Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago is a pseudo-historical fiction novel widely celebrated among anti-communist circles. The book is treated as an authoritative depiction of the Stalin-era Soviet prison system and invoked ad nauseam. Not only is The Gulag Archipelago not a historically accurate work (and written by a fundamentalist anti-semite), it is most of all a work of fiction. This obvious fact seems to be often totally ignored.
A 2003 article regarding the death of Solzhenitsyn’s wife put it like this:
“In her 1974 memoir, Sanya: My Life with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn”…, she wrote that she was ”perplexed” that the West had accepted ”The Gulag Archipelago” as ”the solemn, ultimate truth,” saying its significance had been ”overestimated and wrongly appraised.”
Pointing out that the book’s subtitle is ”An Experiment in Literary Investigation,” she said that her husband did not regard the work as ”historical research, or scientific research.” She contended that it was, rather, a collection of ”camp folklore,” containing ”raw material” which her husband was planning to use in his future productions.”
Every now and then even mainstream capitalist media ends up recognizing facts such as these when they are obvious enough, though this was soon forgotten and the anti-communist propaganda machine has gone right back to citing Solzhenitsyn as “evidence of Soviet crimes.”
Already in 1999 W. Bland pointed out that America’s prison population was actually higher then that of the Stalin-era Soviet Union:
“If we add those in prison for non-political offences, we get a figure of 2.5 million, that is, 2.4% of the adult population.
In contrast, there were in the United States in 1996, according to official figures, 5.5 million people in prison, or 2.8% of the adult population.”
(Bland, “Stalin: The Myth and the Reality”)
NOTE: According to Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2013 the number was 6,899,000. Still about 1 in 35 adults or 2.8%
So the United States, “the land of the free”, the Country with the highest prison population in the history of man, with a notorious human rights record of torture, inequality and endless war attacks other countries using a fiction work of “camp folklore”. It is truly a tragicomical state of affairs!