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Top 300 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quotes (2024 Update)
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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Now for the first time you were about to see people who were not your enemies. Now for the first time you were about to see others who were alive, who were traveling your road, and whom you could join to yourself with the joyous word “we.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “He could barely stand, the Captain, but he kept on going. Shukhov had an old horse like that at home once. He took good care of that old horse, but he worked himself to death. And then they skinned the hide off him.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “When our life crackles and sparks like a torch, we curse the necessity of spending eight hours uselessly in sleep. When we have been deprived of everything, when we have been deprived of hope, then bless you, fourteen hours of sleep!”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “You’re a member of the collective! You’re a member of the collective!’ That’s right. But only while he’s alive. When the time comes for him to die, we release him from the collective. He may be a member, but he has to die alone. It’s only he who is saddled with the tumor, not the whole collective.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Does it bother you to wear a number? They don’t weigh anything, those numbers.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Given that interrogations had ceased to be an attempt to get at the truth, for the interrogators in difficult cases they became a mere exercise of their duties as executioners and in easy cases simply a pastime and a basis for receiving a salary.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “The harder life is for a man when he is young, the easier it will be in the future.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “But now, as he paced up and down the ward, he remembered how the old folk used to die back home on the Kama – Russians, Tartars, Votyaks or whatever they were. They didn’t puff themselves up or fight against it or brag that they weren’t going to die – they took death calmly. They didn’t stall squaring things away, they prepared themselves quietly and in good time, deciding who should have the mare, who the foal, who the coat and who the boots.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “I have absorbed into myself my own eleven years there not as something shameful nor as a nightmare to be cursed: I have come almost to love that monstrous world, and now, by a happy turn of events, I have also been entrusted with many recent reports and letters. So perhaps I shall be able to give some account of the bones and flesh of that salamander – which, incidentally, is still alive.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “L. Kopelev came back to Moscow in 1955 and made a discovery: ‘I am I’ll-at-ease with successful people! I keep up acquaintance only with those of my friends who are in some way unlucky.’ But, then, only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Without even knowing it ourselves, we were ransomed by the small change in copper that was left from the golden coins our great-grandfathers had expended, at a time when morality was not considered relative and when the distinction between good and evil was very simply perceived by the heart.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Shukhov stared at the ceiling and said nothing. He no longer knew whether he wanted to be free or not... it had gradually dawned on him that people like himself were not allowed to go home but were packed off into exile. And there was no knowing where the living was easier – here or there. The one thing he might want to ask God for was to let him go home. But they wouldn’t let him go home.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Why is it that all the main work of breaking down human souls went on at night? Why, from their very earliest years, did the Organs select the night? Because at night, the prisoner torn from sleep, even though he has not yet been tortured by sleeplessness, lacks his normal daytime equanimity and common sense. He is more vulnerable.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “No one, even as a joke, could call a member of the all-Union Communist Party a Neo-Hegelian, a Neo-Kantian, a Subjectivist, an Agnostic, or, God forbid, a Revisionist. But “epicurean” sounded so harmless it could not possibly imply that one was not an orthodox Marxist.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “The man from whom you’ve taken everything is no longer in your power; he is free again.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “How old were you then?” “Fourteen.” “Do you remember anything about it?” “Very little.” “You don’t remember? It was like an earthquake. Apartment doors were flung wide open, people went in and took things and left. No one asked any questions. They deported a quarter of the city. Don’t you remember?” “Yes, I do. But the shameful thing is, at the time it didn’t seem the most important thing in the world. They explained it to us at school – why it was necessary, why it was expedient.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “On the great Belomor Canal even an automobile was a rarity. Everything was created, as they say in camp, with ‘fart power’.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Finally, he gave up trying to quiet her and lit a cigarette, the last resort of a man who finds himself in an intolerably stupid position.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Wherever they went – Moscow, Tehran, the Syrian coast, Switzerland – a furnished house, villa, or apartment awaited the young couple. And their philosophies of life were the same: “We have only one life!” So take everything life can give, except one thing: the birth of a child. For a child is an idol who sucks dry the juices of your being without any return for your sacrifices, not even ordinary gratitude.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “In one of my prewar lectures – they were devilishly daring! – I developed this excerpt from Goethe into the elegiac idea that there is no such thing as happiness, that it is either unattainable or illusory. Then, suddenly, a note was passed to me, a page torn out of a miniature notebook – squared paper: “ ‘But I’m in love – and I am happy! What do you say to that?’ ” “What did you say?” “What can anybody say?”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Vera always seemed to be in a hurry, but when she got into a bus she would sit herself down as comfortably as possible on the broken springs of the seat, or else reach out for a strap, hang onto it and think to herself, “I don’t want to do anything.” In spite of common sense she knew that she merely had to kill the hours of the evening, then hurry back to work the next morning in an identical bus.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “A prisoner five years between the shafts never hurries. He knows that what comes next can only be worse.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “The majority of the Greeks ended up in Central Asian exile; those who voiced their discontent were thrown into political prisons.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “But substantial X-ray treatment is impossible without transfusion!” “Then don’t give it! Why do you assume you have the right to decide for someone else? Don’t you agree it’s a terrifying right, one that rarely leads to good? You should be careful. No one’s entitled to it, not even doctors.” “But doctors are entitled to that right – doctors above all,” exclaimed Dontsova with deep conviction. By now she was really angry. “Without that right there’d be no such thing as medicine!”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “You can’t know everything in the world. Whatever happens you’ll die a fool.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Abakumov was cleverer than Yakonov supposed. It was just that prolonged lack of exercise had rendered the minister’s brain useless to him.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Just as a star suddenly flares to a hundred times its previous brightness – and then fades away, so, too, a human being not disposed to be a political may nonetheless flare up briefly and intensely in prison and perish as a result. Ordinarily we do not learn about these cases. Sometimes there is a witness to tell about them. Sometimes there is merely a faded piece of paper in front of us on which we can only build hypothesis;.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “We studied nature, whereas our brothers studied society. We’re still around; our brothers are no more. So who inherits the unfulfilled destiny of the elite in the humanities? Perhaps we do? If we don’t take a hand, who will?”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “So leave envy to those who always think the radish in the other fellow’s hand is bigger than yours.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Can a man who’s warm understand one who’s freezing?”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Anna Akhmatova.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “He was condemned precisely because he prospered so well, he had no desire to risk his life, to defend the good life.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “That’s why there’s a devil – to judge the priests.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the Twentieth century’s moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the Nineteenth Century.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “She was wonderful, in spite of everything she was wonderful.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Even a strong man had no way left him to fight the prison machine, except perhaps suicide. But is suicide really resistance? Isn’t it actually submission?”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “They hung on to each other so closely that you’d think one would suffocate unless he breathed the same air as the other.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “Sa traiesti intr-o cusca cu cinci etaje, unde se umbla si se bocane deasupra capului tau, iar radioul urla din toate partile – e considerat un lucru tare bun. Iar sa traiesti ca un lucrator harnic al pamantului, intr-o bojdeuca lipita cu lut, la marginea stepei – se considera o mare nesansa.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “It was clearly a prisoner’s craftwork; that is, the most painstaking work in the world, for prisoners have nowhere to hurry to.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “No zek had the right to stay one second in his workroom without the supervision of a free employee because prudence dictated that the prisoner would be bound to use that unsupervised second to break into the steel safe with a lead pencil, photograph its secret documents with a trouser button, explode an atom bomb, and fly to the moon.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “The belly is a demon. It doesn’t remember how well you treated it yesterday; it’ll cry out for more tomorrow.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “It was simply that we grow dull with the passing years. We grow tired. We lose all true talent for grief or for faithfulness. We surrender to time. Yet every day we swallow food and lick our fingers – in this respect we are unyielding. If we’re not fed for two days we go out of our minds, we start climbing up the wall. Fine progress we’ve made, we human beings.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Quote: “There are questions on which a definite opinion has been established, and they are no longer open to discussion.”
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