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  • So,

  • I want to tell you about a book today.

  • The book is called "The Gulag Archipelago."

  • (to the camera crew) You ready?

  • (to the students) The book is called "The Gulag Archipelago," and it's by a

  • a Russian author... a Soviet author named

  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,

  • who

  • was in the Gulag Archipelago

  • concentration camp system for a very long time. He had a very hard life.

  • He was on the

  • Russian front when the Germans

  • invaded the Soviet Union in the early stages of World War II. Now,

  • Hitler and Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact

  • and Hitler invaded the Soviet Union anyway.

  • And from what I've been able to understand,

  • the Soviets had prepared

  • an invasion force for Europe at that point but were

  • not concerned with having to defend their territory,

  • and so they were caught completely unawares by Hitler's move.

  • And the conditions on the Russian front were absolutely dreadful,

  • and Solzhenitsyn was soldier on Russian front.

  • He wrote some letters to one of his friends,

  • which were intercepted, complaining about the

  • lack of preparation, and using bitter dark humor to describe

  • the situation, and

  • the consequences of that was that

  • he was thrown into work camp.

  • The Soviet system relied on work camps,

  • and so those were large labor camps

  • of people who were essentially enslaved,

  • many of whom were worked to deathoften froze to deathworking

  • in conditions that were so dreadful, that they're virtually unimaginable.

  • Solzhenitsyn spent a very large number of years in these camps,

  • sometimes in a more privileged camp, because he was an educated man,

  • and sometimes in worse camps.

  • He also

  • developed cancer

  • later, and wrote a

  • book about that called "Cancer Ward," which

  • is a brilliant book.

  • So, he had a very hard life.

  • There's just no way around that.

  • To be on the front, and then to be in a

  • concentration camp, and then to have cancer,

  • That's... that's pretty rough.

  • Now, he wrote "The Gulag Archipelago."

  • He wrote a book called "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" first,

  • that was published in the early 1960s,

  • when there was a brief thaw. Stalin was pretty much out of the picture by the end of the 1950s.

  • There's some indication that he was murdered,

  • by Khrushchev, and Khrushchev became

  • a premier of the Soviet Union after Stalin.

  • And there's some indication, perhaps, that Stalin was either murdered by Khrushchev and a set of his cronies,

  • or, when he was very ill, just before he died, was not helped, at least by

  • wasn't provided with any medical attention because of the

  • intervention of Khrushchev and his cronies. Now, there's some indication as well, at that point, that

  • Stalin, who was an absoluteabsolutely barbaric in every possible way you could imagine,

  • was planning to start a third World War.

  • And he was certainly capable of doing such things, because he had already

  • imprisoned or killed tens of millions of people.

  • Now...

  • just after Stalin died, there was a bit of a thaw in the Soviet Union with regards to internal repression.

  • In the early 1960s, Solzhenitsyn published a book called "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,"

  • which was a story about one day in the lifehis life, reallyinside one of these so-called "gulag archipelago" camps.

  • Now, he called it the "gulag archipelago" because

  • an "archipelago" is a chain of islands, and so Solzhenitsyn likened the

  • work-camp system in the Soviet Union, which is made of isolated camps distributed across the entire state...

  • He likened that to a series of islands, and hence the metaphor.

  • And "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" was one of the first publications released in the Soviet Union that dared make public

  • what had happened inside these camps, at least initially.

  • Now, that thought didn't last very long, but that book had a tremendous effect.

  • It's a short book; it's worth reading.

  • After that, he spenthe wrote a number of other books which were also

  • He's a great literary figure; in the same category, I would say, as Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, which is,

  • like, really saying something, you know. Those two are perhaps the greatest literary figures who ever lived,

  • with the possible exception of Shakespeare.

  • He wrote this book called "The Gulag Archipelago," which is published in three volumes, each of which is about 700 pages long.

  • The first one details the origin of the oppressive Soviet system, at least in part under Lenin, and then its full-fledged implementation

  • under Stalin and the deaths of...

  • Well, Solzhenitsyn estimated the deaths in internal repression in the Soviet Union at

  • something approximating sixty million, between 1919 and 1959.

  • Now, that doesn't count the death toll in the second World War, by the way.

  • Now, people have disputed those figures, but they're certainly in the tens of millions, and the low-end bounds are probably

  • twenty million, and the high-end bounds are near what Solzhenitsyn estimated... He also estimated that the same kind of internal repression in Maoist China

  • cost a hundred million lives, and so you can imagine that the genuine historical figures, again, are subject to dispute,

  • but somewhere between fifty and a hundred million people. And one of the things that's really surprising to me

  • and that I think is absolutely reprehensibleabsolutely reprehensibleis the fact that

  • this is not widespread knowledge among students in the West.any of these

  • it's because your education -

  • your historical education

  • Establishing the legal and practical framework for a series of camps where political prisoners and ordinary criminals would be sentenced to forced labor.

  • One of the things that's quite interesting about the gulag camps, and this is something that's very relevant to understanding modern Russia is that

  • so, ordinary criminals were put into the camps, and so were political prisoners.

  • but the ordinary criminals, and so those would be rapists and murderers, let's say, as well as thieves

  • who were engaged in theft as an occupation.

  • Those were regarded by the Soviets as "socially friendly" elements.

  • And the reason for that was that they assumed that the reason that these people had turned to crime was because of the oppressive nature

  • of the previous Czarist/Capitalist system. And that the only reason that these criminals existed

  • was because they had been oppressed -- they were oppressed victims of that system

  • and so one of the convenient consequences of that absolutely insane doctrine

  • was that the Soviets put the ordinary criminals in charge of the camps.

  • And these were very, very seriously bad people, and so,

  • you can imagine the way that they treated the political prisoners

  • who were regarded as socially hostile elements,

  • sometimes because of their own hypothetically traitorous acts, but more often

  • merely as a consequence of their racial or ethnic identity,

  • or the fact that they were related by birth to, say, people who had been succcessful

  • under the previous systems, so who had any

  • any association with nobility or any association with were known as the Kulaks,

  • who were the only successful class of former peasants in the Soviet Union.

  • Because they were regarded as "privileged."

  • You may have heard that word more recently.

  • They were regarded as "privileged" and therefore as enemies of the state. And it didn't matter if it was your father, or your grandfather, or your great-grandfather

  • who happened to be "privileged,"

  • but the mere fact that you were a member of that group was sufficient reason to put you into a camp.

So,

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B1 中級

2017年 パーソナリティ13 ソルジェニーツィンと収容所を経由した実存主義 (2017 Personality 13: Existentialism via Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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