Aleksander Solzhenitsyn and Politics

Kozhokin E.M. ,

Vice Rector, MGIMO University,

elibrary_id: 188415 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.01.11

For citation:

Kozhokin E.M. Aleksander Solzhenitsyn and Politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 1. P. 149-166. (In Russ.).


Aleksander Solzhenitsyn assumed the role of a public politician in a country where any conventional public policy has been absent for a long time. He became incredibly famous after the publication of “One Day of Ivan Denisovich”, and with this fame came, in fact, his political capital. Faced with censorship, he did not seek to keep himself within the framework of Soviet legality, but began to use it, taking increasingly risky steps. His actions revived politics as a social phenomenon in the country. In literary works and in journalism, he formulated the maxims of the new political philosophy and created a secret organization of “invisibles” to spread his work in USSR and in the West, which reached unprecedented scale and political effectiveness for a dissident organization. He attacked the Soviet socialism, but never the Russian statehood itself: in this, his philosophy tragically diverged from the reality. In 1917-1991, the Russian statehood was embodied in the Soviet system. The dissident paradigm failed to formulate the task of transforming the socialist system into a different type of regime without destroying the very ability of the government to manage the country. As a result, Solzhenitsyn’s political philosophy did not go beyond the framework of Russian nihilism. The ideological and essentially political work of Solzhenitsyn yielded results: a group of people emerged that was consistently negative about the CPSU and socialism in general. But this emotionally saturated negative charge did not correlate with ideas about how to create another political and socio-economic system in the country. Moreover, the majority of intelligentsia did not follow Solzhenitsyn, having fallen under the spell of the ideology of consumption and the anarchic (so dear to the Russian heart) understanding of freedom. No one did as much for the collapse of socialism in the USSR as Solzhenitsyn did, but the collapse of socialism was at the same time the collapse of the state, which was Russian in essence. That was never the goal of Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, the writer and politician. 

Solzhenitsyn, politics, political philosophy, power, USSR, Gulag, socialism, communism, ideology.


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Content No. 1, 2019

See also:

Socialist Vision of Modernity, or Modem Vision of Socialism (Review of a Symposium) • How Is the Crisis of Socialism to Be Interpreted? Is a New Paradigm Needed and Why? • Socialism-Communism versus Democratic Socialism • The Crisis of the Social (Welfar. – Polis. Political Studies. 1994. No5

Ratz M.V., Kotelnikov S.I.,
G.P. Schedrovitsky’s ideas in Russian socio-political thought (in commemoration of the 85th anniversary). – Polis. Political Studies. 2014. No3

Oganisyan Yu.S.,
Socialism as the first stage of capitalism. Post-soviet Russia’s experience. – Polis. Political Studies. 2013. No3

Menshikov A.S.,
How to theorize politics?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No1

Yerokhov I.A.,
The Revolution, Which Will Never Happen Again. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No6



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