Russians 'bored' by sage Solzhenitsyn
Sunday 12 January 1997
Despite what the West thinks, democracy does not exist in post-Communist Russia, the great man argued; nor does freedom of the press. For the past decade, the Russian government had not taken "a single step unmarked by ineptitude". The country is run by a power-hungry oligarchy of 150 to 200 people, who are morally no better than their Communist predecessors.
This was far from the first time that the Nobel Prize winner has taken his motherland to task. But his piece, published four days before Boris Yeltsin was whisked off to hospital with pneumonia, reviving claims that the country is adrift, was one of his most strident indictments to date. You might think, then, that it would have aroused a twinge of interest, a frisson of indignation even.
Alas, no. The article, partially reprinted by the International Herald Tribune, has been ignored by Russia's media. Many journalists - not to mention the public - were unaware of its existence.
Two and a half years after his hugely publicised return from 18 years of exile in the US, Solzhenitsyn's voice is attracting less and
less attention in Russia. He has fallen victim to the fate of Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher. They are revered as history's giants abroad, even by their ideological opponents. But back home, the yawns are deafening.
His descent into domestic neglect has been under way for well over a year. Shortly after his return home, Russian Public Television gave him a 15-minute programme. Twice a month, Russians could tune in to his laments about the state of the nation, and the need to return to traditional spiritual and cultural roots.
In September 1995, as Russia geared up for parliamentary elections, the programme was abruptly hauled off the air. His wife, Natalia, blamed Soviet- style censorship. But the general consensus was otherwise. The bearded old prophet was, quite simply, boring. "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is worth more than all the days of Solzhenitsyn on television," carped the writer Konstantin Kedrov.
Yet there is more to it than mere ennui. For many Russians, he has become a figure whose exposure of the crimes of Stalin and Soviet Communism has deservedly earned him a place in history - but not in the present. "He is not talking about issues that people care about today, like money, foreign currency supplies, consumer goods, apartments," says Viktor Kremenyuk, a political analyst. In a country where most people's lives are bound up with the struggle to survive, ideologues are out of fashion.
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Robin Thicke named sexist of the year 2013
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
Apollo Theatre collapse: Scores injured after ceiling collapses in London's West End
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- 5 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- < Previous
- Next >
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The London office of this Bi...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: An opportunity has arisen fo...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This leading firm are lookin...
Salary £35-55K Plus Generous Benefits Package including Car,Pension ,and Health...