Monday, May 08, 2006

Author Alexander Solzhenytsin On The Future Of Euro-Atlantic (Christian) Civilization, Russia, Ukraine, And The Russian Language And Literature


VT: "I, for one, believe that unless the three principal subjects of Euro-Atlantic (Christian) civilization - specifically, the North American Union, the (Western) European Union, and the East European (Russian) Union - form a strategic alliance (with supra-state bodies), our civilization will disappear sooner or later. Where do you think salvation for the Euro-Atlantic civilization lies?

AS: Unfortunately, the global political process is not moving in the direction that you have just outlined. The United States has been deploying its occupation troops in one country after another. This has been the case in Bosnia for the past nine years, in Kosovo and Afghanistan for the past five years, and in Iraq for the past three years. And it is bound to continue for a very long time yet. There is no substantial difference between NATO and U.S. actions. Seeing that Russia today poses no threat to it, NATO is systematically, persistently expanding its military apparatus - to eastern Europe and to the south of Russia. This includes open financial and ideological support for "color" revolutions and the absurd imposition of North-Atlantic interests on Central Asia. All of this leaves no doubt that Russia is being encircled with a view to destroying its sovereignty. Russia's accession to the Euro-Atlantic alliance, which is now forcibly imposing Western democratic values in various parts of the world, would result not in the expansion but the decline of Christian civilization.

VT: Do you agree with the view that the world is rapidly moving toward neo-authoritarianism (probably as a reaction to total liberalism)?

AS: "Total liberalism," as you have aptly put it, has certainly had its day in the world and is now more or less a spent force. It will be replaced by some other forms of public and state consciousness, but I would not dare predict their essence or the forms that they will actually assume.

VT: What is your perspective on the situation in Ukraine? In this context, what do you think about the problem of the division of the Russian nation (the largest divided nation in modern Europe)? Should Russia - if not politically, at least intellectually - ponder the possibility of reunification of ethnic Russians and Russian lands if Ukraine joins the EU and especially NATO?

AS: I am pained by what has been going on in Ukraine - ever since the 1991 referendum. The fanatical suppression and persecution of the Russian language (which, according to previous polls, was used as the main language by over 60 percent of Ukraine's population) is simply an act of atrocity that is aimed against Ukraine's own cultural heritage. Vast tracts of land, which have never been part of historical Ukraine, e.g., Novorossia, the Crimea and the entire southeastern region, have been forcibly incorporated into the modern Ukrainian state and into its policy of acquiring NATO membership at any cost. Throughout Yeltsin's term in office, not a single meeting that he had with any of the Ukrainian presidents had gone without capitulation and concessions to them. Pushing the Black Sea Fleet out of Sevastopol(the city was never ceded to Ukraine, not even under Khrushchev) is an outrageous humiliation of the entire 19th- and 20th-century Russian history.

Under these conditions, Russia must not cast Ukraine's multimillion Russian population to the whims of fate, abandoning it, and cutting off all links with it.

VT: Is it your view that Russian language and Russian literature are dying - in the sense that they will never again attain, let alone surpass, 19th and 20th century models?

AS: Despite its uncontrolled contamination with jargon and Anglo-Americanisms (I am talking not about the natural use of technical terminology but slavish, fashion-driven borrowings), the Russian language will not degrade, will not let itself be irretrievably polluted as long as there are Russian people.

The same is true for Russian literature. Despite all the garbage, it has preserved its lucid and conscientious core that will yet produce excellent works supporting our spirit, our morale, and our consciousness." ...

Interview with Alexander Solzhenytsin (AS) by Vitaly Tretyakov (VT) of the Moscow News, via Johnson's Russia List and LaurenceJarvikOnline, May 7, 2006.

Sevastopol on the Black Sea, Ukraine. Sevastopol was a closed, military [naval] garrison from 1917 to 1996. It features some of the Former Soviet Union's finest Stalin era architecture, rebuilt from the ruins of Nazi destruction.

A cross-roads of Crimea, the Crimean Autonomous Republic, Ukraine, Europe; the city promises to be a major 21st century Eastern European tourist destination due to its 3,000 year old history and closeness to the resort destination of Yalta and other beaches of Crimea.

Photo credit: With thanks.


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