Posts tagged St. Basil’s cathedral

One Day at a Time – Of Good and Evil

I don’t think it possible to belabor Alexander Solzhenitsyn, there is so much that has not been covered of this great man.  The Olympics opening in China today could possibly mute any more of his voice reaching out to the masses, the media will be so taken in with the extravaganza.  After all, 08-08-08 will not come around again and besides it is my birthday.  My mind will be on other matters of celebrating as well.  But for now, I wanted to quote from the Op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal titled “Of Good and Evil” of what the editor wrote on Solzhenitsyn.  Then I will post what I wrote on May 22, 1976 when I was in Moscow Russia, Day 19 of my 36 day tour as a college senior.

“Russians found in Solzhenitsyn, who died Sunday in Moscow at age 89, their own story told with clarity, courage and humanity.  Ivan Shukhov’s prison camp was, in reality, all of the Soviet Union.  When “Gulag Archipelago,” his monumental history of the Soviet penal system, was published in Paris in 1973, Solzhenitsyn made it impossible for serious people anywhere to excuse Stalin’s crimes or the inhumanity of communist totalitarianism.  His documentation showed that the commissars had the blood of 60 million victims on their hands.  Communism’s essence was exposed in relentless detail as slavery, terror and imperialism.”

Zoom back 32 years and this is what I first observed as I had left the airport on a tour bus entering the city of Moscow, the Russia that Solzhenitsyn had left behind:

“…we saw a lot of billboards and statues of pro-Lenin and pro-people.  It shows the striving forward and looking in the distance to the ideal in the future.  The statues show power and strength in their very material and build, they are the only expression of art to speak of that can be seen.  Nothing else of real beauty can be described to be seen that might have existed before 1917.  The only thing of beauty wherever you turn is the onion-domed spires of the once 700 churches in Moscow.  Now, our guide noted with a tinge of pride, there are only 43 churches operating.  I thought that interesting since the first time she gave us a tour of Red Square, she quickly dismissed the subject of the huge icon that used to face out to the square and also said rather quickly that St. Basil’s was a museum now after it had been a den for robbers in the 16th century…”

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