Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

(Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Born: December 11, 1918
  • Died: August 3, 2008
  • Nationality: Russian
  • Profession: Author

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61

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Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer. He was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and communism and helped to raise global awareness of its Gulag forced labor camp system. He was allowed to publish only one work in the Soviet Union, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), in the periodical Novy Mir. After this he had to publish in the West, most notably Cancer Ward (1968), August 1914 (1971), and The Gulag Archipelago (1973). Solzhenitsyn was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature". Solzhenitsyn was afraid to go to Stockholm to receive his award for fear that he would not be allowed to reenter. He was eventually expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but returned to Russia in 1994 after the state's dissolution.

Quotes About
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… the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains…an unuprooted small corner of evil. Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;War & Peace
For a country to have a great writer ... is like having another government. That’s why no régime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
For us in Russia communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
In the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day . . . a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevents independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life. Freedom & Liberty ;Media, Journalism & The Press
Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Justice & Injustice
Mankind's salvation lies exclusively in everyone's making everything his business, in the people of the East being anything but indifferent to what is thought in the West, and in the people of the West being anything but indifferent to what happens in the East. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Publicity and openness, honest and complete -- that is the prime condition for the health of every society, and ours, too. The man who does not want them in our country is indifferent to his fatherland and thinks only about his own gain. Secrecy & Transparency
The press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. One would then like to ask: by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible? Freedom & Liberty ;Media, Journalism & The Press
Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation’s heart, the excision of its memory. Media, Journalism & The Press
You only have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you have robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power--he is free again. Power
You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power — he’s free again. Power
A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him.
Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.
Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.
Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you - you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside.
Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth. Truth
First would be the literary side, then the spiritual and philosophical. The political side is required principally because of the necessity of the current Russian position.
For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones. Government
For us in Russia communism is a dead dog. For many people in the West, it is still a living lion.
For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion.
Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the 20th century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.
How can you expect a man who's warm to understand one who's cold?
Human beings yield in many situations, even important and spiritual and central ones, as long as it prolongs one's well-being.
I can say without affectation that I belong to the Russian convict world no less than I do to Russian literature. I got my education there, and it will last forever. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I have spent all my life under a Communist regime, and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. Society ;Life ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?
In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.
It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones. Truth ;Failure
It is the artist who realizes that there is a supreme force above him and works gladly away as a small apprentice under God's heaven. Religion & God
It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations. Time
It would have been difficult to design a path out of communism worse than the one that has been followed.
Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.
Literature becomes the living memory of a nation.
Literature transmits incontrovertible condensed experience... from generation to generation. In this way literature becomes the living memory of a nation.
Man has set for himself the goal of conquering the world but in the processes loses his soul.
Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.
Of course God is endlessly multi-dimensional so every religion that exists on earth represents some face, some side of God. Religion & God
Our government declared that it is conducting some kind of great reforms. In reality, no real reforms were begun and no one at any point has declared a coherent programme. Government
Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Travel
Religion always remains higher than everyday life. In order to make the elevation towards religion easier for people, religion must be able to alter its forms in relation to the consciousness of modern man. Life ;Religion & God
Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing.
The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.
The clock of communism has stopped striking. But its concrete building has not yet come crashing down. For that reason, instead of freeing ourselves, we must try to save ourselves from being crushed by its rubble.
The name of 'reform' simply covers what is latently a process of the theft of the national heritage.
The next war... may well bury Western civilization forever. War & Peace
The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all.
The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
There are a lot of clear thinkers everywhere.
Today when we say the West we are already referring to the West and to Russia. We could use the word 'modernity' if we exclude Africa, and the Islamic world, and partially China.
Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.
We have arrived at an intellectual chaos.
When truth is discovered by someone else, it loses something of its attractiveness. Truth
Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation's heart, the excision of its memory. Freedom & Liberty
You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again. Power