Name a street in Moscoe after Solzhenitsyn?





In death as in life, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn remains a difficult, polarizing figure for Russia, a fierce critic not only of Communism but also of the decadence and materialism of post-Soviet Russia. So it was perhaps inevitable that the seemingly simple act of naming a Moscow street in his honor would become complicated.

When President Dmitri A. Medvedev decreed last month that Mr. Solzhenitsyn, who died on Aug. 3 at 89, be memorialized “for his extraordinary contribution” to Russian culture, he did not set any deadline or single out any street. But the office of Mayor Yuri M. Luzhkov quickly said that Bolshaya Kommunisticheskaya Ulitsa, or Big Communist Street, would henceforth be known as Ulitsa Solzhenitsyna, or Solzhenitsyn Street, in honor of Mr. Solzhenitsyn, the writer whose book “The Gulag Archipelago” is credited with revealing the horrors of the Soviet system and, ultimately, helping to destroy it.

That was too much for the Communists, who consider the writer little more than a traitor. Early this month, on the eve of the 40th day after Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s death, when Russian Orthodox custom calls for commemoration of the dead, Vladimir Lakeyev, a leader of the Communist Party faction in Moscow, read a statement saying that Big Communist Street was named after the Bolsheviks who fell in battle there in the revolution of 1905 and the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917.


comments powered by Disqus
History News Network