Alesksandr Solzhenitsyn returns from exile to point a way out of the Soviet "quagmire."

In October 1917, a "sealed train" smuggled the notorious exile Vladimir Lenin across war-torn Europe into St. Petersburg, launching the Bolshevik revolution and the country's ultimately doomed experiment in communism.

Seventy-seven years later, another historic train has crossed Russia headed for the nation's capital. In contrast to Lenin's train, this one traveled slowly from East to West, making frequent stops. The passenger, Alesksandr Solzhenitsyn, exiled from the country 20 years ago, is reacquainting himself with his homeland. Russia has radically changed since the KGB put the Nobel laureate on a plane out of Moscow a generation ago.

"I return to a Russia tortured, stunned, altered beyond recognition, convulsively searching for itself, for its own true identity to search with you [for] ways to get out of our quagmire," he said to thousands gathered in Vladivostok, the Siberian city on the Pacific coast where he began his 55-day journey to Moscow.

The renowned author of GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, which chronicled the arrest, enslavement, torture, and murder of an estimated 65 million in Soviet labor camps, re-enters Russia with a revolutionary mission of repentance. He believes Russia must boldly confront its communist past. Russia's current "great misfortune," Solzhenitsyn said in Vladivostok, "is that our society did not cleanse itself spiritually; nobody in Russia ever repented. Communism remains in our hearts, in our souls, in our minds." He includes in his call for repentance the current government as well as those leaders in the Orthodox Church who collaborated with the Soviet state.

Although Solzhenitsyn is not primarily known in the West ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Pro-lifers' New Legal Nightmare Subscriber Access Only
The shooting of two abortionists provided the political cover for an insidious attempt to silence all but the bravest pro-lifers.
RecommendedPew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe
Pew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe
In 18 nations across Central and Eastern Europe, religion is now essential to national identity.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Christianity Today
A Russian Call to Repentance
hide thisAugust 15 August 15

In the Magazine

August 15, 1994

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.