SOLZHENITSYN AND RUSSIA’S RULING CLASS

“To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good. . .  Ideology—that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race, and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations.” — Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago.

This blogger can just imagine how the current rulers of Russia, those “concrete lads,” would shake their heads and roll their eyes in the unlikely event of their having labored their way through the above quote: What the hell is he talking about? Ideology-shmideology, evil-shmevil, Jacobins-shmacobins, Christianity-shmistianity: give me a friggin’ break! It’s so old school, that crazy talk of his! All that depressing soul-searching and some such shit. Such a quaint, adorably naive old little dude, that Solzh was, with his unkepmpt beard and shapeless burlap clothes and cheap wristwatch of Soviet make. Probably never even skied down a decent slope in the Swiss Alps once in his sorry little joyless life. Completely out of the friggin’s loop. Had no idea what’s the what, totally… In their mindset, Russia’s so-called elites of today are much closer to the most vocal representatives of the gangsta-rap school of art than they would be to any of their immediate predecessors: it’s all about the goddamn benjamins. Next to them, P. Diddy would be a veritable Benjamin Franklin.

 

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