Solzhenitsyn Urges Slavic Nation to Replace U.S.S.R. : Dissent: Exiled writer launches a vehement attack on Gorbachev’s policies. His article will be distributed widely in the Soviet Union.
Exiled writer Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, given a public platform by the Soviet press, called Tuesday for establishment of an all-Slav state to replace the Soviet Union.
In a 16,000-word article entitled “How to Revitalize Russia,” Solzhenitsyn launched a scathing attack on 70 years of Communist rule in his homeland.
“The time of communism is over,” the exiled Nobel laureate wrote. “But its concrete structure hasn’t collapsed yet. And let us not find ourselves under its rubble instead of becoming free.”
Solzhenitsyn, 71, wrote the article at his home in Cavendish, Vt. It was published in a special supplement to the reformist newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda and took up the equivalent of four full pages.
Komsomolskaya Pravda’s circulation is 22 million. The article also will be published in this week’s Literaturnaya Gazeta, a literary journal with a circulation of 4.5 million.
The publication of Solzhenitsyn’s hopes for his homeland represented another step in his official re-emergence in the Soviet Union. His long-banned books are being published in the nation that expelled him in 1974 for treason following the publication in the West of “Gulag Archipelago,” his epic work about life in Stalin’s labor camps. Last month, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev ordered his citizenship restored.
Although the article was lengthy, it was not the first time that the Soviet press has published Solzhenitsyn’s views.
In his essay, which was written in July, Solzhenitsyn sneered at Gorbachev’s policy of revitalized socialism, saying: “What has five, six years, of perestroika (Gorbachev’s program of reform) brought us except pitiful internal changes to the Central Committee, the building of an artificial electoral system to ensure the Communist Party does not lose power?”
Solzhenitsyn implicitly compared the Communist Party to prewar Germany’s Nazi Party and said the leaders of the “Marxist-Leninist utopia” ought to be judged, just as the Nazis were at Nuremberg. The KGB secret police, with its “evil 70-year history,” should be dismantled, he wrote.
“And what of the glorious driving forces of glasnost (openness) and perestroika ?” he wrote, referring to Gorbachev and his generation of party leaders. “In their collection of these fashionable words, where is the word ‘purification’ or ‘catharsis’? All the dirty mouths which for decades served totalitarianism have rushed into the new glasnost . Out of every four mouthpieces of today’s glasnost , three are former servants of Brezhnevism. Who among them has said at least one word of repentance instead of denouncing and damning the (Leonid I. Brezhnev) period?”
Solzhenitsyn, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970, called for the establishment of a Russian Union formed from the three Slavic republics of Russia, Byelorussia and the Ukraine plus a large part of Kazakhstan.
Like Gorbachev speaking to the Lithuanians, Solzhenitsyn said the process of secession needs to be slow: “It shouldn’t resemble the way the Portuguese ran from Angola, leaving behind a mess and many years of civil war.” Solzhenitsyn disavowed the need for an empire, either Soviet or Russian. Japan, he wrote, rid itself of its imperial ambitions and thrived. “We must choose,” he wrote, “between the empire which kills us and the spiritual and material salvation of our nation.”