January 31, 2023

Standing the Test of Time


Standing the Test of Time
Graffiti of Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Tver. Viktor Dzhok Lebedev, Wikimedia Commons

Conservative State Duma deputy Dmitry Vyatkin has called for the removal of The Gulag Archipelago from the Russian school curriculum.

Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin once commended Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, a comprehensive three-volume work of nonfiction on Soviet labor/prison camps, as a piece of the country's historic and cultural heritage, Vyatkin said the novel has "not stood the test of time and [it does] not correspond to reality." He added that "necessary changes" must be made in order to restore historical integrity to Soviet literature.

Vyatkin proposed reintroducing to the curriculum Soviet-era novels like Alexander Fadeyev's The Young Guard and Yuri Bondarev's Hot Snow, arguing that they more appropriately depict patriotism and uphold pertinent history.

Olga Kazakova, chairperson of the State Duma Committee on Education, said that Vyatkin's desire to exclude Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago from the national curriculum "was not and is not worth it." However, a call to ban books is not strange in today's Russia.

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