Operating out of a Slavophile tradition, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn offers a critique of both Soviet and Western societies that is comprehensive and damning. A review of his writings reveals a profound rejection of many core values and practices of Western civilization. What is viewed as an aberrant Soviet experience is understood as but a logical extension of developments in the West. Solzhenitsyn′s prescription for an identified Soviet and Western moral bankruptcy draws on past Russian Orthodox thinking and practices. Playing to Russian collectivist and conservative instincts, he venerates an idyllic Russian rural setting; but that setting has little relevance to contemporary Soviet reality. Ironically, Solzhenitsyn′s strong reformist inclinations are not unlike those of many reformers now championing change in a post‐Soviet Russia. But his stated political and economic preferences place him solidly in the ranks of contemporary Russian nationalist extremists, making him a leading figure for those promoting a return to earlier authoritarian Russian practices.
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