exist to the outside world Here inmates worked off their 10 or 25 year sentences if they lived that long and their sentences were not extended Even if fortunate enough to eventually be released they were sent with nothing but the rags on their backs to internal exile in some remote desert or tundraSolzhenitsyn details the constant humiliations the beatings the tortures the starvation diets of gruel and bread crusts He describes the work harsh and meaningless hour after hour day after day without respite Some camps intentionally worked the inmates to death Other camps were designated to contribute to the five year plans to dig canals to lay train tracks The inmates received nothing for this and the uality of the work reflected their motivation This use of prisoners kept the uotas high for the State Security systemSolzhenitsyn tells us about the inmates Typically dispirited subject to a system designed to bring out the worst behavior at times they support each other but all too often it is each person out for him or herself He describes their captors how they live off the system Upon arrival they take any remaining inmates possessions and the best looking young women for private mistresses Afterword they steal the inmate s food and use their labor for their personal gain Deprived of every dignity and every hope some inmates finally come to acceptance and Solzhenitsyn describes its remarkable effect on the soul a feeling of uietness peace In his seventh year of prison Solzhenitsyn experiences an epiphany looking back I saw that for my whole conscious life I had not understood either myself or my strivingsIn the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible and I was therefore cruelAnd it was only when I lay there rotting on the prison straw that I sensed in myself the first stirrings of good Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states nor between classes nor between political parties either but right through every human hearteven within hearts overwhelmed by evil one small bridgehead of good is retained And even in the best of all hearts there remainsan uprooted small corner of evil Thus Solzhenitsyn does not condemn the secret policeman the interrogator the camp guard as inherently evil If only it were so simple If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he s doing is goodIdeology That is what gives evildoing its long sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination Thanks to ideology the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing calculated on a scale in the millions In our present time of rising populist nationalism we should not forget Solzhenitsyn s warning There is always this fallacious belief It would not be the same here here such things are impossible Alas all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth Yet I have not given up all hope that human beings and nations may be able in spite of all to learn from the experience of other people without having to go through it personally

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Ims men women and children we encounter secret police operations labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations the welcome that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war Yet we also witness the astounding moral courage of the incorruptible who. One of my all time favoritesOne of the accounts from the book that still makes me laugh you read that right though I shouldn t really isA political meeting was going on with about 1000 2000 people present in the hall somewhere in USSR I can t recall the exact location and time of the event Now the desiderata for survival in Stalin era was that everyone should stand up and clap their hands furiously at the mention of his name and you don t want to be the one to stop clapping first This might suggest that you oppose Comrade Stalin how dare you O ye of feeble bourgeois mentality So at this assembly someone inevitably mentioned Stalin s name Right at that exact moment the whole congregation stood up and began to clap without forgetting to put a beaming stupid smile on their faces Now you can t be sure that if Cheka agents are watching you at that moment or not And over you cannot stop clapping before your neighbor does as heshe might inform on you So this went on for 8 minutes I tried clapping for 10 seconds myself and came to the conclusion that you clap twice in a second if you are doing it with gusto fake or genuine So they battered their hands together for at least 900 timesAfter smashing their hands together until they began to hurt the highest ranking local member of the Party at the meeting decided that this was getting ridiculous even by then Soviet Standards He thought that 8 minutes of clapping and smiling was enough for showing their loyalty for a singular mention of Comrade Stalin s name So he slowly stopped clapping and sat down The congregation took no than half a second to do likewise following his lead Nobody spoke anything about the event in the concluding hours of the meeting But I am pretty much sure that everybody made certain that they didn t mention Stalin s name again for rest of the eveningNext day the Party member was arrested and never heard from againThis book would have been comical if it would have been a work of fiction rather than non fiction But alas that is not the case which makes it a sad sad collection of numerous accounts of human suffering under Soviet tyranny


10 thoughts on “Архипелаг ГУЛАГ Arhipelag GULAG 1918 1956

  1. says:

    Solzhenitsyn systematically goes through the horrors of the Soviet slave labour camps one of the blackest chapters in world history I read this book as a teenager not long after it came out and I was appalled that my parents

  2. says:

    I can not in clear conscience say that I really like a book about Soviet Gulags To be honest I repeatedly reached my limit of emotional energ

  3. says:

    I read this in 1974 in a bad situation in my life This put a bad situation in America in a totally new light I wish Americans would listen and have listened to SolzhenitsynUpdate I don't know how many of you have followed thediscussion that has been going on here but it inspired me to extend this review a little The above is the ori

  4. says:

    I began ploughing through this book in the dreary and climacteric era of my workplace coming of age A uickly promoted amateur in a wo

  5. says:

    Given its historical importance I fully expected that The Gulag Archipelago would be a lofty read What I didn't expect was that it works so well as a story Instead of being a straight history book Gulag lies somewhere between journalism and hi

  6. says:

    One of my all time favoritesOne of the accounts from the book that still makes me laugh you read that right though I shouldn't really isA political meeting was going on with about 1000 2000 people present in the hall somewhere in USSR

  7. says:

    “Each of us is a center of the Universe and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you “You are under arrest” So Solzhenitsyn’s journey into the gulag began in 1945 where he spent eight years This is a personal history by a survivor of the false arrest the long prison sentence the brutal dehumanizing treatment that se

  8. says:

    A bleak and unremittingly grim account of the gulags between 1918 and 1956 narrative history rather than Solzhenitsyn’s usual literary voice There are occasional flashes of hope and redemption but these are few Solzhenitsyn provides a historical account reasoning through the state’s decision making process and covering all the

  9. says:

    This is a wonderful book but like many Russian authors Solzhenitsyn goes on too long too often and all the excess verbiage takes away rather than adds to the enjoyment and understanding of the book However this does not mean that some idiot librarian has the right to decide that all seven I think it was 7 volumes of the book should be divided willy nilly into just three volumes So The Gulag Archipelago 1918 1956 An Experiment in Literary

  10. says:

    I view people that cling to the tenets of communism the same way I view Holocaust deniers From the Bolsheviks of 1917 to the turmoil in Venezuela of 2017; Communism is as Churchill said; the eual sharing of misery The pages of Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize winning masterpiece are full of misery Solzhenitsyn paints a picture for the naïve we