Gulag Archipelago

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Solzhenitzyn got a Nobel prize in literature, prior to this book.


Part 3

  • It is on our cowardice that their

secrecy and they themselves are founded!

  • A stone is not a human being, and even stones get crushed.
  • But you have to know them-sometimes in order to beware of.

them; sometimes to put on an act in their presence, to pretend to be something you aren't; sometimes in order to quarrel openly with the informer and by this means. devalue his testimony against you.

  • 354 It is difficult to school oneself to ask that constant question:

Who is the stool pigeon among us?


needed ideological arguments in order to hold on to a sense of their own _ rightness--otherwise insanity was not far off.

  • 328 These

devotees of the theory of development construed loyalty to that - development to mean renunciation of any personal development whatsoever.

  • along all right if you were a tinsmith, a glass blower, or an auto-

mobile mechanic. But woe on you if you were a geneticist or, God help you, a philosopher, a linguist, an art historian-then you had had it! You would kick the bucket on general work in two weeks.

  • But in forgiving oneself the choice between dyhig and being

saved'-do not forgetfully cast a stone at the one whose choice was even harder.

  • As the gratefully guilty old camp veteran D. S. L--v put

it: If I am alive today, that means someone else was on the list for execution in my place that night; if I am alive today, it means that someone else suffocated in the lower hold in my place; if I am alive today, it means that I got those extra seven ounces of bread which the dying man went without

  • Nor is it worth arguing that we intellec-

tuals expend twice. as much energy on general work--on the work itself, and then by a sort of psychic combuStion, on all the mentM activity and suffering which we simply cannot stop, and as a resUlt of which it is fair for us to avoid the general work; and let cruder types slog away.

  • 264 Those heroes

of the Archipelago, who understood their duty not in terms of feeding their own persons but as a burden and an obligation to the whole prison herd.

  • 260 So it is not Ivan Denisovich's sweat we ~hould be getting most

upset about, but the peaceful pen scratching in the camp office!

  • Memoirs of a Trusty," by Dyakov, appeared (Memoirs of Sur-


  • But they did know: that there were not even one-fifth as many

specialists under all the other articles combined all under 58

  • And for this there was a profound, uniquely scientific founda-

tion: after all, it was virtually impossible to co"ect socially hos- tile prisoners, so rooted were they in their class corruption. The majority could be corrected only by the grave.

  • And the

BUJin thing was that among those who survived, those released, die trusties constituted a very high proportion-I would say nine- tenths of the long-termers from the 58's.

  • On the other hand, no one can accuse us Qf gas chambers
  • If' there was ammonal available, a special brigade of

gra\ICdiggers would dynamite pits for them.

  • But there is one form of early release that no bluecap can take

away from the pnsoner. This release is---death.

  • The saying is true: The big ration is the one that kills. In one

season of hauling timber the strongest slogger would end up a hopeless last-legger himself.

  • 218 Like every branch

of the camp administration, the Medical Section, too, was born of the devil and filled with the devil's blood.

  • Shalamov's sixty camp stories and of his study of the thieves.
  • I have digressed, but what I wanted to say was that in our

country the best books remain unknown to their contemporaries, and it is very possible that I am therefore vainly. repeating the secret work of someone else

  • Russians are tart - Westernized-Slavophile debate. Poland could not Slavved up - they were Western because of Roman Catholic religion. Also - 'The 1836 case of Pyotr is believed to be the first recorded incident where psychiatry was used in Russia to suppress dissent'
  • Shalamov's sixty camp stories

and of his study of the thieves

  • you are not likely to surprise

anyone with the fact that the most important and boldest books are never read by contemporaries, never exercise an influence on popular thought in good time.

  • Y. had es-

tablished ·experimentally that lice and fleas will not multiply in extremely dirty clothing, as though they theInselves were squeam- ish. T

  • 212 Basing himself on his still-remem-

bered formulas for the chemical composItion of substances, he demonstrates that one can get everything nutritionally necessary from refuse; one merely,has to overcome one's squeamishness and

direct all one's efforts to extracting nourishment from this source.

  • 211 Lev TOlstoi had an answer for that-to Biryukov: "What do

you mean,. why .remember? If I have had a terrible illness, and I -have succeeded in recovering from it and been cleansed of it, I will always remember gladly. The only time I will refuse to remember is when I am still ill and have got worse, and when I wish. to deceive myself. If we remember the old and look it straight in the face, then our new and present violence will also disclose itself."8

  • 197 Beneath the shells and the bombs I

begged you to preserve my life. And now I beg you, please ~end me death.

  • The ones amnestied were the habitual criminals and nonpoliti-

cal offenders, and the ones to respond with doubled work pro- - ductivity were the politicals .... When in history has our govern- ment shone with a sense of humor?

  • Stalinist amnesty was applied. And that's precisely

the way in which the two old people whose lives bad been smashed were noti- fied in 1962: "As of July 7, 1945, you are cOf}Sidered released and your con- viction annulled"

  • 190 - Complete perversion of morals? - An old woman in their house hid a wandering deserter,

who later on turned them in for it; for this the Zubovs, husband and wife, got sentences of a tenner each under Article 58. The court determined that their guilt lay not so much in hiding a deserter as in the absence of any self-serving motive for this con- cealment: he was not a reiative of theirs, which'meant that it amounted to anti-Soviet intent!

  • 189 - Or did he simply conclude that cowards represented no danger to

his rullL and that only the bold were dangerous?

  • 158 - We will die from the work, but we are able to survive ()n1y by work-


  • 156 - For a cheap glass of vodka a soldier is roused

to attack in a war not his own and lays down his life; in the same way the zek, for those pauper's handouts, slips off a log, gets dunked in the icy freshet of a northern river, or kneads clay for mud huts barefoot in icy water, and because of this those feet are never going to reach the land of freedom.

  • To that flame and to you, girl, I promise: the whole wide world

~ill read about you.

  • Now have you got it? Even though we use compulsion, we are

nonetheless correcting (and also, as it turns out, via suffering!) -except it is not known exactly from what.

  • Punishment, it was there very re-

freshingly affirmed, is neither revenge (the workers' and peasants' state was not taking vengeance on an offender) nor expiation of gUilt (there is no such thing as individual guilt, merely class causa- tion), but a defensive measure to protect the social structure--a measure of social defense.

  • 143 'Marx, concerning himself with a less remote

time ("Critique of the Gotha Program"), declared with equal conviction that the one and only means of correcting offenders . (true, he referred here to criminals; he never even conceived that his pupils might consider politicals offenders) was not solitary contemplation, not moral soul-searching, not repentance, and not languishing (for all that was superstructure!)-but productive labor. He himself had never in his life taken a pick in hand.

  • 122 'for no one in our country ever remembers anything, for emory is the Russians' weak spot, especially memory of the bad'
  • 121 the great leader declared that the withering away of the state (which had been awaited virtually from 1920 on) would arrive via, believe it or not, the maximum intensification of state! Enf.rY into socialism via the m8.ximum strengthening of prison!
  • 93 "After all, any capitalist steals more than

all of you combined!" The thieves roared with approval, flattered.

  • 92 unfair, to compare this

most savage construction project of the'twentieth century, this continental canal built "with wheelbarrow and pick," with the Egyptian pyramids; after all, the pyramids were built with, the contemporary technology!! And we used the technology of forty centuries earlier

  • 91 There were no

'cranes? So they will make their own-wooden "derricks." And the only metal parts the "derricks" had were in places where there was friction-and these parts they cast . themselves. "Oui own industry at the canal," our authors gloat., And they themselves cast wheelbarrow wheels in their own homemade cupola furnace.

  • 86 In his favorite slaveown-

ing Orient-from which Stalin derived almost- everything in his Iife>-they loved to build great "canals.

  • 87 "Reforging-this is not the desire

to serve out one's term and be freed [So such suspicions did exist?-AS.], but is in actual fact a restructuri'ng of the con- sciousne~s and the pride of a builder." What a student of man! Did you ever push a canal wheelbarrow-and on a penalty ration too

  • 76 (However, they

preferred to get rid of their whole term all at once by escape.) And from 1896 -to 1900, work on the Lake Baikal shoreline sector of the Trans-Siberian W!lS carried- out by fifteen hundred hard-labor prisoners

  • 63 On June 23 Gorky left Solovki. Hardly had his steamer pulled away from the pier than they shot the boy. And that is how faith in justice was instilled in the new genera-


  • 59 - An Island Hell by S. A. Malsagoff. This book astounded Europe (and no doubt they accused its Fugitive author of exaggerating, for, after all, the friends of the. And is this -another book you have not read, Sir Bertrand Russell? - New Society could not permit themselves to believe this slander-

ous volume) because it contradicted what was already well known; the newspaper Rote Fahne had described Solovki as a paradise.

  • 17 - concentration camp for non-POWs was invented in Russia in 1918. First time that the untried 'guilty' were concentrated in camps. 'But here in 1918 it was for the first time applied to the citizens of

one's own country.'

  • 13- Marx pointed out that productive labor was the only method of prisoner correction
  • 10- 66M dead Russians from 1917-1959. Necrometrics shows 20M, second highest in the world after Mao.

Part 1-2

  • 611-they kept some.foreigh spies around, not torturing them, as they could be useful in the future
  • 609- it was difficult to work in Russian intelligence because everyone suspected everyone else
  • 600- when deprived of hope - yes! 14 hours of sleep passes the sentence more easily
  • 594 - when on special convoy for elites - Solzhynjtsyn really got a taste of not worrying about the trivialities of life.
  • 576 - Hanna Arendt - coined the term Banality of Evil, formulatated within the context of Adolf Eichmann the Exterminator
  • 575 - Yertsovo Station, narrow track train, winter tents, work in mines. Yertsovo Station.
  • 567 - rule - 1000 people going off in cattle cars could not be shown to the public
  • 564 - 80% are put in general assignment work. All die due to hard conditions and low food rations.
  • Hard to fight the criminals. Need to save your energy instead.
  • 535-they fed groups of 10. If one died, they shoved them under a bunk so they get their ration.
  • 508 - Dostoyevsky wrote: "If you want to transform humanity for the better, to turn almost beasts into humans, give them land and you will reach your goal."[
  • 507 - regular criminals to be sent off to Siberia worked with the guards to divide up loot of the political prisoners. The criminals were rewarded for plundering and killing, if it was against political prisoners. Not a sustainable reward structure.
  • 463 -. But the hunger strike is a moral weapon. It presupposes that those it works on have a conscience. Or care about public opinion
  • 438 - 1/2M political prisoners were shot in 1937-38 by Stalin. Other sources say 1.7 M
  • Vlasov was tortured by the NKVD. Disasovew Russia and switched to the German side. When Russia won the war, Vlasov was terminated. Quite a scene at his trial, ended up with 30 guns pointed at the defendants at the end. Crowd sympathized with Vlasov.
  • 426 -arrest for setting up public bakeries
  • 412 - Arthur Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon.was a non-reductionist. Also, non-reductionism - Nobel was awarded - - wrote a book on emergence: Another Universe: Reinventing Physics From the Bottom Down.
  • 410 - those who condemned many others to be shot wilt at the notion of their own death . These two kinds of toughness are not connected.
  • 370 - left SRs were eliminated, but shyly first before expediency became the guiding light for punishment
  • 343 - in WW1 there was major famine in Russia and Russia also supplied Germany with food? Yes, part of the Brest Treaty, where Russia exited ww1 as it was getting its ass kicked and as a revolution was starting in Russia
  • 298- a d what will happen when the waterfall of truth breaks through? It will happen.
  • 273 defeat and misery spell a spiritual upsurge - defeat at Poltava made Sweden prosperous. Russian stoppage of Napoleon delayed freedom of the serfs by 50 years
  • 243 Russian soldiers were the only ones not respected by its gov't? So they can't tell their fellows what they saw.
  • 227 political red cross existed in So iet period to bring food gifts to prisoners
  • 185 S had a spiritual sensor relay that enabled him to know immediately whom to trust and not! Never failed him once in 17 years. 'We neglect this miracle and don't help it develop'
  • In keeping silent about evil, we implant it, and it will rise a 1000 fold.
  • 177 it is unthinkable in the 20th century to fail to distinguish what constitutes a d abominable atrocity, and what constitutes the 'past' that should not be stirred up.
  • For the sake of our country and children, we need to bring them to trial.
  • That is the ultimate height that a trial can attain: that evil is so utterly condemned that even the criminal is revolted by it.
  • 176 Why is Germany allowed to punish its evildoers and Russia is not? What kind of disastrous path does this pave?
  • 86k nazi war criminals convicted by 1966. That would be 1/4M if trials took place in SU
  • 175 evil also has a threshold, once crossed you don't return?
  • 174 - ideology is the justification of the evildoer, gives him perseverance
  • 168-70 . Powerful. How a genuinely 'good guy' turned evil
  • 168 - if only there were evil people out there insidiously committing evil deeds, and if only we had to separate them from the good ones...but it's all not as soon mole as that, as evil and good runs through us all
  • 144 - He was tortured by both, but the Gestapo was nonetheless trying to get at the

truth. and when the accusation did not hold up. Divnich was released. The MGB wasn't interested in the truth and had no intention of letting anyone out of its grip once he was arrested.