The response to the Russo-Ukrainian War has seen many governments and private institutions take bizarre actions to allegedly fight Russia and clamp down on its influence abroad.
One of the ways many people in the private sphere are trying to effectively cancel Russia is by taking down artifacts of Russian history or renaming facilities named after famous Russian historical figures.
Take for example the case of Russian novelist and political dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn. In France, several student unions and associations in the Vendée Department, launched a petition with the aim of renaming the Soljenitsyne college in the commune of Aizenay after a Russian revolutionary anarchist Vsevolod Mikhaïlovitch Eichenbaum, who is also known as Voline. Voline participated in several uprisings in Ukraine and Russia from the late 1910s to the early 1920s.
According to Goad News, various unions and local associations banded together to “send a signal of strong support to the suffering Ukrainian people.”
“Solzhenitsyn was close to Putin […]. Not stingy with compliments to the Russian dictator who awarded him the state prize, Solzhenitsyn shared with him his vision of the unity of Russia (therefore the annexation of Ukraine), a blind patriotism and a fascination for authoritarian regimes,” the petitioners declared.
Solzhenitsyn was infamously imprisoned for 8 years for disparaging remarks he made towards Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin in a letter that Soviet counterintelligence was able to intercept. He later won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970 for his seminal work The Gulag Archipelago which drew upon his experience at the Ekibastuz camp (in present-day Kazakhstan) to detail the horrors of Soviet-era gulags.
While the mainstream Right in America knows Solzhenitsyn as the Soviet-era dissident who authored The Gulag Archipelago, there’s more to Solzhenitsyn’s life than meets the eye.
Solzhenitsyn was a hardcore nationalist who despised the Soviet Union. However, he was also skeptical of the West’s encroachments on areas that have traditionally been part of the Russian world.
In his essay “Rebuilding Russia”, Solzhenitsyn called for Russia to regather Russian lands such as Belarus (White Russia), Ukraine (Little Russia), and the North Kazakhstan region. The last territory has a significant Russian population, which The Diplomat noted makes up 49.53% of North Kazakhstan’s population.
American conservatives have tried to retcon Solzhenitsyn into a Reaganite figure when in reality he was a staunch opponent of NATO and was not particularly keen on Western-style liberalism. Moreover, Solzhenitsyn likened the Jacobin Republic’s repressive actions in France’s western Vendee region during the French Revolution to the Bolsheviks acts of barbarism in the Russian Civil War.
All told, Solzhenistyn’s cancellation by French leftists makes perfect sense. His anti-liberal, nationalist, and pro-religious outlook stands against everything the French Left, and the French state stand for.
Yet again, a European polity shows its true colors as just another stronghold for cultural leftism that does not tolerate right-wing individuals.