Friday, May 28, 2021

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “Live Not by Lies”

We might summarize the Good News this way: each day, Jesus Christ invites us to walk with him on the difficult yet glorious path of freedom which is based on truth, expressed through love, and ends in eternal life. At the same time, the world, flesh, and Devil daily bully, bribe, and deceive us into choosing the easy yet shameful path of power which is based on lies, expressed through violence, and ends in despair, destruction, and death (Matthew 7:13-14).

Strangely enough, Alexander Solzhenitsyn first discovered his life was based on lies while fighting on the German Front during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). Writing to an old classmate, he shared his realization that Joseph Stalin—ruler of the revolutionary Soviet Union—had betrayed the Revolution. For sharing this insight, he was sentenced to eight years at a work camp. Even so, he committed himself to learning the truth and to sharing it especially with his fellow Soviet citizens by writing.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (2): Author, Exile, Anachronism

 Author (1962-2008)

After a year of various struggles, Tvardovsky managed to publish One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. It was soon translated, published, and distributed throughout the West. Solzhenitsyn became famous inside and outside the Soviet Union. The following year, Tvardovsky published other stories by Solzhenitsyn.

In 1964, Leonid Brezhnev wrested power over the Soviet government from Nikita Khrushchev and sent him into retirement. He rejected Krushchev’s willingness to see challenging stories published. No other works by Solzhenitsyn were printed in the USSR until it neared collapse.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1): Student, Soldier, Prisoner, Teacher

 Student (1918-1941)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born on December 11, 1918, in Kislovodsk, a city in the Caucasus region of southern Russia. His father, Isaaki, was an artillery officer who fought on the German Front from 1914 until the Russian army was demobilized in 1918. His mother, Taisia, grew up in a landowning family and was able to learn French and English. His father died in a hunting accident six months before his birth. Shortly after his birth, his mother took him to Rostov-on-Don and raised him there, supporting them both by working as a secretary.