Friday, October 22, 2010

The Russian Masterpiece You've Never Heard of - By Leon Aron | Foreign Policy

The Russian Masterpiece You've Never Heard of - By Leon Aron | Foreign Policy: "It was in the ruthless casualness with which individual freedom was sacrificed to the state's ideology that Grossman found the key parallel between Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany, which he juxtaposes throughout the book. Even at the height of Khrushchev's thaw, a Russian commentator recalled a quarter-century later, this comparison was 'beyond the pale,' 'mortally dangerous,' and, to the censors, among the most terrifying of the novel's many heresies. (Grossman was also almost certainly the first Soviet writer to apply the adjective 'totalitarian' to Stalin's Soviet Union -- in a manuscript submitted for publication in the Soviet Union!) For Grossman, the betrayal of the nascent Russian freedom in 1917 by the Bolshevik Revolution was Soviet Russia's original and inexpiable sin. Dying in a Gulag camp somewhere above the Arctic Circle, an Old Bolshevik confesses to a comrade and a fellow prisoner: 'I don't want to say it; it is like a torture to say it.… But this is my last revolutionary duty, and I will do it.… We have made a mistake.… We did not understand liberty. We crushed it.… Without liberty, there is no proletarian revolution.'"

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