Aleksanr Solzhenitsyn is dead and the world is a far poorer place for his passing. He was a giant of the 20th century who stood up fearlessly and defied the mighty Soviet Union. Without weapon, other than words, courage, and morality; he defied the Soviets until they had no choice but to toss him out of the country in exile.
After Solzhenitsyn exposed the West to the horrors of the gulags, not even the most cynical American Marxist could get away with the lies that the Soviet system was benevolent and that many things in the communist system were wonderful. No one could see Josef Stalin as anything but a paranoid killer with more blood on his hands than Adolf Hitler any more.
One writer said that:
Solzhenitsyn can be best appreciated in context. He was born in 1918. His father died before he was born, and his mother raised him in Rostov-on-Don, an industrial city in southwest Russia. He graduated with a degree in mathematics and went into the Army when the Germans invaded in 1941. He was a captain in the artillery. Stalin’s secret police snatched him out of the front lines and arrested him for having written some unflattering things about the dictator in a private letter to a friend. He was sentenced to eight years in the labor camps.
A man’s private letter written under the stress of WWII sent him to the gulag. Who among us has the kind of courage to survive and then change the world through our testimony?
As America heads every day toward the place that the Soviet Union was; who among us can be today’s Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? Can any modern American show that kind of courage?