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Reading Архипелаг ГУЛАГ, 1918-1956 By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn –

Drawing On His Own Incarceration And Exile, As Well As On Evidence From ThanFellow 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 Victims 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, Defenseless, Endured Great Brutality And Degradation The Gulag Archipelago 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

10 thoughts on “Архипелаг ГУЛАГ, 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 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 quite 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 equally 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.

  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 energy The story of any one of the 20 million people directly affected would have impact.Oh, right He tried that first, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich In a lot of ways, this a response to critics and deniers of his earlier book.

  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 Solzhenitsyn.Update 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 original review in which I simply urged people to read the book for themselves as it has much to say and is applicable in many ways to events happening now.The book traces the history of the Soviet Gulag and then the willing refusal to look at the Gulag system that went on till the 80s well after the book s publication.I still recommend this book I doubt anyone will have trouble seeing the resemblance between the Gulags and the Concentration Camps of the Third Reichunless of course by willful ignorance There has also been a suggestion that Solzhenitsyn was antisemitic This apparently came from the controversy over his book Two Hundred Years Together where he says that some Jews were as much perpetrators as victims in Russia I can t take a stand on this but so far as I can see it s not antisemitism it s simply part of the book It was intended to be a comprehensive history of Jews in Russia.So far as THIS book goes I still recommend it and suggest as I do about all books that it be approached while thinking.

  4. 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 history, and Solzhenitsyn s narrative voice is familiar and engaging The book feels less like a history lesson, and like a conversation with a good friend who knows how to put together and express an interesting, important, heartbreaking, and unforgettable story A narrative about the Soviet prison camps seems like it would be so weighty as to be unreadable, but Solzhenitsyn makes it surprisingly palatable It s quite refreshing when you read a classic for the first time, and instantly understand where all the hype came from.

  5. says:

    One of my all time favorites.One of the accounts from the book that still makes me laugh you read that right, though I shouldn t really is A 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 he she 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 times.After 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 evening.Next day, the Party member was arrested and never heard from again.This 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.

  6. 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 process of prison and exile from arrest to release not so many reached release There are detailed descriptions of the food, interrogations, torture, sanitary arrangements, travel, weather, clothing, the guards, stool pigeons, the daily work, rebellions, hunger strikes, executions, cells, relationships between the sexes and exile It is comprehensive and Solzhenitsyn does not spare the reader He also outlines some of the policies which led to the gulags, the architects of them primarily Lenin and Stalin and provides some estimates of the death toll generally from the gulags, starvation and land clearance figures are in the tens of millions all told It is an indictment of what Lenin and Stalin made of Marx in the Russian situation and some of the logical inconsistencies in the system you achieve the withering away of the state by making it bigger The whole thing is a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit There are occasional flashes of humour the party meeting where no one wants to be the first to stop clapping and so it goes on for over 8 minutes springs to mind The book is of historical importance placing the origins of the gulag with Lenin rather than Stalin he just exploited and perfected it It is a must read and there isn t a lot to say Anyone who wants to understand Soviet history has to read this.

  7. 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 Investigation, Books III IV has all sorts of volumes combined in it, volume 2, volume 4 etc WTF

  8. 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 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 quota 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 society.For 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 tundra.Solzhenitsyn 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 quality of the work reflected their motivation This use of prisoners kept the quotas high for the State Security system.Solzhenitsyn 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 quietness, 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 strivings In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel And 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 heart even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained And even in the best of all hearts, there remains an 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 good..Ideology 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.

  9. says:

    Own only what you can always carry with you know languages, know countries, know people Let your memory be your travel bag.Soljen tsin H livros que nunca deveriam ter sido escritos, mas que devem ser lidos Uma obra e um homem por tr s dela surpreendentes Soljen tsin dedicou se a escrev la a partir de 1965, num lugar secreto na Est nia Durante dois invernos seguidos 65 dias no primeiro e 81 no segundo escreveu, escreveu e s escreveu Sozinho, sem vizinhos, cheio de precau es e com pouco mais do que alguma lenha e comida que ca ava, f lo em mem ria de todos os torturados e mortos no Gulag extraordin ria a resili ncia do autor n o s por ter sobrevivido aos campos de trabalho corretivo e a um tumor canceroso quando era ainda prisioneiro , mas tb por se propor a reviver e a sentir novamente a dor das atrocidades A partir da sua experi ncia e principalmente do testemunho de 227 pessoas, que lhe chegaram em forma de relatos , recorda es e cartas , criou um extenso livro de Hist ria , de mem rias pessoais , de reflex o pol tica e filos fica O Arquip lago est dividido em sete cap tulos A Ind stria Prisional Movimento Perp tuo Exterm nio pelo Trabalho A Alma e o Arame Farpado Os Trabalhos For ados O Desterro N o h Estaline , que se subdividem em cap tulos menores O Gulag referido na obra como a esp tula gigantesca, o tumor canceroso o lado escuro das nossas vidas o f gado dos acontecimentos era o sistema dos campos de trabalho for ado A Alma Mater do Gulag, express o de Soljen tsin, s o as ilhas Solovki, onde um mosteiro da Igreja Ortodoxa Russa foi transformado no primeiro campo de trabalho por decreto de Lenine Estaline deu asas insanidade e esticou milh es de quil metros de arame farpado por todo o pa s, nascendo assim um arquip lago tenebroso Soljen tsin foi preso, aos 26 anos, em 1944, devido a correspond ncia interceptada pela censura A um amigo da escola referia se a Estaline como o Cabecilha por ter tra do a revolu o, pela deslealdade e crueldade N o se podia sussurrar quanto mais escrever o que se pensava, por isso enfrentou o Artigo Cinquenta e Oito do c digo penal Era com ele que se condenavam os inimigos do povo conceito usado pela primeira vez neste artigo , os suspeitos de atividades contra revolucion rias Foi com ele que milhares de inocentes tiveram acesso r pido e direto ao inferno Era se preso por qualquer coisa e por coisa nenhuma por se ter um carrinho de linhas, por se pertencer a um grupo ou classe social, por se chegar atrasado ao trabalho, por se ser esteta 10 anos e at por se ser parecido com Estaline Os ind genas do Gulag morriam de exaust o e tamb m de escorbuto,tuberculose, fome, tortura, distrofia alimentar, edema de car ncia ou por estarem 1 mil metro desalinhados da fila era se reeducado eficazmente com tiro Grandes obras foram constru das pelos zeks a custo zero, por isso os campos eram economicamente vantajosos A primeira grande constru o foi a do Bielomorkanal Estaline forneceu as diretrizes o canal deve ser constru do num curto prazo e ficar barato Assim, um canal com 227 km de comprimento, do Mar Branco ao B ltico, ficou pronto em 22 meses custa de 30 mil homens Foi inaugurado no 1 de Maio O canal do Suez com 160 km foi constru do em 10 anos e o do Panam , com 80 km, em 28.No campo de Kolim , na Sib ria, era dia de trabalho com 45 ou 50 graus negativos Os presos, protegidos com farrapos, trabalhavam as mesmas horas que nos outros campos , 16 ou mais Soljenitsin foi meticuloso no relato que nos deixou Nada ou quase nada do que se viveu entre 1918 a 1956 foi esquecido N o h nenhum monumento no seu pa s em mem ria destas v timas Deixou lhes ele este tributo Nestas p ginas, o Cabecilha tamb m o Grande Celerado ou ironicamente, o Tigre Brincalh o , o Amigo, ou o Genial Estratega de todos os tempos Quis o Amado Mestre ficar conhecido como Stalin, que significa homem de ferro De ferro era, mas a sua m e queria o mais male vel seminarista

  10. says:

    They have tightly bound my body, but my soul is beyond their power Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn s The Gulag Archipelago is probably the greatest and most disturbing account of human rights violations and political oppression Now I look around me and see other people stress over nothing, and am disgusted by their egotistical self centeredness.