The Gulag Archipelago - Historical Impact of The Text

Historical Impact of The Text

Solzhenitsyn argued that the Soviet government could not govern without the threat of imprisonment, and that the Soviet economy depended on the productivity of the forced labor camps, especially insofar as the development and construction of public works and infrastructure were concerned.

This put into doubt the entire moral standing of the Soviet system. In Western Europe the book came, in time, to force a rethinking of the historical role of Lenin. With The Gulag Archipelago, Lenin's political and historical legacy became problematic, and the fractions of Western communist parties who still based their economic and political ideology on Lenin were left with a heavy burden of proof against them. George F. Kennan, the influential U.S. diplomat, called The Gulag Archipelago, "the most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be levied in modern times."

In an Interview with German weekly Die Zeit British historian Orlando Figes claims that many gulag inmates he interviewed for his research identified so strongly with the book's contents that they became unable to distinguish between their own experiences and what they read. Thus, he claims "The Gulag Archipelago spoke for a whole nation and was the voice of all those who suffered".

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The Gulag Archipelago - Historical Impact of The Text
... the book came, in time, to force a rethinking of the historical role of Lenin ... With The Gulag Archipelago, Lenin's political and historical legacy became problematic, and the fractions of Western communist parties who still based their economic and political ideology on Lenin were left ...

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