Quotations From ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN


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  • You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything he's no longer in your power—he's free again.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Bobynin, in The First Circle, ch. 17 (1968).

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  • In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Quoted in Observer (London, December 29, 1974).
  • Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Nobel Prize lecture, 1973. Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Record, ed. Leopold Labedz (1974).
  • Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. letter, Oct. 1967, from Solzhenitsyn to three students. "The Struggle Intensifies," Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Record, ed. Leopold Labedz (1970).

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  • Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation's heart, the excision of its memory.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Time (Feb. 25, 1974).

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  • For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Radio broadcast, BBC Russian service. Listener (London, Feb. 15, 1979).

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  • For a country to have a great writer ... is like having another government. That's why no régime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Innokenty, in The First Circle, ch. 57 (1968).
  • I have spent all my life under a Communist regime, and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Commencement address, June 7, 1978, Harvard University.

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  • Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian novelist. Commencement address, June 7, 1978, Harvard University.
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