Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Solzhenitsyn’s Son Heads Coal Company Whose First Workers were GULAG Zeks, Eidman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 19 – Stepan Solzhenitsyn, son of the Soviet dissident and Nobel laureate who gained fame for his GULAG Archipelago, now heads a major coal company in Russia that now belongs to Andrey Melnichenko, the dollar billionaire oligarch, but whose mines were first developed by Stalin-era GULAG prisoners.

            In reporting this, sociologist Igor Eidman points out that “the founder of the oligarchic system in Russia was not Putin or even Yeltsin; it was Stalin.” Using the blood of GULAG inmates, Stalin laid the foundations for the enormous wealth that oligarchs now have and are using for yachts and palaces (

            “It couldn’t have been otherwise,” the commentator continues. “Stalin created an Asiatic administrative system in which economic resources were under the control of the bureaucracy.” And in Russia, that bureaucracy as all such bureaucracies “sooner or later” do, “privatized the property under its control.” 

            Thus, “oligarchic business connected with the nomenklatura received from its hands this Stalinist inheritance,” Eidman says. 

            According to the sociologist, “only in one case did the heirs of the chekists share their wealth with the descendant of a political prisoner” of Stalin’s time. And that action “was not accidental” because the individual involved turned out to be the son of “’the chief political prisoner of the USSR,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

            That action recalls how “colonial elites accepted into their ranks the children of the tribes they conquered who surrendered to them” and sought their mercy. Solzhenitsyn, who was the leader or at least “moral authority” of the inmates of the GULAG, “at the end of his life surrendered to the victorious chekists.”

            The historian and novelist did so not out of selfish motives but rather from ideological considerations. Solzhenitsyn the elder “denounced Stalin,” but at the same time, he “just like Stalin, hatred the humanistic heritage of the Enlightenment and despised representative democracy and pluralism.”

            And even while he criticized Soviet ideology, Eidman continues, Solzhenitsyn “dreamed about a national, Orthodox-authoritarian regime. It is thus not surprising that ‘on his way to the grave,’ he blessed another lover of archaic ideas and another hater or freedom, the little Stalin Putin.”

            His children and his widow fit right into the chekist Russian elite and for many years have been trading the lobbying possibilities which the family’s world famous name gives them” to the only thing the chekists can give them, wealth based far too often on the slave labor of Stalin’s time, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn did so much to expose.

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