All posts tagged Solzhenitsyn

The problem with Solzhenitsyn

Not entirely in the festive spirit, I’ve been reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Invisible Allies (trans. Alexis Klimoff and Michael Nicholson; London: Harvill, 1997) with my usual set of mixed feelings. He’s not the greatest writer the world has ever seen, but he is very readable. Last time I read The Gulag Archipelago in full, I couldn’t […]

Fairytale and reality in Gulag narratives

The fairytale metaphor is a recurring feature a large number of Gulag narratives, both fictional and non-fictional, and it stands out because most of these texts are otherwise determinedly unmetaphoric. Amid the stark language habitually used to narrate the experience of the Gulag, aimed at depicting the harshness of reality, there are recurring images of […]

Russian history under threat, again

I was planning to write about something entirely different today, but the arrest of Mikhail Suprun, a historian from Arkhangelsk who is researching Germans sent to the ¬†Gulag in the Stalin era, is worrying news which deserves comment. This is the most recent in a series of attacks on academic freedom and integrity relating to […]

Gulag art

While I am usually pleased by events which raise the public profile of the Gulag, I am distinctly less comfortable with its use for anti-Russian/anti-Soviet propaganda by neoconservative American think-tanks who have failed to notice that the Cold War ended twenty years ago, as in the case of the ¬†Heritage Foundation’s current exhibition of Nikolai […]

Gulag: Note to writers and editors (2)

The incorrect use of ‘Gulag’ pales into insignificance when compared to the remarkable inappropriateness with which it is employed at times. When I recently received a Google News Alert directing me to an article titled What you need to know to survive the airlines’ gulag, I innocently imagined I had reached the nadir of Gulag […]