Solzhenitsyn's widow takes Putin to task
Thursday 30 July 2009
Vladimir Putin received a rare public rebuff from the widow of Alexander Solzhenitsyn for using the term "propaganda" in discussing the author's account of Soviet Gulag life, The Gulag Archipelago.
The Prime Minister, a scion of the Soviet intelligence world that suppressed Solzhenitsyn's works for most of his life, had meant only praise in proposing his account of the horrors of camp life for Russia's school curriculum.
Language, however, can be a sensitive matter. In Soviet Russia, Communist rulers saw "propaganda" as a healthy weapon to be used against enemies of the state. To enemies of the state such as Solzhenitsyn it was an evil to be combated.
"In just a few days we will mark a year since Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn passed away," Mr Putin began, in welcoming Natalya Solzhenitsyna to his office. "Remembering this, I would like to return today to the issue we have discussed with Alexander Isayevich – the propaganda of his work, studying..."
Solzhenitsyn's widow would apparently have none of it. "I would rather say studying, than propaganda," she interrupted, according to a government transcript. "Learning is better than propaganda."
Mr Putin promptly corrected himself. "...learning of his literary heritage," he said.
Solzhenitsyn, himself a strong patriot who respected Mr Putin for his efforts to restore Russia as a power, died last year at the age of 89. His widow said that one or two lessons on the monumental The Gulag Archipelago should be enough "to rekindle" its importance in students' hearts.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...