Solzhenitsyn and Russia under Putin Today

Veteran socialist and “always a dissident”, Boris Kagarlitsky, who spent years in jail in the former Soviet Union and has represented the nearest to what can be termed as the New Left in Russia on the wholesale privatization being pursued by Vladmir Putin. According to Kagarlitsky, the current wave of privatization is on pace with the heyday of Yegor Gaidar and Boris Yeltsin in the early 1990s.

The regime clearly sees privatization as the height of sober economic forecasting and sound thinking. Only one unpleasant detail remains: What do you do with all the people? The government’s current model of economic development will only support a population of 40 million to 50 million people. You have to wonder what they plan to do with the 100 million left over.

The government might as well take the logical next step — “to dissolve the people and elect another,” as Bertolt Brecht once sarcastically proposed. In the end it could simply declare the whole country unprofitable and close it down.

(original here)

Meanwhile, the failed prophet Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn makes a ‘comeback‘ with a TV serial based on his novel The First Circle. Undoubtedly one of the unforgettable novels of the writer, it painted a sordid picture of Stalin, it is interesting to see how it is being received in Russia today.

It has at least prompted debate. The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, denounced the series as “an absolutely sideways glance at Soviet history.”

Others drew unflattering parallels to more recent events, from the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former owner of Yukos Oil, to political attacks on human rights organizations.

Ernst Cherny of the Citizens’ Committee in Defense of Scientists said the book’s criticisms of the system still apply, citing accusations against several scientists, including a physicist, Valentin Danilov, who was convicted in 2004 on charges of selling to the Chinese satellite technology that his lawyers said was publicly available.

Today’s security services, Cherny said, have learned nothing from Solzhenitsyn’s indictment of Stalin’s capricious justice.

“They see nothing strange in what they are doing today,” Cherny said at a news conference last week, “and in the way it was all described by Solzhenitsyn.”

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