(This article was originally published April 1, 1997)
On March 26th, communist leaders Gennady Zyuganov and Anatoly Lukyanov been seen entering dacha of famous writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn at Serebryany Bor. What for? We now know what for.
Exclusive resort area of “Serebryany Bor” near Moscow in pine growth on the bank of Moscow River is very prestigious land. Ministers, generals, high-ranking officials, all the mighty and wealthy of Russia having their summer residences, their “dachas,” at Serebryany Bor. To live there means to have special social status.
After his return to Russia, famous anti-communist writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn have joined that happy little crowd in pines’ shadow: a generous Yeltsin’s government have given to writer 200 square meter apartment in very center of Moscow, in the same building with Mr. Chubais, but also super-gift, a piece of land in “Serebryany Bor.” In former times it served as dacha to Lazar Kaganovich-Stalin’s Minister of Transport and Railroads. [The very ministry responsible for shipping Solzhenitsyn out to the Gulags-ed.] Solzhenitsyn’s anti-communism doesn’t went so far, as to reject gift of ex-communist boss, formerly member of Central Committee and member of Politburo, Mr. Yeltsin. He seems also have had no objection to live on the same territory with a ghost of Stalin’s lieutenant bolshevik Lazar Kaganovich. So, from Vermont, USA via Alaska-Vladivostok, through Siberia and Moscow, Solzhenitsyn arrived in “Serebryany Bor,” where Turkish workers were busy with finishing paintings in “dacha.” All the staff, of course, were there to welcome “baron.” Unfortunately for them, “baron” was in the bad mood, and he is, as a matter of fact, still in a bad mood.
Story is, that already during this Trans-Siberian trip, Solzhenitsyn found it difficult to be an anti-communist in Russia, where half of population are anti-communist. Bright old man understood that his lectures on evil of communism were appropriate in Vermont, USA. But in Moscow, Russia, in order to keep attention on himself he might do some drastic revision of his position. And he did. At his television weekly appearances, “Solzh” started to attack the government.
Predictably, government have not enjoyed lecturer “Solzh” (rather boring and banal) attacks on him on television. After some months of hesitation government have cut out “Solzh” from telespectators. Person who was famous all over the world for more than 30 years cannot live without attention of the crowd and out of attention of media. “Solzh” understood the nature of his tragedy: he is rapidly fading away as a public figure. So, no wonder that he started desperately to renovate his public image. Meanwhile, he had completely disappeared from the airwaves and from print.
In very beginning of March, “eXile” been contacted by “insider” as that man have called himself. He only indicated that he is working for Solzhenitsyn’s family and asked for some money in exchange for “interesting information” about bearded writer. Sum demanded was rather small, so we met and exchanged our money for his information. “Insider” claimed that at his “dacha” in Serebryany Bor, Alexander Solzhenitsyn have met recently some personalities from the inner circle of Mr. Zyuganov, secretary general of the Communist Party of Russian Federation. Namely, on March 7, Solzhenitsyn’s dacha was visited by Mr. Chikin, deputy of Duma and editor-in-chief of newspaper “Sovietskaya Rossiya.” Few days later in evening of March 11, Mr. Yuri Ivanov, also communist deputy of Duma have entered Solzhenitsyn’s dacha in secret through back door. Our informer claimed that he heard the part of conversation between Mr. Solzhenitsyn and Mr. Chikin on March 7. Solzhenitsyn’s participation in the next presidential elections have been discussed. Communist Party of Russian Federation wanted Solzhenitsyn as its candidate. But in exchange for backing of mighty communist machine, Mr. Chikin said, Solzhenitsyn should declare himself publicly the member of the Communist Party. Writer’s objection to it was that people of Russia were not prepared to such a drastic change in political views of its Idol. (Yes, confirmed informer, Solzhenitsyn called himself “Idol.”) Mr. Chikin said that “you have plenty of time, dear Alexander, to make that change less painful for people, slowly moving towards us. But Mr. Zyuganov wants you to take party membership card now. You can declare that you become the member of our party later, but must take the membership card now.” Solzhenitsyn angrily replied something, but our informer didn’t heard what exactly he said. On March 27th, informer called to our office and excitedly announced: “It’s done! Yesterday Zyuganov himself, accompanied by Anatoly Lukyanov, have visited dacha. They gave him membership card! I know the number: 263 651 member of Communist Party of Russian Federation is Alexander Solzhenitsyn!”
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