Several Quotes from: The Gulag Archipelago, Vol. One

gulagarchipelago (Custom)

(Please forgive us, reader. We have once more gone astray with this rightist opportunism — this concept of “guilt,” and of the guilty or innocent. It has, after all, been explained to us that the heart of the matter is not personal guilt, but social danger. One can imprison an innocent person if he is socially hostile. And one can release a guilty man if he is socially friendly. But lacking legal training, we can be forgiven, for the 1926 Code, according to which, my good fellow, we lived for twenty-five years and more, was itself criticized for an “impermissible bourgeois approach,” for an “insufficiently class-conscious approach,” and for some kind of “bourgeois weighing of punishments in relation to the gravity of what had been committed.”
`Page 342
Chapter 7


Comrade Kursky!
As a sequel to our conversation, I am sending you an outline of a supplementary paragraph for the Criminal Code. . . . The basic concept, I hope, is clear, notwithstanding all the shortcomings of the rough draft: openly to set forth a statute which is both principled and politically truthful (and not just juridically narrow) to supply the motivation for the essence and the justification of terror, its necessity, its limits.
The court must not exclude terror. It would be self-deception or deceit to promise this, and in order to provide it with a foundation and to legalize it in a principled way, clearly and without hypocrisy and without embellishment, it is necessary to formulate it as broadly as possible, for only revolutionary righteousness and a revolutionary conscience will provide the conditions for applying it more or less broadly in practice.

With Communist greetings,
`Page 435
Chapter 9


I will let Solzhenitsyn’s own words speak for me in this quote post:

We will not undertake to comment on this important document. What it calls for is silence and reflection.
`Page 436
Chapter 9


bookstooge (Custom)

21 thoughts on “Several Quotes from: The Gulag Archipelago, Vol. One

  1. Have you seen HBO’s “Chernobyl”? It’s, among other things, and interesting view on how the Soviet state worked, even at the late stage, when there was less blood and GULAG was half empty (in comparison to the Stalin years). We have nice, round words, law that often sounds quite good, has many of the humanitarian principles and various safeguards one would expect – but never works that way and is actually just a kind of “Potemkin village” of sorts (do you know this expression? do check it on Wiki, if you don’t, it’s amazing – and probably the most Russian thing there is, it’s even helpful in explaining the way Russian state deals with the current Covid crisis).

    On the other hand, the Nazis tried to act legally in a way to more resembles our understanding of the world, and the results were as atrocious. Law is a medium, but it’s also always an expression of some values, we cannot escape that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve heard of the show Chernobyl, but I don’t get cable or any streaming services besides Prime, so I’ve not seen it nor am I likely to. I’ve also heard the words “Potemkin village” but can’t associate any meaning with them. I’ll have to check that out, maybe this weekend since we have a 3 day weekend, hurray!

      I fully concur with your second paragraph. I’d go so far as to say it is an expression of values first. Just like ethics, it all comes down to what you believe; about life, the universe and everything 😉

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yup, I agree with Piotrek, “Potemkin village” sums up the Russian approach to Covid-19 nicely. As for the law, call me an idealist, but I believe it is always a reflection of values – sometimes we just don’t see it that clearly, being in the middle of their workings.

        Liked by 2 people

            1. Fair warning, groups and I don’t do well, so the life expectancy of said club might not be too long. Probably depends on what kind of juice you bring. No pressure but juice responsibilities is a big thing and I wouldn’t want you to feel guilty for destroying the club by bringing the wrong juice!

              Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhh yes, you’re a big anti-Thatcher fan aren’t you?

      I have no idea. I’ve actually been commenting back and forth with Piotrek about Solzhenitsyn’s later years, as I had/have no idea what they held for him. I’m wondering about reading a biography of his entire life once I work my way through the Gulag (I figure I should get to that in about 3 years, hahahaha)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. That kind of thought process scares the ever living daylights out of me and I simply can NOT understand why people vote for someone like her.

      As much as I am satisfied with my read of Gulag so far, quotes like these and then ones like that from AOC are so scarily similar that it makes me realize just how far down that road we’ve actually come. I don’t think most people realize it 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. One of the issues Solzhenitsyn raises about how people put up with stuff was because they believed it was for the “good of the country” even as their neighbors were dragged away, etc. He shows a couple of court cases where the defendants knew they weren’t guilty but confessed, because as Good Communists, it was for the good of the Party for them to confess 😦

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It all comes down to personal responsibility. If you don’t think you are responsible to a Higher Authority, ie, God, why should you be responsible to any other human? Dump that responsibility like a scalding skillet.

          But if you do believe that you are going to answer for your actions in the next life, well, that drastically changes how you think and act.

          Liked by 1 person

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