Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A new Interview with Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Isayevich speaks his mind in a most authoritative way about the situation in Russia today. Because he thinks more highly of Putin’s leadership than that of his immediate predecessors, it would be easy to overlook the boldness of his criticism of his country’s government. Against Putin’s electoral reforms, for example, he writes most eloquently: "Voting for impersonal parties and their programs is a false substitute for the only true way to elect people’s representatives: voting by an actual person for an actual candidate." And Solzhenitsyn reminds us of the many ways we’ve mismanaged our relations with his country.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Another wise man defending the eternal principle that proportional representation is crap.

In the American context, Solzhenitsyn's insistence that there shouldn't be parties, only evaluations of individual candidates by voters, would be nonsense. In the Russian context, it might well make sense. I imagine it would be hard to overestimate this great man's understanding of Russia, the roots of its problems, and the nature of the solutions needed. In addition, at 88 he seems remarkably "mentally fit" in this interview. Good to see. Good also to see that he's not as pro-Putin as I'd thought, and that his recent award didn't come from Putin but from a legitimate source.

Thanks, Peter. Despite a poor interviewer, his answers are all good and bracing stuff except for his repeating the Russian "party line" on the NATO bombings of Serbia. Russian political discourse seems to take a number of things for granted that lean toward the paranoid, and Solzhenitsyn isn't entirely immune. (But he's right about the unnecessary insult we delivered with our manner of considering and enacting NATO expansion.)

And David, I think he's aware that parties will always be with us, but he wants to stress the emphasis on the representative's relation to his locality.

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